Becoming a single parent (plus the events that brought me to that) turned my life upside down. I have been on a journey of questioning and examining everything since then. Nothing made sense and nothing seemed secure, even my faith for a time.
The ‘just in case’ mentality that my family have lived by for so long, has come under scrutiny during this process. I think it comes from past generations not having enough to live on at times and generally being quite poor in material terms. As a result my family has had a habit of ‘over-provisioning’. Too many clothes; too many shoes; too many items kept for hobbies; too much food cooked at family get-togethers; too many kitchen utensils, plates and gadgets. As a young adult, I did this too.
We are not the wealthiest family today, but neither do we still live from one day to another, not knowing where our meals are going to come from. The keeping of things just in case we might need them later has become part of our DNA almost. It was only having my life turned upside down that made me realise it.
Each of us can decide for ourselves when we have ‘enough’. For example, Pigeon and I are runners; one pair of trainers isn’t enough for us because we need trainers to run in and spares to wear later as we often get the running pair wet and muddy. Although, for some of my neighbours that only walk on clean paths or to their car, one pair of trainers is enough. Pigeon and Parrot have two coats for each season, as one will usually be in the wash cycle somewhere and the other available for wearing (we like going out to muddy places!) Yet at my work place, I know of children who only own one coat for use all year round and for their family that is enough.
The key to having enough, but not too much is to take a step back and think what we actually use on a regular basis. If we haven’t used it in six months to a year, is it important enough to take up storage space in our property? One thought that has helped Pigeon to look at his possessions more objectively is: would someone else benefit from and use this item more than me? He has needed guidance on this but is becoming more independent in the process. Parrot would give everything away if you asked him, so we have different narratives instead to help him decide what should be kept!
Perhaps we would be freer to actually live life without all the excess, the working to maintain it and to get more of it ‘just in case’…