Striving or Struggling?

My husband and I have maintained a pretty simple lifestyle throughout our nine-year (thus far) marriage.  Every relationship has its challenges, but we seem to “click” pretty well in terms of finances. I grew up in a large family with a modest household income and, therefore, was not in the habit of having many fine material possessions.  He grew up in a fairly upper class home but never placed much value in things–a Thoreau-ian by nature, he owned only one pair of pants when I first met him.

Living a life of voluntary simplicity was not isolating in college.  We attended a small state university and most of our peers did not have much income.  And in our twenties, we seemed to fit in pretty well with many young couples who were “starting out in life”.  But in our 30s, I keenly feel out of place.  We choose to live in a home that is about 1000 square feet smaller than the average-sized family house.  We drive one car and one of us takes the bus if need-be or carpools.  We try to teach our children not to be wasteful with the planet’s resources (i.e.using both sides of a piece of paper when drawing, checking out books and DVDs from a library instead of purchasing items for our sole use) and to be frugal with money.  Recently, I have met a few families who have similar goals, but I have had to seek them out.  They’ve been a lifeline to me, though.  So have numerous books about voluntary simplicity.  At times, I feel like a bit of a freak.  But I think this way of living is best for my family, best for the Earth, best for me.

Just curious, has any one else felt that 30 is the magic number? (when living the simple life starts feeling quite a bit harder socially?)

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