Friday, October 19, 2012

I Skipped J Crew And Lived to Tell

So, we sold our farmhouse.

Haha! I'm cracking myself up here. Who's sick of me talking about selling the dang farm?? (raises both hands) Well, I'm sorry. I really am. The problem is, that's sort of the best starting point for all of this. The "inciting incident", if you will.

As you are all painfully aware, we sold for two main reasons.
1) We had more than we needed and believed that there were bigger things we could do with our $ than pay a mortgage.
2) We felt called out of our hide-away.

Things got confusing for a while, when we had to spend so much time stressing over details for a brand new house. (That was never in our plan. N to the E to the VER.)

But now we're settled in. We're happy as a bowlful of clams in our little home with the ridiculously lower mortgage.

The first week here, we cozied right up to Dave (I told you we were still friends - mostly) and reorganized our finances on the iconic monthly budget spreadsheet. We made new commitments and we made them quickly, because I knew that if we waited, we would learn to love our freed-up cash. And not in the good way.

So, now we can do more with what we have, support people and ministries we believe in, help others Go. From the start, it felt really right.

But I'll be honest, a month in? It's cramping my style a tiny bit.

I will now say the brattiest thing I've ever said out loud: For most of my adult life, I have been able to pretty much have the stuff I wanted. I never wanted anything too big or flashy. But I'm finding that I'm woefully out of practice when it comes to telling myself no.

I whine sometimes. I want to go to shopping, man.

I keep defaulting to that shiny place where there's always extra, always enough. An impromptu road trip to Ikea? Sign me up. Old Navy is 40% off store-wide? Let me grab my keys. A new antiques store? Screeeeeeeeeech!

The savings account was plump and rosy-cheeked. Our old beaters with their constant ailments were but a fleeting annoyance. Even when we started to consciously simplify a few years ago, we always knew there was some level of safety net.

Things are different now.

So while I knew all along that our choices were sort of backwards and strange, it's a whole 'nother thing to live them. It's harder than I would have hoped, to process living more sacrificially. It hurts to confront my gimmes.

We just got back from a few days in Ohio and I didn't make the short haul down I-75 to the J Crew Outlet. Why? Because window shopping through their glass = torture to me.

I did do some thrifting, though. I found a winter coat for Calvin for $3.49 and two dresses for Ruby for next Spring for $1.99 each. I ask myself, why just one year ago did I think $20 for a coat was a steal? Why did I ever pay $14.99 for a little girl's sundress?

I'm reminded all over again that we really can live with less.

I'm not shutting down the commercial machine, here. As sure as I'm shuffling around in high-water pajama pants, I'll live to see another frivolous retail cardi. But for now, we keep leaning into the change. Seeing it all here in print makes my face feel a little hot. I'll have to find a new hobby, I guess. Big whoop.

It's push and pull, the feeling of wanting something I don't really need then finding myself still alive and kicking after I say No.

I'm not gonna lie, I hope I get better at it.

I'll keep you posted.