Learning to love the less.

As I continue along with building readership on my little blog I am struggling with what I’m sure a lot of newly minted authors go through: trying to find the theme I want to go with. What is at the heart of “my brand”? What is the specific focus of my subject matter? Yes, it is about personal finance, but within a smaller scope I had thought I wanted to write to younger women-educating them on financial mistakes to look out for in college-trying to teach about “financial prevention” so-to-speak.

The more I write and the more I read other bloggers in the pf community the more I mull over what it is I want to bring to the table. Do I want young women to be more aware of their finances even from the first time they leave home? Yes, but I feel like a lot of the pressure to spend and be financially wreckless rests on what we value as a culture. Advertising is geared towards your innermost insecurities as well as your strongest desires. The two are very often intertwined. I didn’t feel exceptionally empowered until I turned twenty-four and there are days I still struggle with it, some days I still feel clueless and eighteen. This is how I feel about most things, not just about money and finances.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying self esteem was a real issue for me for a lot of years of my young adult life, and of course it affected my finances because self esteem affects everything. I handled it in the wrong way because I believed if I bought more then somehow I’d magically be prettier or more glamorous, or that the heart of my problems would seem further away. The scariest part of all of it is that consumerism works, it does make you feel better in the moment and it can be the best of distractions and ocassionally a really fantastic motivator. It took me more years than I would care to admit to learn that my value as a person is not tied to my bank account, or even to my most favorite designer bag or pair of shoes. My worth does not lie in the fantastical tropic locale I spent my summer vacation in, or in the latest car model I drive.

Even into my mid twenties-I loved living in New York, but even there so much of the culture seemed caught up in labels;  what you were wearing,who you worked for or what glitzy event you were going to that weekend. I miss it sometimes, but a great part of coming home has been in learning to live with (and on) less. It’s no secret that any job I could hope to get here in the South would pay me between 30-40% of what I made last year in the city. It will be hard trying to change my lifestyle, but I think this is what I want the true focus of my blog to be–how to be happy and have a life based on true value instead over the monetary.

I was driving down a deserted country back road yesterday-in a truck no less. I am already cringing as I write this, giving friends ammunition towards southern cliches and stereotypes but nevertheless, the sun was amazingly bright and I had my shoes off feeling the thrum of the engine against my bare feet on the pedal. I started humming to myself, which I only really do when I am happy. I was on my way home to see my parents and give my pup a squeez, a text message from my super-sweet boyfriend on my phone-even though I’m “funemployed” I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m happy! I thought, so excited at this revelation.

Even more surprising was how little it took to make me feel that way-just an old truck, some bare feet and a deserted back road.

I think I’m off to a pretty great start in learning how to love “the less” of life.

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5 thoughts on “Learning to love the less.

  1. It was similar for me. When I lived in the city I contemplated the right restaurants, clothes, even what neighborhood I lived in. Now that I’ve moved to the country (and also the south!) there’s much less of that. Give me a tee-shirt and shorts. Great contemplative read. Thanks!

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I am living in the city (Los Angeles) but I know for sure I would be just as happy (if not happier!) if I lived in the sticks/semi-sticks. I’m from Maine originally and when I go back I think about how life would have been different. I wouldn’t have accumulated so much debt for one, but I wouldn’t have gotten a degree from one of the best schools in the country. I would, however, be happier at the end of the day instead of frustrated by commuting… I’m trying to go back to living/loving the less but I’m wrapped up with jobs trying to pay down debt first. Ahh

    I feel like women definitely get caught up with consumerism and looking the part of where you live…and it’s hard to go back to the basics. I can definitely imagine how moving has helped you.

    On a side note, I fear that the people we want to target won’t be reading this. In other words, would I have read this blog 6 years ago? Unfortunately, I was totally focused in the other direction. Maybe we have to hit bottom first 😦

    • I agree and its a big worry of mine. People only change when they WANT to–but at the same time I want to surprise myself and inspire others…showing them its ok to be happy with what you have. Thanks for commenting!!

  3. Sounds great! I lived in a small town growing up, and it’s just not for me. I like the city life. Although I live in a more affordable city, Dallas, than LA or NYC. Technically, I live in the suburbs. It’s more expensive but I earn more too. My friends, hubby, career is here for now. I am happy. My family is farther away, which sucks sometimes but sometimes not. I am pretty independent and don’t mind being away.

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