4.09.2009

Larger Lives



photos via victoria pearson

I loved this piece entitled “The New Normal” from Tuesday’s All Things Considered... I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “recalibrating” our lives due to the economic situation and what specifically that means for my family (beyond the spending hiatus.) Call me an optimist, but I'm convinced that this period of re-thinking how we live, dialing back and becoming more mindful (whether forced or voluntary) will absolutely change our lives for the better.

My favorite line from the piece is the prediction that we will "drive smaller cars and live larger lives."

Larger lives…I like that.

After listening to the piece, I decided to do the exercise and begin documenting our family’s “New Normal.” This is what I’ve come up with so far:
  • We’ll buy less stuff and when we do buy, we’ll save up for things we love, that we’ll have for the long run -- no more disposable clothes, toys, house stuff…
  • We’ll eat out less and cook more
  • We’ll drive less and bike more
  • We’ll have more new experiences and support businesses and organizations we believe in (i.e. museums, education, local/ independent businesses, the farmer’s market)
  • We’ll spend even more time ingraining in our girls the value of things, how lucky we are and how quickly life can change…how to adapt.

What’s your new normal?

34 comments:

Emily said...

I want to be your best friend. Seriously - you post this stuff and I am like- whoa, are we on the same page or what? I might add something about scooting away from technology a bit. Less screen time - whatever screen that may be and more face to face interactions.

Jane Flanagan said...

Pretty similar to yours, though that way of living has always been what I strive for!

I also find because I'm spending less time consuming, I spend more time creating. Nothing significant, but I'm more apt to take out my camera than go shopping. Or bake a cake than browse online stores. And it's brought an extraordinary calm to my life. All that wanting is, in itself, a burden and source of exhaustion.

alissa said...

i love the idea that this will change the way our society values 'stuff' (which im guilty of)
i want to try and appreciate the things i already have - instead of cleaning out the closet and giving it all away so i can go shop, i want to find ways to reuse the items i have in new ways. feel like a new outfit without being a new outfit - if that makes sense!

erin said...

such a lovely post. i think about this kind of thing all the time and try my best to uphold these same principles. less disposable, more reusable; less driving, more biking; less buying, more enjoying. at the risk of waxing poetic about life in france, i have to say that living there helped me to slow down a bit, enjoy the passersby and soak in the sunshine...la joie de vivre...

bradget said...

I also heard that piece and loved that people are thinking of the big picture. Right now the economy feels so opressive but a "new normal" is the kind of future we all have to look forward to. I love your list, especially the one about supporting your local community and giving to organizations you believe in, I think that's as important as voting and I'm gratful for that new perspective.

abigail said...

I heard and loved that same story on npr.
my new normal is pretty well in line with yours.
I'd also like to make more things, and when I need something to see if I can buy something someone I know, or want to know has made.

Color Me Green said...

i'm so with you. i think one thing i really need to work on with my guy is getting us away from our computer/phone screens and out and about to get more exercise and enjoy all that's outside.

wunderbug said...

bra-vo!

i *love* this post. there's a book i read last year by john naish, entitled 'enough' - that encapsulates so much of this philosophy so incredibly well.

i've quoted some exerpts from the book in previous posts, if you're interested in checking 'em out..

http://wunderbug.blogspot.com/search/label/enough

to answer your question, my new normal is very much about slowing down to enjoy things more; being more focused on the here-and-now instead of on the future wants and desires.

Virginia said...

I'm glad to hear so many of us are on the same page. My husband and I talk about this a lot and wonder how widespread these ideas really are.

debonaire said...

inspiring as always and so wholesome too!

HeddyShea said...

This post really touched me. I had just finished having a conversation with my husband about a couple that are friends of ours. We were talking about how the economy seems to not affect them- they just keep buying and splurging, and living this out of touch life. I'm glad to read / hear about other more realistic people trying to make adjustments in their lives and leading a more fulfilling life and focus on the important things than posessions and status.

XOXO
SimplyHeddyShea

Mango Gal said...

Wonderful post!

When my husband and I come home from work, we're usually exhausted and end up cooking dinner and spending the rest of the night on the sofa. I'd really like to change that.

My new normal is that when I get home, I cook dinner with my husband and then we do something. Whether it's go for a walk, work on the house, or play a board game.

I'm with you on your first point. It's taking a lot longer to decorate our home than other people, but everything we've gotten we LOVE.

lesley said...

this is a lovely post. i have been reading your blog for a while now, and am going to try out a spending hiatus of my own. this post is inspiring me to re-think the was my family lives our daily lives, too. i think it will enrich our day-to-day, and help our children to be mindful as well. thankyou!

