The People I am Thankful For, Part 1: My Thirtysomething Self

In the spirit of gratitude, I want to pay homage early on to the websites, books, and wonderful group of people (none of whom know me) that have supported, and continue to support me, in my journey toward simplicity and mindfulness. The first is probably Marla Cilley, aka The Flylady, who came into my life about 15 years ago, when my children were in elementary school, and I was frazzled most of the time. I can’t tell you how I found her, the internet not quite being what it is today, but her website, was a godsend, and I read her book, Sink Reflections, cover to cover. I jumped right on the Flylady bandwagon (magnets and all) and my life did become a bit saner. If nothing else, her belief that anything can be done for 15 minutes at a time completely revolutionized how I came to think about housework and what I could accomplish. I was definitely one of the “I don’t have time to finish that, so why bother even starting,” women that she directs much of her advice toward. And to this day, I often start the timer, even if it’s just the timer in my head, just to see how much I can really get done in that 15 minutes. I never put my shoes on, though, until I am ready to leave the house, so it was also a lesson in taking what’s useful and leaving the rest.

Cecile Andrews (Circle of Simplicity) definitely had an impact on my 30-something self, as did Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin in their fabulous book Your Money or Your Life. I own the audiotapes (cassette!) from 1986 and listen about once a decade. I have tried to teach my children (an ongoing process) that objects equal life energy. Not entirely sure it has been instilled in them (or me) as ideally as I would like, but I definitely hear Joe’s voice in the back of my head when I want/need/decide it’s not worth the life energy to buy a gazingus pin, you know, those objects you just can’t walk by without purchasing, even though you already have 12.  The questions I still try to ask myself before I buy anything can be found here. Of course, as I have mentioned before, it’s really hard to follow this when you have an eight-year-old who is surrounded by other eight-year-olds who all have Pokemon cards and his life won’t be complete until he has them too. And I had a really hard time saying no… On the other hand, when my daughter was about that age, she was given a new pair of shoes from her aunt who works at Nike, and we still have the classic video of her asking, “why do I need a new pair of shoes when I already have a million pairs?” So it’s a balance…

I relistened to YMOYL again last month and while everything dear Joe has to say is still true, we live in a very different world. Interest rates for savings bonds are no longer 12% and saving enough money to invest seems exponentially harder than it was 30 years ago. But still I strongly believe that money is life energy and you have to weigh what’s important against what you spend. Am I worried about retirement? Hell yeah. But I do what I can for now and hope the best for the future.

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