Life has become a series of competitions and I know I’m not alone in this. There is competition among siblings, friends, neighbors and even complete strangers. My daily drive to work had become stressful because I was in a competition with every other driver on the road…even if they didn’t know it! After reading Present Over Perfect (I really should do a whole post on this book) I realized all of the competition didn’t matter. Why should I care if another car gets ahead of me? Good for them. I am still going to get where I’m going and at the same time. There getting ahead has no effect on me.
I feel like family puts even more pressure on us to be the best and to have the best. In every family there is comparison between siblings and other relatives. I think most everyone has heard something along the lines of, “Well so and so has a beautiful new house with a huge kitchen…blah…blah…blah.” Substitute car, job or anything else in that statement and I know you’ve heard something similar. I don’t think parents or family mean to do it but they create competition and make us feel bad if we aren’t at the top of the totem pole. I’m done worrying about that and would rather do what is best for my family and me.
I’ve decided to simplify my life and get rid of the competition so that I can actually enjoy life. I’m done working my butt off trying to make sure my kids have anything they could ever possibly need or want. I’d rather spend time with my kids then kill myself working just so we can have some enormous house. I want a house they can be proud of but I don’t think that has anything to do with size. Really all I think that matters is a clean house, which brings me to my next point. Why would I want to get a bigger house when I have a hard enough time cleaning the one I have? I work full time so when I do get home the last thing I want to do is more work. The more house I have the more work I have to do.
I love the house we have now but it just isn’t working for us anymore. The house has served us well over the last 7 years and I am proud of our house. Heck we bought this house just one year after I graduated college while the hubs was still an undergrad working a part-time job. However, at this point in our lives we need a house that functions better for our family. So while we will be moving next summer it will not be to get a bigger house just to one up the “competition”. Instead it will be to create a better life for my family even if that means getting a smaller house.
Why am I excited about downsizing our house? A big part of it is not having a huge mortgage payment hanging over our heads. Just because the bank tells us we can afford a house twice as big as our current house doesn’t mean I want to take on all of that debt. I would love to live debt free someday and if we keep piling on more and more we will never get there. Even if the mortgage wasn’t an issue I don’t want to take care of a big house anymore. The bigger the house the more that can go wrong with it.
I want my focus to be on the things that matter most to me. I want to know my neighbors and have a place for my kids to play. I want a house that functions well for our family with an outside space where I can relax and a room where the kids can go to play (where we can shut the door to hide the mess). If we are so focused on the competition of bigger and better we will end up with a house that doesn’t work for us.
House hunting is not the only thing I’ve decided to simplify. I’m donating a good majority of my wardrobe. I spent so much money last year on clothes and some of them still have the tags on them. I’m not even talking about expensive clothes. I bought a ton of cheap items just so I could try to match expensive outfits I found on other blogs or Pinterest. I have so many clothes that I sometimes only wear things once. I’m not Angelina Jolie so it doesn’t matter if I’m seen in the same outfit over and over again. I’m tired of worrying about what I’m going to wear each day. If I only have a few choices then the decision gets much easier. Mark Zuckerberg really has something with this whole idea of a closet full of the same outfits. My plan is to just stick to the basics with a few nicer items here and there. It’s easy enough to throw on a basic shirt and a pair of skinny jeans.
I am looking forward to my newly simplified life but of course just like with everything else it will take time. I still get frustrated when other drivers get ahead of me but I just have to remind myself that it’s not a competition. There will always be competition among family but I will do my best to ignore it and move on with my life. It just isn’t important to me anymore.