“Realize that the real hidden cost of everything you buy – is how much life it cost you to get it” Ann Voskamp
Recently I’ve enjoyed reading Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, after someone recommended it to me from their 2017 reading list.
Overall there is a theme of being the architects of our lives rather than being buffeted and shaped by our culture, our world.
This book is about us living life instead of life living us…It’s about living with intention
As someone who took the rather bold step, some might say, last year and sold everything for a life on the road, I’m already doing that. But it’s so much more than that. In the book Tsh recounts her and her family’s various house moves, not only across country but across the world and how it became important in each new place, especially when they moved back to the US, to incorporate their values into their daily lives so as not to get swept up by the way everyone else does things.
Tsh and her family constructed a mandate for how they wanted to live, incorporating such things as buying locally produced food, not using their car as much, spending quality time as a family, restricting online time and because travel is important to them, travelling somewhere new every couple of months. They questioned why they did everything. She readily admits that this requires a budget and this requires prioritising what is most important to you/your family so that you can give priority to what you spend your money on.
She says “Just because the culture around you says your family needs to live in such-and-such a way, doesn’t mean you have to. Isn’t that liberating?”
Yes it is!
They have also incorporated minimalism into their lives, living with less. This is something very close to my heart and I’m glad to see that it is gaining ground against the seemingly insatiable aquisition culture. Actually when you get rid of ‘stuff’ it is very liberating and in our case not only did we have nowhere to keep a lot of stuff any more it also enabled us to do a lot of good in the community by gifting it via Freecycle and also to a charity shop run by the local dog rescue. Win, win.
Getting rid of stuff also enables you to have an experience-rich life rather than one drowning in a sea of clutter. Anyway clutter attracts dust and I don’t do dusting 🙂
I see a lot of articles, courses, webinars etc on finding your purpose in life. What if our purpose is simply a matter of making a small contribution to the world by having a life mandate that rejects constant acquisition for acquisitions sake, living more minimally, caring about the environment, caring for people and animals? I’m sure there’s more that can be added to that list. I started small by for example asking my friends to stop buying me birthday and Christmas presents, not sending Christmas cards (although I made an exception in 2017 to support a dog rehoming charity), Pete and I do not send Valentines cards, presents or flowers, buying from local shops which I’ve carried on as we move around, I also do not listen to the news or read newspapers.
If we all do the best we can maybe what we do will influence someone else and then another and another, change happens like ripples on a pond.
What can you do/ have you done that makes you live a life of purpose? Maybe you already have a life mandate, let me know.