It’s been 4 months since K and I have been spending most of our weekends without dh. Do we miss not having dh around spending more family time together? For sure, but K and I are managing really well.
So what helped us?
Life can easily get cluttered living in fast-paced Singapore. Most of us tend to want buy more or just do more. Doing more makes us feel productive and ‘its always nice to own more.’ It gets even more challenging when friends seem to have the best lives, have nice things, are able to do plenty of exciting activities with the family, acquire good things for their children and are always planning for their next family vacation round the corner.
Surrounded by many friends who seemed to be living their best lives now, I wondered, is that all life is? It is all about what we have and what we seem to be striving for?
I took a step back to evaluate where we are now as a family and what we want out of life. And I decided that I wanted to live a simple, uncluttered life. This helped tremendously to manage the adjustments and to put things into perspective.
3 Steps that I took to simplify life:
1. Get Rid of the Physical Clutter
It starts with clearing physical clutter of possessions. I have sold my home a while back and had to downsize my possessions to fit into a much smaller space. I gave/threw away more than 3/4 of what I possessed. Furnishings, clothing, books, toys, stuff. The things that I am left with now can be kept in 4 closets and some boxes in a storeroom.
I am now tempted to further downsize things in my storeroom. So I try not to visit this storeroom too often, as I will likely end up purging what I see and haven’t used for the past 1 year.
Only buy what you need. This also relates to your debt and finances too, don’t live beyond your means.
2. Spend Quiet time at Home
As a blogger, to get invites to experiences for my child is commonplace. It has been 1.5 years, and I have stopped accepting invitations to bring K along for a free ride, free meal or experience in exchange for a writeup on my blog. Besides wanting full control over what I share on this blog, I do not wish to be obligated to write.
Also I prefer not to over-indulge K, who might start to develop expectations for things. Besides I want to avoid being burdened with the obligation of having to plan for some interesting activity every other weekend.
So exciting outings and activities are kept for the school holiday, and I prefer to plan and pay for my own way, thank you very much :P.
We spend the weekends relaxing and doing the things we enjoy at home, watching DVDs together or playing board games. K gets to scoot, while we run our errands around the neighborhood. Or he plays his video games for a couple of hours, while I catch up on my reading or listen to Christian sermons online while crafting.
Once a month, we catch a movie together, or eat out in a nice place together, when hb comes back for the weekend.
Holidays are not on our top of our list, as I detest traveling. Travelling disrupts my routines, especially when it comes to my quiet time with God and puts me in a state of complacency spiritually, and I prefer to avoid that.
Having the discipline to set aside time to do this daily, means that it makes no difference when I don’t attend a physical church.
The last time K and I visited Manila for 2 weeks, I had to spend a few days getting used to doing my devotional time in the bathroom for 2 hours. So that’s why going on vacations do not appeal to me at all.
3. Don’t Schedule too many things
I made a deliberate effort to shift the focus from activity and accumulation, to just simply spending time together. It meant that I had to schedule less activities daily, have less extra classes to go to weekly. Already having to go for Chinese Enrichment, Judo and Art Class weekly keeps us rather busy on some days.
When I have less things planned mean that we will have less chances of wasting time commuting from place to place, also less probability of having to lose my cool when the boy takes his slow and leisure pace to get ready to leave the house.
Simplifying my life comes from my desire to live life from an uncluttered heart and it stems from my hope to align my life to what God wants for me.
It calls for a radical change in lifestyle from what most of us are used to, it is more than just eliminating things from your life that you don’t need, but it also a mindset change to re-direct my time and money into ways that will enrich my life and hopefully, the lives of others around me.
Interesting, when one don’t crave for possessions or experiences, I seem to be blessed with many things and I am never in need. It is like experiencing this verse coming to life, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33′
The concept of ‘Selling all my possessions, give to the poor and follow Christ (Matthew 19:21)’ is still difficult to follow, since I have a child who is fully dependent on me and I still have bills to pay.
Maybe. one day, when K grows up and becomes independent, that will be a possibility. So no plans for a comfortable retirement for me
‘A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is a life of greed;
it requires more and more.
The life of the spirit required less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.’ – Anne Dillard