Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Walking, like drinking tea, to me is a form of meditation. It is during this time, that I reflect a lot on life, my choices, values and lifestyle. Today during my walk, I reflected on what living modestly has taught me about life, or, more so about LIVING!
Let me clarify that by modest, I don't necessarily mean without wealth, success or achievement. However, what I'm referring to may require a reexamination and redefinition of what these things really mean.
Note: some of the "wealthiest" people in the world live excessively and are constantly in search of connection and fulfillment, whereas people in some of the most economically disadvantaged countries live modestly, and yet experience very "rich" lives. This may be why we are seeing more people with wealth and status choosing to live "modestly" in return for experiencing true fulfillment. All to say, money and accolades is not the measure here.
Before I go on, let me also make clear that I do not believe in deprivation. To me depriving oneself of the joys of life is in essence the opposite of living. However, I also believe that not subscribing to "excess" is a good life practice.
I don't need to spend excessively, accumulate excessively, or produce excessively to enjoy life, and choosing to live modestly, has taught me the value and joy in simple pleasures and sustainable living.
Living modestly, has created room in my life for creativity and flexibility. Because, I choose not to hoard things (a lesson I learned while moving state to state during my 20s and early 30s), or constrict my time (you know the over-scheduler who has to preplan & fill every hour of each day), I've been able to create SPACE to take life as it comes.
So, if an opportunity comes up to go to a concert for an artist that I love, or if I'm inspired to be of service or even generate income in a new way, I'm not locked in with no room for exploration and discovery. I understand that to some this may seem easier said that done, and admittedly this is a lesson that I've mastered going from having (a little) more to having less, and perhaps in some ways this comes with more ease as a person living a child-free life. But, nevertheless, the lessons that I've learned from living this way, have created a sense of peace, joy and autonomy that are at the center of my wellness.
So, how do you begin to live a modest life, one might ask?! And my answer is not a recipe (as nothing is one size fits all), but more so an opportunity for self-reflection.
Consider your values, what's important to you, what motivates you, and at the end of the day what would have truly mattered to you! Now consider, what might you be willing to sacrifice and what aren't you willing to let go of.
Note: sacrifice is not the same as deprivation, as sacrifice is more so a choice or conscious decision often made with the opportunity for gain in another area, whereas deprivation often comes from an idea of suffering, unworthiness or lack.
For me, what living modestly looks like is choosing to spend money (when I do spend) on Experiences vs Things. I love to travel, I love live music, and I love dining. I realized that all the things that I had accumulated over time didn't really make me happy (well, besides my numerous throw pillows and blankets ;) ), so instead I put my finances towards creating experiences for myself and with my loved ones. And more so, I've discovered lots of ways to do more of what I enjoy without having to use (a lot of) money, such as spending time in nature, creating playlists, cooking for family and sipping tea at home. Living modestly, has made me more creative, more resourceful, in many ways more joyful, and OPEN to receiving!
So, what I've learned is that instead of trying to "keep up with the Joneses" or some other lifestyle standard that we've been conditioned to believe is right for all, discover what Living really looks and feels like for you, and be willing to say "no" to some things and YES to re-writing the script!