On living simply (and simply living)

I am allergic to money.

You may not know this about me, but if you give me any significant amount of money (like, over €57.60) I may start to hyperventilate. It’s not that I don’t like having money or appreciate the many good things it can buy me, but the quickest way to see me turn very pale and start mumbling incoherently is to ask me how I am planning for retirement.

I blame having two accountants as parents.

Ha! But in all seriousness, working for an NGO in international development for four years (and being passionate about the issue many years before that) has made me painfully aware of how many people around the world are living in desperate poverty, without access to clean water, healthcare or basic education. It’s hard, with that knowledge firmly entrenched in my memory, to not start panicking when large sums of money are talked about being spent on things like cars and furniture and clothes.

I believe generosity should be a founding value of our society. And that greed is far far too prevalent and damaging.

I also believe that life is to be lived to its fullest, to be celebrated and enjoyed whenever there is opportunity. I believe that we were created to be creative, and that striving to invent and build and imagine things of excellence is important and necessary. And I believe that it is right and good to find joy in things that are beautiful and well-crafted.

Sometimes finding the right balance between all these beliefs is hard. I get too excited about all the beautiful things and spend money I shouldn’t have on things I don’t really need. Or I make myself feel guilty for buying things which are expensive and then am never able to truly enjoy or appreciate them.

I’ve found moving to be a brilliant time to address all those imbalances in my approach. We can donate all the things we haven’t used in months or years to people or causes that can appreciate them. We can think seriously about what we want to buy for our new home that will make it a place that is restful, welcoming and joy-bringing. We can re-start practises of giving, recycling, reusing, and truly enjoying what we have.