We live in a world where everyone is busy; the faster the pace, the better. But what would happen if we chose to slow down, even for a day? What would happen if we said no to all those things that are supposedly so important that we can’t make time for ourselves or our loved ones?
With the spending season upon us, and Black Friday happening a mere two days ago, we are being bombarded with advertisements and flyers to buy this and spend our money on that. But the things the stores are selling are far from the greatest gift you could give your child, spouse, or even your best friend.
My Black Friday evening, because I worked all day, was not spent shopping the so-called deals. My Black Friday was spent enjoying the company of one of my very best friends in the world. We gave each other the best give we could: our time and our attention. It was a lovely three or four hour visit, sitting in the corner of a quaint tapas bar. We enjoyed a couple glasses of red wine and a cheese board together as we took the time to catch up; to fill each other in on our lives. There we were, sitting inside in the dim ambiance, with a tea light candle at one side of the table, and beautiful pieces of art on the walls next to us. Outside, there was the bustle of the winter festival where we could see families passing by and enjoying the mild winter evening together. We watched as children explored the fire truck parked just across the street, and the horse drawn wagons pass by with children happily waving at patrons as they glided by, courtesy of the team of horses and their driver. We saw couples hand in hand as they walked past the window, smiling and clearly enjoying each other’s presence.
Time is more precious and more valuable than money. In my world, if I want to show someone how much I care, I give them the gift of my time. It is the most precious commodity I have. Consider this, as we enter into the holiday season. Consider re-thinking that expensive give in exchange for something that is far more precious and valuable. Give the gift of your time.
With November comes the prelude to the holiday season. The buying season. It makes me cringe thinking about it sometimes. There is nothing that I need, except for a few renovations around my house. My children have everything they need too.
The holiday season is that time of year where you feel that push…that obligation to buy things that really have no business coming into my home. I do not need more kitschy knick knacks. My kids don’t need more useless toys that they won’t play with. And I certainly do not need to get deeper in debt for a holiday that seems more and more to be focused on spending money instead of time.
I am digging in my heels this year. Yes, we have preplanned gifts from my parents, and that will still happen. But, I have already forewarned my children that there is a strict budget in place for Christmas spending, and I will not go beyond it this year.
The great thing is, they are old enough to understand that the less we buy, the more money we can save for vacations and adventures. This appeals to them; well more so to one of them, but the other can be fairly easily convinced…
As a minimalist (in the making), I feel that I need to cultivate the principal of spending more time together over spending more money on each other. I hope this will become a trend with my loved ones. Life is expensive enough without having to keep up with the Jones’, or even the exes for that matter. I hope that one gift I can give to my children is the understanding that the holidays are meant for spending together, and not for overspending on the budget.
Yesterday was Remembrance Day here in Canada. As a child, I would go to parade and watch as my father participated. As an adult, I would attend out of honour and duty to those who have served the country and for those who lost their lives during war. It has been ingrained in us that we should consider these people heroes, giving the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
I do not disagree. They did give their lives fighting for what they believed in. I will not take that away from anyone.
What troubles me is that I want peace in the world. I know many people want peace in this world; yet we create things like movies, books, and yes, parades, to glorify war…all in the name of peace. It feels like an oxymoron. I am conflicted.
I, too, once considered a military career. I had trained myself physically for the task, and I truly believed that this was a career path that made sense. Life chose something different for me, and I believe there must have been some universal or divine intervention on that one because I do not know how I would have managed a career such as that with the inner turmoil I feel when it comes to war and fighting other humans.
So, how do we justify the wars and losses of life when we look at a world pining for peace? How can we move forward when we constantly remind ourselves of the conflict that we could not overcome without mercilessly killing other humans? Will our human race ever be able to rise above the seemingly ingrained desire to fight in order to create a harmonious planet?
I did shed tears yesterday, as I often do on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I shed tears this year because I fear that we will never achieve that balance, globally. Not so long as we have people who are willing and eager to eliminate others because they believe that their way is the right or only way.
This is the month where I tend to let all things slide. I give my writing validation to take precedence over all my other chores because, you know, its Nanowrimo season. Of course, I still need to go to work and tend to the kids and pets and such, but the gym? Nah, not as important as getting the word count in for the day. It’s easy some days, where the words roll off my fingers and through the keyboard like butter melting on a fresh, hot croissant. Other days, it’s a painful venture, because the characters are rebelling against me and just don’t want to do what I think they should. Or they give me the silent treatment. Either way, they frustrate me when they get in the way of my 50,000 word count goal.
No matter which way it goes though, November is synonymous with Nanowrimo. Unleash your creativity and join us. It’s fun to find your inner author.