Less is more… right? You learn to do a lot MORE with LESS. I think. I hope.
This is going to be my motto (if you will) starting, well, now I guess. I think you are supposed to wait until the new year to start any resolutions but I’m starting now. Or a few days ago, actually.
We have some friends that are very well off. The term “filthy rich” was made just for them. They have two beautiful daughter’s and they get along with our children very well. We don’t see them often. Our lives are so different.
We recently were invited to their house for dinner. Their house isn’t huge but it’s big enough. It’s old. It’s not what you would expect a family who has so much money they aren’t even sure what to do with it, to have. Everything the house is made out of is old. Everything from the light fixtures to the windows to the paint on their garage. It’s so odd. Everything in the house, like furniture, decor, appliances, etc. is new or modern. They all wear nice clothes and they have nice vehicles. Not new cars but nice. I noticed even the hand towels in the kids bathroom are very nice. But the sinks, faucets & shower are ancient. All very clean since they have a cleaning lady. The kids rooms are not your typical kids rooms. They aren’t littered with toys, books and pictures on the walls. They each have single beds and a handful of toys and books at their disposal. Nothing else. The walls have a few antique pictures with bright colors on them. That’s it. I looked around for the Christmas tree. It was small and nicely decorated and in an obscure corner of the foyer. Interesting. Their living room has 2 nice, expensive leather couches with an end table and nothing on it. There is a sofa table behind one of the couches with a few Christmas decorations on it. There are white lights strung through their rafters. There are a few other Christmas decorations around on various tables or shelves but not much.
Dinner was simple and it seemed random to me but maybe not for them. Everything was very good. Just not this huge put together feast I was expecting. A dutch oven of shredded pork, homemade tortillas, lightly dressed kale, a few small squares of something that tasted a bit like potatoes and there was pasta. Followed up with homemade M&M candy cookies.
After dinner we sat in the living room as the kids performed dance routines they just made up. We told them to settle down enough but they were just so excited to perform for us. I looked around a bit more. No TV. In fact, I’m not sure I saw a TV anywhere in the house until we were on our way out. I did spot one small one tucked neatly away in a built-in entertainment center. It was pretty old. We didn’t want to over stay our welcome and bundled everyone up for the ride home.
They are 100% content with what they have. The kids are normal. They aren’t these little rich kids that can’t wait to show you their latest and greatest toys. They are excited to play and entertain with music, art & food! There was no tripping over toys in an over crowded living room. There was no TV larger than life around to provide mind numbing entertainment. It was just us. People forced to interact with each other and have fun with what they have in front of them.
After the kids were put to bed I looked around our house. Clutter. Every where. It stressed me out. I frantically tried to clean the counter tops so at least one in our kitchen was bare. I looked in the living room and it was completely taken over by random toys that belong no where. I looked in our bedroom and everything that didn’t have a home was on my dresser. The kids rooms was packed with more toys and books and beads and more toys. I about lost it.
I thought about our life. Clutter. Everywhere. We are going in opposite directions most of the time and the kids see me trying to pull everyone together in a frantic mess. The husband hates his life. It’s a cluttered mess. He HATES clutter. I’ve known this but I’ve never seen it. Or maybe I’ve seen in but looked passed it because it’s not important to me. I have other, more pressing things that need my attention, not the pile of paperwork that’s been sitting on the counter for days/weeks. I have clothes that need to be gone through but no time to do it so the closets are overloaded with junk that I don’t even want. Clutter. Mindless clutter.
This Christmas I am taking his lead. I forced him into a Christmas shopping trip with me to get the kids done. All of their gifts fit into one shopping bag. In theory we could get rid of everything else and just have this one bag and they will be happy. They don’t need 10 bags, they need one. Done. Instead of hundreds of dollars spent on useless gifts that I stress over putting away, we are spending it on doing stuff together as a family. Renting a cabin to go skiing. Taking a trip some place warm because it’s -10 here today. Spending a night in a hotel with a pool.
We aren’t spending money and getting each other ridiculous gifts just to have something to open. We are spending it together. We are investing our money elsewhere and trying to make time for each other. Trying to see if that love we once had is really still there under all of this clutter and crap I’ve piled on it without knowing.
We aren’t going to work if we aren’t both happy. We aren’t going to be happy unless we make some changes. I’m going to try and downsize our house and get rid of our clutter while he is going to try and be a better husband. We are going to do more than ever with an even shorter amount of time together. Someone please tell me this can work.