It was easy for me to see today how simple we really are. Every time we have an occasion or an event, we try to make some grandiose and unnecessary happening out of it because we think that's what we're supposed to do. Today I really realized how little it actually takes to make us happy. I don't think it was a moment of, "it took me this long to realize it" or a moment of, "NOW, I decide we don't need much" but instead a moment of affirmation of what I already really knew. I get so irritated by stuff...things...junk. I hate the spending pain of commercialism and the culmination of things that never have a home in my home. Shopping has never been an enjoyable activity and I truly never analyzed just why that is. It's easy to identify things that you like to look at, or that would make your life more convenient, but it's hard to identify why they don't actually make you happy. There are immaterial simplicities that we cannot live without. When you have a day full of those simple things, it's apparent that it's what you need.
We need music. For so long, we have always just taken music for granted. It's just a natural and assumed part of our every day. We talk about it regularly, look for new artists and celebrate old, but every once in a while we have a moment where we realize how fundamentally important it is to our life. I was always so proud that my parents listened to modern music and also shared the music from their childhoods, including what their parents listened to. We had the most diverse and interesting music library. Today at lunch, Evelyn started singing a Foo Fighters song. I beamed. She is also incredibly excited that her school will be performing a reenactment (elementary school style) of "Thriller" on Halloween. She has been thirsting for Michael Jackson songs for days. Ronan, throughout the day, alternately sang Muse and the White Stripes. They also very much favor the Beatles. They know all of the words to Cat Steven's "Moonshadow." Music is the only thing that can take my wound up children and bring them to some semblance of normalcy. Every time I catch one of them humming a tune, I am certain that we're doing something right. Music, for us (and probably a lot of people), can take a normal moment and make it extraordinary, and often does.
We need good food. NOT complicated food, just good food. Quality barbecue, pasta sauce that has simple flavors, but takes tending and time, foods that shows that someone cares. We always prefer dishes with simple ingredients, and hate fussy. We also love craft beer and simple wine. We don't need much, but to indulge once in a while to remind us that we prefer simpler things. Our children eat candy when we let them, but they prefer fruit. We choose farmers' markets over shopping centers. It's enlightening to try things that people have made and it makes us feel more alive to support their work as we enjoy it. It's essential to our happiness and reminds us that we are given the gift of discretion.
We need outside. The simple act of walking outside can completely reset my whole state of mind. When we are looking for something to do to bring us closer together, my little unit will find a new trail and go for a walk. Our daughter gets so excited in nature that it's contagious. Our son identifies outside as adventure. Both have a budding love for geology and botany. The air and the sun and just being in the presence of trees elevates us. Today we found a trail in the town that we're moving to, that despite it not being the most scenic we've ever been to, left us hand-in-hand proclaiming that we are the coolest and happiest family ever. That happened. We actually announced it. David rolled his eyes a little, but we know he thinks it's true.
We need us. For the last 3 years I have worked every Friday and Saturday. I did it for the greater good, and at the time I defended it as the best option, but it wasn't until I regained my weekends that I realized how much I had missed. Our Saturdays are so important. We wake up together, have coffee (not the kids), talk about the week and choose our own adventure for the day. When we have our activity planned, we all motivate together and find the joy in each moment. Even the days that we stay in are an adventure. We play, cook, sing, and remember why we work so well. When you don't have the time to be together, you realize how much you really need it. For the first time in a very long time, we have a schedule that is conducive to being together.
There was a very literal moment today when I stopped in my tracks and realized that we were happy. It was a moment when I realized how little it took to make that happen. There is hope for us yet. It was so simple. Today.
Moment of Design Captured...