Here is where I am in life: pending empty nest, mid life, mid life crisis, career transition, life transition, going back to college, in the last job I ever wanted stage.
When I was younger, and had four small children we found creative ways to make ends meet. I wanted to stay at home with the kids as long as I could, so we cut corners to make things work. I loved every minute of it.
Now in mid life we have our youngest two at home. Our 19 year old daughter loves to go to Goodwill to hunt for bargains. They have a 50% off sale once a month and she goes and conquers it. She could be a paid shopper for people. You would be amazed at what she finds. She is a lion on the hunt. Her prey is brand name clothes, and she catches her prey.
Yesterday we went together. In fact we took my 16 year old son and his friend. An amazing feat in itself. What 16 year old wants to go to Goodwill to kick-off back to school shopping? Not many.
Yet something neat happened when we were all together. We re-discovered simple. There is no large amount of stress when buying gently used brand name shirts for $2.00. We had fun hunting. Each rack has a jewel hiding. We set out to find them and we did. There is nothing like filling in your wardrobe with the basics at a great price.
We bonded. It was fun to have something fun to do together that didn’t require the Internet, a smart phone, or gaming system. We were all out together and enjoying a day unplugged.
We ended up at the mall, and had fun their bargain shopping. It was fun to see how much we could purchase on a budget. Let’s put together the best deal so we can get as many clothes as we can on a budget.
It reminded me of the days when all four were in school. When we had to figure out how to get them all clothes on a budget. As mid life has set in our incomes are larger, and there are fewer children to buy for. So we can skip Goodwill altogether, but there is something simple and pleasant about finding the good deal.
Our priorities have changed. We want to travel and enjoy life. We no longer want the big mortgage, car payment, and stuff for the sake of having stuff. We want to experience life.
I carefully put my five new Goodwill shirts in the washer this morning. I wanted to care for them, mend them if necessary, and ensure they were ready for work this week. There are plenty years of wear that I will get out of them. I wondered how much simpler life would be if I took the same caring attitude about all my things. Let’s make this last, and let’s take care of what we have so we don’t have to unnecessarily buy things we don’t need.
If we need more stuff, let’s get it for $2.00 instead of $20.00. Let’s mend and care for our things, like they used to, so that we don’t have to sell our souls to chasing an American dream we never invented. Let’s learn to enjoy what we have, and hunt for what we need.
Perhaps if we do we won’t be driven by the material things of life, and have the time and energy to enjoy people, build relationships, and the things that truly matter.