AmyLynne said...

Very lovely. We could all learn a thing or two from your list.

Thank you.

amberlee said...

nicely said. i've given up making dishes with scallops, and i spend more time teaching kids my own crafts and less on lessons. kind of funny that it feels good to face the situation head on.

The Other Tiffany said...

This ties exactly into a series of posts I'm starting on my own site called the great slowdown.

http://theothertiffany.blogspot.com

Your post is very inspiring, as always!

Jackie said...

I want to make our home my families' destination of choice. By that I mean, instead of when we get bored automatically deciding to go out shopping, eating, etc. we find fun things to do around the house. It was a sad realization the other day when my three year old daughter said "I don't like home, it's boring. Let's go to a store." I couldn't believe it. I wanted to cry. How could I have let this happen? What happened to "Home is where the heart is"? The next day I went to the library and checkout out a few books that I felt can help me in my quest to bring the heart back to our home. I began reading "The Creative Family" by Amanda Blake Soule (I've got several books in rotation right now!) and this quote really nailed it on the head:
"Much of our cultural energy is spent filling our minds, hearts, and time on things outside our families, as is evident in the smaller amount of time that families spend together and at home. There's a missing piece in this search for fulfillment-the piece that's home, connection and heart." My new plan is to work aggressively to change that. That is my idea of living Large.

Good + Happy Day said...

Thank you for this! It must be in the air, or perhaps we're soul mates, because I always feel like you're expressing what I'm thinking. The whole simplicity, less is more, back to basics, mindful, thoughtful way of living is so where I'm at right now. And I agree with you that really it seems it can only be good for us, our family, our souls.

Kristin said...

Can I just borrow your new normal? Because I can't think of a single thing to add to your amazing list. (Although it will require us to purchase some new bicycles!)

Andrea said...

I really, really love visiting your space, because I really, really love the way you think. I will be thinking of our "new normal" too--love that.

Janssen said...

I love these ideas. I want my family to be like this too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Rachel said...

I loved that piece too.

My new normal is being thoughtful, living in the moment, creating experiences rather than buying objects and trying to spend my money in the best way possible (to support things and people I believe in).

Stephanie said...

Hallelujah & well said! Though I don't ever want to see anyone go hungry or homeless, I do think that some good will certainly come out of these hard times ahead. A right-setting, a relearning of how to work with our hands, of appreciating what we have, of making do when we have not, of shifting our energy from consuming to living.

From my own experience so far, this means sewing more things for my family, cooking from scratch, inviting people over instead of going out & investing in our house to be more efficient & resource-wise (double pane windows & a rain harvesting set-up). I can say with great confidence that all of these new patterns of ours just feel so right.

Mrs.French said...

Such a thoughtful post...I need to come up with a family "New Normal" list...

Recently, things have been really tough around the French household...we have been forced to live with less for a few years. Now that we are finally coming up for air, I need to remember to take a step back and remember that living simply, yet "largely" is still the best thing.

Thank you deary for this post, made me think..xo t

marshmallowfever said...

I really appreciate this post. Well said! (and lovely pictures too:)!)

east side bride said...

I love this.

mominaledo said...

Well said Joslyn.

sara hicks malone of party perfect said...

love this post, joslyn! i've been thinking about this, too.

Uncle Beefy said...

Well, Miss Joslyn...I won't was poetic as I am sure I'll just repeat what you and the other lovely commenters have mentioned. But suffice it to say...I think we're on our way to becoming a better people out of all of this.

It's definitely brought much reconsideration to my life. And that can't be a bad thing.

Thanks for the sweet and thoughtful inspiration!

PS~Erin said...

We're being hit hard with this whole economic situation and it's tough. Staying positive and being supportive is the main thing for us. We've completley been focusing inward and re-realizing that it's our family unit that is the only thing that makes anything else worth while. The other stuff is just that. We're brainstorming how we can instill this value in our kids and make sure not to pass on the feeling of entitlement to them. This is a hard one as a parent, and we're working on it daily. And holding each other close in the process.

Love your thoughts on this. And your attention and care to how you stated it all. Thanks!

thezoeblog said...

I also find myself turning to creativity - learning to cook, making things myself-instead of buying things. It gives you a new sense of self and direction.

julie green (from up up and each penny pretty) said...

lovely and thoughtprovoking. i wish i could answer your question but i feel like we're in the middle of a time in our lives when there won't be a normal. or maybe it's better to say that our new normal will be change. adapting. moving, going, learning. we're between homes and have a kid on the way... i think perhaps our new normal is chaos! : )

i love that picture of the bread. YUM.

{lovely little things} said...

great images, I love the flower

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