I do not consider myself to be a materialistic person. I have always tried to be conscious and to not let my life revolve around a want or need for things (and the money to buy said things). I do not need to have the newest iPhone, a flashy car or fancy apartment to be happy.
However, I knew when I signed up to volunteer for a year I would be giving up a lot of even the most basic of things, and I did really wonder how I would deal with that. Pretty much no shopping at all for a year, no highlights for the hair, no mani/pedis, no fancy perfume skin creams and shampoos, you get the idea.
While I can certainly do this for the next few months, if this were a forever thing, I’m not sure I could deal. I know some people could be happy with a lot less, others couldn’t even make it through this year. And either way, it’s all okay! The tricky part is finding the balance in life, the place in the middle where you have just enough to support your own happiness (and healthiness), without having too much excess or too little means to live on.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” – Mahatma Gandhi
During my time here, I haven’t magically discovered where that balance is for me, but I have learned I can live without many things I thought I couldn’t before and have been surprised by some things I just can’t live without (when I say I can’t live without it I mean live without it AND be totally happy, obviously I won’t really die). My cellphone? I used to NEVER leave home without it, now I never ever think about it. However when my computer decided to stop working I realized being able to communicate with home (and to write this blog!) is something I don’t want to live without.
I’ve dealt with working out in the same running sneakers and workout clothes for the past 8 months and my headphones for the iPod are broken. It’s not ideal, but it hasn’t stopped me from keeping up with my gym sessions and outdoor runs, so regardless of what some fitness blogs and magazines may tell you, not having the most high tech Garmin Forerunner and Asics sneakers is NOT AN EXCUSE.
Another thing I’ve discovered I can’t live without? Yoga classes. I’ve tried doing it on my own here, it’s just not the same. I am seriously jonesing for some good yoga. And another thing? Cooking. I miss cooking and baking like crazy.
Before I left for Costa Rica my friend Carla gave me a Happy Book/ journal thing (it’s actually called “The Happy Book”) and I started writing in it back in January and have kept adding to it over my time here. I realized in this I have been making a list of things that are vital for ME. It’s very therapeutic and really helps to put things into perspective. I definitely recommend writing one down and making one for you 🙂
A preview of my Happy List (in no particular order)
Traveling, exploring, being active, reading, friends, family, good movies, running races, yoga, napping on rainy days, chocolate, wine and cheese, taking pictures, blogging, music, tiny puppies, date nights, holding Halle, Cinnamon, Michael Kors perfume, bananas, peanut butter, Ross, the North End, Boston, mountains, sleeping in or waking up early because I want to NOT because I have to, comfy jeans and cute dresses, coffee, beaches, smiles and hugs from my students, ice cream, productivity, dining al fresco, sunshine and the smell of sunblock, hoppy beer, pine scented candles and trees, fresh snow, fall, apres ski beers and fireplaces, my parents’ backyard in the summer, Christmas Eve and morning, holidays spent with loved ones, baking, eating healthy, Wholefoods and Trader Joes, understanding Spanish, random acts of kindness, intelligent conversations, people who get you, Tortilla Flats in Dominical, Big lunches, music, clean laundry, inspirational anything, any spa treatment, aviator sunglasses, boating, pancakes with fruit, road trips, Saturday and Sunday mornings, avocados and palm trees and tropical flowers, pumpkin everything (patches, pie, candles, bread), my MANGO.