I’ve noticed something quite peculiar as of late – it appears that being too busy to experience the simple pleasures in life is not only aspirational but enviable. Emphasis is placed on money – there will never be enough and if you’re not wanting more, you’re doing it wrong. Furthermore, if you have the time to read a book midday, spend the afternoon building a puzzle with your children, or able to spend the evening hiking in flowered meadows, you’re not participating in a worthwhile pursuit.
Since choosing to become a stay-at-home mom, I’ve struggled at times with missing my career and to be honest, I’m unsure of how I am going to re-enter the workforce in just a few short years. But choosing to become a one-income family is something we’ve never lamented. Now I realize that it is a luxury that we even have the choice for a parent to stay home with our children while they’re young but it is a decision that is still met with sacrifice for us. My husband is in the military and is compensated in a manner that ensures we live comfortably but there are drawbacks to the lifestyle. Even so, we enjoy being a military family and we are grateful for the experiences we’ve encountered along the way. Yes – we will never be rich in the monetary sense. And that is okay. Because over the years, we’ve learned that we truly have enough.
Money is important. But it shouldn’t be our end goal. Life is so much more than chasing the biggest salary or being able to purchase the shiniest objects. Shouldn’t true wealth be defined as having few wants rather than determined by our earthly possessions? Now that I am in my thirties, I find myself not wanting a big house with a kitchen that would make Martha Stewart weep or a luxury vehicle with all the trimmings. But rather I want a more meaningful experience – one that isn’t dictated by outward signs of wealth. I want our family to be in a constant state of learning. I’d like us to travel the world, to experience other cultures (here in the US and abroad), and most importantly, I want us to have the moments of extraordinary joy that seem to accompany the occasions when absolutely nothing is planned.
When we find ourselves grumbling about our tiny bathrooms or temperamental heating system, we remind ourselves that as long as we each other, we have enough. And when I think of the moments of true jubilant joy in my life – not one memory involves quartz countertops, leather seats, or designer labels. There is beauty in simplicity. Just sometimes we forget to look for it.