Just over a year ago I decided to launch my very first business and in the process I had to make some pretty big sacrifices or so I thought. First of all, I had to accept that I was no longer earning a regular full time wage and that in order to make what money I did have go farther I would need to minimise my expenses drastically. Looking at my overheads the obvious first cut was to be my outgoings for rent, food and utilities. Fortunately, my Aunt and Uncle generously offered for me to come and board with them for a couple of months.
At first I felt a little embarrassed about the fact that at the age of 32, here I was moving back in with family with next to no money in my pockets. My feelings of failure were soon over ridden by the incredible gifts of love, support, connection and lessons that now surrounded me and I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be at that time. The biggest blessing of all was spending quality time living and learning from my 89 year old Grandfather, memories that no amount of money or time can replace. What was supposed to be only a couple of months soon stretched out and 14 months later I found myself still living with my family. Fortunately, after many months of working hard, paying off the last of my debts and building my business I was in a position to consider the possibility of getting my own little place again.
In the past, I have set up house on several occasions and each time I have made my way out to the nearest Harvey Norman to purchase all new appliances on interest free loans. Lovely shiny, new and under warranty purchases. Feelings of joy and dread would course through me, knowing that I had increased my debt yet again, but hey I would have shiny new stuff to fill my empty spaces and people would be impressed by my good taste and ability to have such nice new things wouldn’t they? As nice as these things were, they didn’t bring me happiness like I would have imagined and instead of my friends and family being impressed by my nice “stuff” they were more concerned about the extravagance of my choices.
My impulsive nature has seen me not only go out and purchase all new things from time to time but also when the need suits simply selling it all and starting again from nothing. Each time I would have the resolve to do it properly next time and save up for what I wanted, until the next time when I found myself sitting in front of the Sales man signing up with a rapid heartbeat and a smile on my face for the next round of new “stuff” to fill my spaces. After turning 30, something changed and that something had a lot to do with travelling and living in Costa Rica. I LOVED living in the simplest version of a home, everything you needed and nothing shiny and new.
One of my favorite places where I stayed for 7 weeks had only one room upstairs, downstairs was an enclosed bathroom and an open air cement slab with an exposed kitchen. This kitchen consisted of only a cement sink, gas cook top and a little bar fridge. There was a rustic old table, some plastic cups and plates, mis-matched cutlery and pots and pans without handles or lids which may have been over 20 years old. My lounge was a hammock and a couple of old wooden chairs. I felt so at peace in this environment. I never bought more than I needed because I had limited storage space and I always managed to make healthy, fresh meals with plenty of flavor. In this environment it is amazing how quickly you become resourceful and accepting of the simplicity of your space. I didn’t miss having a perfectly clean floor, shiny new appliances or matching kitchen ware at all, I even reveled in the fact that I could wash my dishes with only cold water and make cups of tea in a saucepan.
In April, on my Birthday this year I made the request to the universe that by the end of May I would like to be living in my own place. About two weeks later, we had a full house with visitors so I offered up my room and opted to stay a few extra days with my boyfriend. I knew it was time to just make it happen. My work was starting to suffer due to having my office and bedroom in the same room and I was feeling restless. That night I told my boyfriend that I was ready, only this time I was going to do it differently. This time, no new shiny appliances, no going in to debt to set up and no sharing with a house mate either. Within a week of this decision I had found my perfect home. It was the right price and location and best of all it was perfectly imperfect. There are marks on the carpet, cracks in the paint and a kitchen which is possibly older than I am. And yet, much like my little place in Costa Rica it has so much character and potential that you see past its imperfections and see it for its real charm.
Moving is supposed to be stressful and although it has been a lot of hard work, I would hardly call it stressful. Fortunately one of my clients lent me their trailer and my boyfriend graciously assisted me in emptying my storage shed and filling up my new home. In fact, we had so much fun together and allowed everything to unfold without too many expectations and it all came together seamlessly. I LOVE my new place, and everything I have that wasn’t in storage is either free, used, up-cycled or borrowed and everything blends together perfectly. My out with the New and in with the Old attitude has really been so much fun and a real blessing. For instance, I have had an Esky for the past three weeks which means I have only been able to buy what I can eat and nothing more (so no guilty wastage). On Saturday a friend gave me their old beer fridge which was in pretty sad disrepair, for $25 and a few hours I managed to transform this fridge into a funky new center piece for my kitchen.
I have with the help of some friends and family turned this little unit into a home. I feel incredibly blessed to have my own space again and it is made all that much nicer knowing that so much more thought, time and effort has gone into sourcing what I need. Instead of just going to the store and buying it all new, each piece has a story behind it. I have fantastic neighbors, a lovely quiet back unit, and fantastic park around the corner not to mention close to everything. I couldn’t be happier; in fact I think this is my favorite place I’ve lived here in Brisbane.
One thing I have come to really embrace in the past few years is the art of appreciation. I don’t put my feet on the floor in the morning until I have spent at least 5 mins loving my life and appreciating what I have and who I am. I have found this one little ritual in my day completely changes the way I interact with my life and the way my life interacts with me. This way of being is so much more powerful in attracting wonderful people, experiences and abundance. When you want more in your life, the trick is to truly appreciate and value what you already have. If you only focus on what you don’t have how can you expect to receive something new and feel good about it?
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Albert Einstein
Until next time,