Even before my declaration, I have been consciously favoring the simple, the inexpensive, and those choices that give me peace of mind. But many of these decisions are a constant battle with interest, pride, the pressure to belong and keep up. Okay, Kimee, too proud huh?! You could have easily just written “peer pressure!’ This is so telling of your denial that you have not completely overcome such a teenage issue. Many times, I win over myself and my insecurities, but at other times, especially when I assume the restless yuppie self, I give in. In other words, makisama, until I find it hard to get out: I overspend, overeat, get mildly poisoned nightly, come home late, forget to pray, feel jaded prematurely and lose touch of myself.
A Lifestyle Overhaul to stop feeling useless
Time and again, I have proven that whenever I feel useless and lonely, I tend to spend; the more I spend, the more I feel useless and lonely. What’s worse, I spend on unplanned clutter that become unwanted in the long run. But I have never had the will to stop. I have long been toying with the idea of a lifestyle overhaul, but it is only this time that I am most compelled because of circumstances:
My mother’s sickness.
Since she got diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke, there has been a spike in our spending. She is held together by expensive maintenance medicines, healed by vegetables and unnecessarily expensive organic food finds, strengthened by physical therapy. Thankfully, she is positive and unyielding, and I believe she gets comforted by our presence.
Walden. The return to the womb of Nature
When I was in an emotional slump in the last two years, I deactivated my Facebook account, heavily tweeted micropoetry, and found comfort and allies in depressive books. One of those was Henry David Thoreau’s On The Duty of Civil Disobedience which I thankfully didn’t finish because I discovered “Walden.” In this book, Thoreau recounts his two years of a simpler, more self-sufficient life in Walden Pond where he built his cottage himself, and took odd jobs.
With Thoreau’s realizations on employment, stature, clothing, luxury, nature, self-worth, Walden is a gem in my (virtual) bookshelf. Admittedly upon reading, many parts in thick 19th century English just floated beyond my comprehension, but I hope I got Mr. Thoreau right. After all, as a reference book of sorts, it deserves constant rereading.
Pope Francis, New Lifestyle Icon
He has become a new lifestyle icon, an inspiration to deflate my ego and long for things and truths that matter.
My quarter life crisis seems to take too long to resolve, and an existential crisis seems to set in yearly. I find Ignacio Larranaga, a Franciscan, very helpful in my daily, restless quest for meaning. In his book, Sensing Your Hidden Presence, he opposes people’s fears that as the world becomes increasingly secular, God and faith will be forgotten. Instead, he believes that:
Secularization could be compared to the dark night of the senses.
It is the most radical purification of the image of God. As a result,
the believer of the secularized age will finally be able to live pure
and unadorned faith, without its false supports…refuge for the
confused and the weak.
The Art of Living, Humanities at Stanford
I have been following these free lectures, the battle cry of which is, to have something you are willing to live and die for. I have not found that something yet, and perhaps, a major whittling, of living close to the bone, would help me find that.
And so I am putting myself through Simplicity School, where I hope I will be a student for a lifetime.
Next Post: An Inventory of My Current Lifestyle