One of my favourite authors is Mary Hunt who has an online site called the Everyday Cheapskate. When I have a few minutes I like to ready over her “Dear Mary” column or articles like http://www.everydaycheapskate.com/marys-perspective/paralyzed-by-too-many-choices/.
In my grandmother’s day most everything was done by hand and hard work but the one thing that they had was the gift of simplicity. What I mean is that you knew what they would harvest, how to use the foods and what was expected. You knew that when you went visiting you would be offered a fruit plaatz. There would be relishes at the table, sliced meats and buns. You learned to cook the soups, stews and breads. You knew how to succeed. You had measurable goals and tried and true recipes.
Today we are awash of international fare that needs to be served on coordinated plating with themes that take into account vegan cooking, gluten free, wheat free, sugar free, cholestrol reduced, low cal, low carb., environmentally and socially sensitive foods. No genetically modified please. Menu planning is like looking at a closet with thousands of separates. We can’t see what we have and we don’t know how they go together. No wonder we stand frozen in the aisles unable to formulate a meal and head to the drive thru instead. Yes we are condemning our bodies to a three mile island of toxic ruin but at least all our choices are on one board.
This month as I’ve been eating from my pantry there has been a certain freedom in restricting my choices. I know what I have and what I can use. If I’ve gone to the store it is for milk, butter, or a red pepper. It was almost like I was breaking the rules not to look to fill every empty spot with food I might want.
Yesterday part of the challenge was to remove one item from my wardrobe. I’d already sent out bags of clothes but I knew there was always more to go. My fingers landed on a crushed velvet, 3/4 length shirt in shades of purples and grays. It is beautiful. It fits but any time I put it on I tended to change out of it before I’d leave the room. The few times I’ve worn it I feel blocky looking. It was one more choice but it wasn’t adding anything to my life. Then I grabbed another piece and another. It felt good. I’ll admit that there was the old fear that if I let go of these piece I’d never be able to afford to replace them. What I realized today is that choice is good but too much is a tyranny that can grind you to a halt.
Being free of the pressure to grab a deal, and to own it all can block your freedom and happiness. I look forward to continuing to simplify my life through decluttering, narrowing my choices through donating and using what I have. Today I ran out of fruit so I picked some of the remaining apples from our two trees. It is nice to know what to serve for snacks and dessert.
Wishing you all lives free from the tyranny of stuff, Deb
Miss you Oma. Thanks for all you taught me and all I still have to learn from your beautiful and godly example.