When Less is More

Reader Contribution by Maryann
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I don’t remember who I was talking to recently or what the conversation was about but I do remember one thing that person said, “It’s all about finding balance.” That one statement could not be any simpler and yet so powerful. It is something I strive for daily. The problem with trying to achieve balance is that it is not something you ever really complete because as soon as you find it, things shift and you are left searching for it all over again.

I’m not sure what happened between the time I was a child and the time I had one, but something in society has changed dramatically and I have a problem with it. It is almost impossible to find a balance in today’s world. Everything is rushed and planned and plugged in, “more” seems to be a common motto for everyone. I tend not to fit into this mold and sometimes I feel very out of place in common society, but I’m OK with that. I don’t want “more,” I want less, much less.

Maybe I just didn’t know any better, but it seems like when I was child the one thing there was more of was time. Time for dinner. Time for family. Time for fun. We all ate dinner together as a family, at home, around the same table. It wasn’t drive through at the golden arches on the way to some scheduled event. We talked together. All the children in the neighborhood played together. We’d gather at someone’s house and play outside together, it wasn’t organized. Today children are all “plugged in” to some electronic device or another, no one plays anymore much less communicates. Heaven forbid you don’t have your child registered in at least five organized clubs, sports, events or whatever. You’ll get a note sent home asking what is wrong. When did we stop letting children be children. Now we barely see most of the family because everyone’s so busy with travel camps and classes and whatever else is deemed important nowadays.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with children doing sports or being involved in an activity but again it’s about balance. Katie has one after-school class, it’s an hour every week, and it’s enough. I don’t want to spend my time rushing around stressed in traffic in the car running from place to place. We spend our time at the farm visiting, or outside in the yard, or home playing. Although I have more things to do than time to do it in I still try to find a balance and at least one day a week I put it all on hold and spend time with her, doing things, going somewhere, visiting friends.

Stop and smell the roses, or go fishing, to find your balance in life. Photo: iStockphoto/sculpies

I also find that everyone feels you need to have “more” stuff, especially when it comes to children and toys. Stuff is a big issue for me. Children don’t need more stuff, they need you. I bet Katie wouldn’t remember one thing she got for Christmas if you asked her, but she remembers going to the ice skating show we got tickets to for at Christmastime. It’s time spent they remember not the stuff.

I am constantly going through closets and bins getting rid of stuff. Every year each closet and cabinet gets cleaned out. I have a rule, if I haven’t looked for it or used it in a year out it goes. The only exception is funeral and wedding attire. I never understood when people say they need a bigger house because they don’t have enough room for their stuff. Maybe the problem really is you need less stuff, not more room. You’d be surprised how much of that stuff you really don’t need and how good it feels when it’s gone.

In the quest to find balance I’ve tried to keep it simple. It isn’t always easy and sometimes you have to learn to say “no.” Sometimes you need to let go of things you’ve been hanging on to. I had a number of my grandmother’s items for years that I finally passed on. I realized it was my memories of her that I cherished not the lamp that was stored in the basement. Someone else is now enjoying that lamp, and I still have all the memories of time with her just the same without it.

Sometimes you just need to stop and really consider what’s important and what really matters. Finding a balance is one of the hardest things to do but the closer you get to it the better you feel. I’ve found the simpler the things are in life the easier it is to find it.

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