a shift

Like any other young kid of the 20/21st centuries I liked new things and I like expensive things. I pined for a few luxury brand items in the past, a few I even indulged in like a Pandora bracelet full of charms, a good quality leather hand bag from Roots (though I would have preferred Coach), Birkenstock shoes from eBay (though admittedly I did only just do this the other day as well as in the past). I remember waiting eagerly for my bonus cheque from my employer at the time so that I could rush down to London Drugs and buy the latest iPod, a 20GB iPod “classic” for $450. (Remember when iPods used to cost that much?)

Even in my early twenties I, at least, had the sense to think to myself, “Would I use this long term? Or would I end up giving it to Sali-An in a few months?” I’d like to think I was at least good in that regard. I would still have that iPod if I hadn’t listened to it into the ground and mourned its passing on my boyfriend’s desk. To this day, that iPod was the best purchase I had ever made, and some things I still have years later, like my hand bag and my Pandora bracelet and I’m so glad that I did.

I know that happiness in life isn’t measured by the things in our lives. Materialism is a problem of sorts in today’s society, I think. We always want want want without much consideration to our other (financial) needs. To this day I am terrible with money, BUT I am learning.

I really find that having a child irrevocably changed my views on many things. It has changed my view on how I perceived the world, my view on myself, my view on my spouse, my view on my job and our bank account. I’ve come to develop a whole new appreciation for all of these things. For example, I could care much less what the world thinks of me and I don’t fuss over my appearance. I practice self love daily. I stopped wearing makeup. For the longest time I’d see moms who had gained weight, never wore makeup, and wore frumpy clothes and to me it seemed like they had just given up. But the kicker, at least from my perspective, is that it’s not that they “gave up”, it’s that stopped caring what the world thought of them because they have many more important things to worry about, like caring for another human being. Thinking the world cares about how you look or how much makeup you have caked on your face or what brand your purse is is vanity at its finest. It’s not that I feel “too good” for it all now, but that I’ve come to realize that it’s not important. My daughter’s wellbeing is important. The person who thinks I’m fat because I’m too lazy to work out is not.

(On a side note, not wearing makeup is fantastic. My face just feels so much better. My skin looks better and it’s liberating to be able to rub my face and eyes whenever I feel like it. I give myself little facial massages on a regular basis and there is nothing wrong with promoting blood flow and moving that lymphatic fluid any time of the day!)

As for the material things in my life, I have a whole new appreciation for second hand. So far I’ve recovered TWO iPods, a 4th gen Nano and Mini, from work that have been abandoned and both work just fine. To be honest I prefer the Mini because I love the old school black and white screen with the bluish backlight. Having said that I’ve noticed a back step in my technology of choice. When my iPhone dies, I will likely downgrade to something more simple like a Blackberry Curve or even *gasp* a flip phone. No joke. What the heck do I need a smart phone for? I hardly use the internet unless for something very specific in mind, like reading a few blogs, or looking for something in particular on ebay or using my email. I don’t even like using Facebook anymore. In fact, I rarely watch TV now. I’ve given up on the sitcoms and only focus on a select few dramas that I love enough to keep up with. Right now the only shows I’m watching are Vikings, Hannibal, and Cosmos. Otherwise my time is spent reading, letting Hannah use the TV to watch Bubble Guppies (she is obsessed right now), taking Hannah to the park, or going to work.

I put my energy into taking care of house and home and making sure I work my butt off so that we may have a roof over our heads. It’s a reality that I would not have been able to wrap my head around in my early twenties, or at least pre-child. When they say your life changes when you have a kid, they are not joking. However, it’s something I could only understand until I got there. And here I am. And it’s only going to get better.

But let me tell you something…I love every minute of it. Sure, it’s very stressful. Being broke is not fun, but I’m embracing it as a life challenge and lesson because it’s not permanent. Life is constantly changing and we’re not sitting idle. I know that hubby is making an effort to contribute. To me he is every day by being a wonderful father and care taker to our daughter. The fact that we don’t pay for child care is a bloody blessing! But, because things are what they are now, I am grateful for everything that we have, and I now have an understanding of how those who live simple lives in smaller communities tend to be more happy.

At the end of the day I feel like I’ve achieved this level of “adultness” that I’ve always wished I had years ago. But, apparently, wisdom does come from age and experience. I may only be 28 years old, but I am a far cry from what I was 8 years ago and I’m proud of that. I am so excited to see what my 30’s and 40’s bring and have nothing if not the purest form of curiosity for what life will hold in my 50’s. I’m not in a rush to get there, but I’m not afraid of it either.

Goodbye petty and superficial youth! Welcome learning, laughter, and love.

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