Step back. Reflect. Repeat.

11 Oct
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Money Honey   |  13 Comments

The past few months have been a time of retreat and introspection for me. Periodically, I like to step back from my life and process my current circumstances. Occasionally these periods of reflection lead to great changes. This time, however, I’m quite happy with the way things are.

Since eliminating our consumer debt in August of 2011, Kirk and I have more flexibility in our working lives. I’m able to choose projects I want to work on and Kirk can choose work that’s a good fit for him. We don’t have to force ourselves into unsavory work or projects to pay creditors.

It’s a freeing feeling.

I now have the opportunity to spend more quality time with my kids and have even been reading quite a few books for pleasure. Getting a homemade dinner on the table is rarely a problem and we’ve been enjoying more downtime together as a family.

At first, I thought I would want to travel extensively with our newfound freedom. What I’ve found is we’re pretty content with our little laid back lives here. We still enjoy a family trip in the summer, but extensive travel seems to have lost some of its appeal.

Perhaps that means I don’t feel the need to escape from my life anymore?

There have been simple pleasures to relish instead. Like the bike path that was extended near our home. We discovered it by accident while on a family walk a couple of weeks ago. What a delightful surprise to find a beautiful, winding path nestled in the magnificent fall foliage.

It’s appreciation of the small and unexpected blessings in my life that have dominated my attention lately.

Did they just show up? Doubtful. I was just too wrapped up in earning-spending-accumulating-regretting that I didn’t pay attention to the small joys in my life. These days, I find myself much more mindful of all that I have to be grateful for.

If you’re hoping to free yourself from consumer debt, too many commitments, or any other life-sucking predicaments, start today. Do something small each day to break off a small piece of what keeps you stuck.

Nothing great happens overnight. But small steps in the right direction — over a period of time — will lead you to the place you wish to find yourself.

Don’t wait another day.

Life keeps moving whether you’re working toward freedom, or burying yourself deeper into some form of slavery. Choose the former.

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Related posts:

  1. Your Ideal Life
  2. Take this Job and Shove It!
  3. You’re Consumer Debt-Free. What Now?
  4. A Change in Daily Routines
  5. Getting Unstuck

13 Responses to Step back. Reflect. Repeat.

  1. Isn’t it funny how things change over time and you realize the things you thought you wanted to do aren’t nearly as important? Instead you have found other things that are more fulfilling. I think Jenny it really is about being content with what you have and appreciating the small things in life. Unfortunately when we live by culture’s standards we get caught up in accumulation mode which doesn’t allow us to appreciate the small things. Congrats on being able to appreciate those small things, many people can’t say they can!

  2. Very satisfying to be happy with one’s circumstances. Our lives are just a collection of days, and each one matters.

    • So true Kurt. It’s easy to allow our days to flutter away without regard to where they take us. When we stop long enough to see the patterns that emerge over the course of our days and decide to change them, anything is possible!

  3. “Life keeps moving whether you’re working toward freedom, or burying yourself deeper into some form of slavery. Choose the former.”

    So true. Thanks for the reminder. There are so many things we can become enslaved to.

    Dan Garner
    ZenPresence.com

  4. Juanita

    This feels like the story of our last 4 years, step back. reflect. repeat. It is working. We are getting so close we can almost taste it…freedom from debt that is. But, that is exactly when it seems to get harder because we are tired and ready for it to be over! Commentary such as in this post is such a grounding point and inspiration to carry on! Thanks!

  5. meg

    Had a chuckle at this one–I think something similar happened here, too. We still would rather live someplace that has a gentler climate and less pollution, but day to day there’s less to run away from than ever before. Nice, isn’t it?

    • It is so nice Meg! And yes, gentler climate would be nice, but we’re so happy with the schools our kids attend. I can’t imagine uprooting them from the communities that have help shape them.

      I know little kids aren’t a consideration for you, though.

      I’ll admit I keep the weather from Honolulu, Hawaii on my phone. I glance at it occasionally and fantasize about what it would be like to live somewhere 80-82 degrees and mostly sunny all year long!

  6. I also believe frequent ‘escapist’ dreams of traveling to faraway places may reflect an inner dissatisfaction with what’s going on in our lives, here and now (at least, sometimes that has been the case for me). So not wanting to travel so much must mean that you are enjoying and at peace with things exactly the way they are. And that’s beautiful!

    Thanks for the inspiring post :)

  7. The biggest challenge is deciding to value the everyday simplicity of life instead of chasing fleeting escapism. Your contentment shines through this post.

  8. I’m happy that your life is nice and free now that you don’t have the weight of debt on your shoulders. I feel like the little things are the ones that make the biggest impact, but that is just me!

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