By Jane Bauer
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu
December is hands down the most expensive month of the year. According to Michael Snyder, “Americans plan to spend as much on Christmas this year than the yearly GDP of the entire nation of Sweden.” No wonder we are all so anxious in what is supposed to be the season for enjoying time with family and friends.
Not only are the December holidays the most expensive time of the year, but a recent survey indicates that it is also the most stressful; the expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping and the heightened expectations of family togetherness, can all combine to undermine our best intentions.
We have become athletes and our sport is consumerism. Sprinting to the mall to stand in line for the newest gadget and trend, we have come, in many ways, to measure our worth by what we have. Now don’t get the wrong idea…I love a shiny, new, well-thought out present as much as the next person, but there is a moment when we need to ask ourselves, at what point does our stuff actually end up owning us?
This month our writers explore charity and the myriad of opportunities around Huatulco to give back. I wasn’t surprised by the conclusion of Leigh Morrow’s article on how giving to others actually makes us happier than giving to ourselves. It’s no secret that acts of kindness and generosity are good for the soul. When I do buy for myself, I find that I get greater satisfaction shopping at small independently owned businesses than superstores. I have come to accept that I will pay more and I have decided to not care.
However, I derive the greatest satisfaction from actually getting rid of stuff. I recently purged my closet by going through and asking myself “do I love it?”. I didn’t worry about whether things fit or whether I had worn them in the last six months…if I loved it, I kept it, and if I didn’t, I gave it away. I filled three huge garbage bags with clothes! If you happen to come upon me in the supermarket wearing a ball gown, just know that the few practical things I kept are in the laundry! I read a blog recently where a woman got rid of 5 things in her home everyday for a year. She was left with a beautiful uncluttered space and she reported greater peace and happiness in other aspects of her life.
What if we didn’t let things get crazy and stressful this holiday season? What if we carried the gratitude of Thanksgiving into December and started January 2015 with less stuff than we had in 2014? Crazy? Maybe!
See you next month,