I’ve always been a big New Year’s Resolutions guy. I think this goes back to my early understanding of baptism. New Year’s Resolutions, like baptism, give us a fresh perspective on the way we go about our life. I’m also really good at breaking these Resolutions…in part because I lack discipline, and also because I usually come up with them as I’m watching football in my PJ’s on New Year’s Day. This year I’m going to try putting a little more thought into the process, in the hopes of keeping my resolutions afloat past Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A few years ago, Allison painted a little sign that says
LIVE SIMPLY THAT OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE
With that in mind, I’ve decided to call 2009 “The Year of Living Simply”. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Utilize the Internet – 2008 has been my own personal period of enlightenment of how Web 2.0 can simplify various aspects of life. I hope that in the coming year I can make a practical application of these new amenities. Some of my favorites thus far include Google Reader, Twitter, Kraft Food & Family, Freecycle, and Rethinking Youth Ministry. I’m sure there are others that will emerge in the future.
Daily Trips to the Grocery Store – I’m the appointed grocery shopper for the family. I kinda like going to the supermarket, so this isn’t a problem for me. My current routine is to go once every 7-10 days and fill the cart with the same kinds of foods every week. Sometimes I make a list…usually I just get what I normally get. Eggs…bread…mac-n-cheese…lots of produce…frozen pizza…4 gallons of milk…etc. However, this way of doing things causes certain items to pile up in the pantry / fridge at home. I think I need to be more intentional with buying MEALS instead of just going with the usual items. I work 3 blocks away from a Hy-Vee, a Sam’s Club, and a Wal-Mart. I live less than 1 mile away from another Hy-Vee. It’s convenient, and it might cause me to be smarter about what I buy and what we actually eat.
Use Coupons When Eating Out – My grandparents just gave me their “Entertainment” coupon book for 2009. I get a stack of coupons mailed to me at least once a week. Almost every restaurant has coupons you can print from their website. Most places I go to will have special discounts on certain foods and / or drinks. I’m going to play a little game with myself and not pay full menu price for any pre-prepared food in 2009. This will obviously save me a little coin, and would also cause me to be more intentional about where & what I eat when I’m out-and-about.
On-Line Bill Pay – I do this for a few regular expenses, but I think it’s time to do it with all of them. It keeps me from worrying if I forgot to pay this bill or that bill…it will save me about $6 / month in stamps…and I won’t have to buy checks anymore.
Embrace Rituals – this is a big one for me. I’ve entered a phase in my life where routines are imposed on me like never before. Kids have to be at school by 8:50 every morning…writing projects have deadlines…meetings and events at church are locked into a predictable schedule. Instead of seeing these reoccurring events as hindrances, perhaps I could see them as bringing balance and order into my life. It causes me to think of other rituals I could take on.
- Wake up early and read the paper (on-line, of course)
- Drink coffee at home instead of on-the-go
- Pack a lunch
- Read scripture / pray at 11:00 daily
- Hit the gym before coming home
- Eat family meals around 6:00
- Read stories to the kids before going to bed
- Do any writing between 9 – 11:30 pm…no earlier; no later
This is all stuff I do, but not with any regularity or consistency. I could use a little more structure in my daily routines.
That’s what I’ve come up with…for now. It’s still a work in progress. Hopefully this new perspective on life will not only simplify my day-to-day, but might make a small difference somewhere else in the world. Do any of you have other ways that you are striving to “live simply”?