Simplification Sorta Stinks

We've been living in a "rubber hitting the road" kind of way lately. We've been talking big talk about paying down debt and living the simple life until we do so...but now this talk has been turned into action around here. I've learned a lot, even though it's only been a couple of days. Namely, I've learned that simplification can be painful.

On the surface, "simplification" sounds so...sweet. We all want life to be simple, right? Less complicated? Less busy? Less hectic? Sure!

The idea of the simple life makes my mind wander to scenes from "Little House on the Prairie", where daily life consisted of milking the cows, a root cellar filled with vegetables and canned goods that came right out of the garden out back, the kids toting their lunch pails across the field to get to a one room school house, sitting around a fire and night while Pa plays the fiddle and Ma knits the baby a new stocking cap. Wholesome foods, wholesome entertainment. Simple and beautiful.

So what's the problem? Well, for starters...I'm no "Ma". If you could see the homemade rolls I made, you'd agree (they were supposed to be rolls, anyway...more like whole wheat discuses).

And my husband can't play the fiddle.

See? Doomed right from the start. Lousy homemade bread and no fiddle music by firelight...we don't stand a chance at the joyous simple life ;-)

The other problem is that I'm a spoiled brat. A whining, crying, "I don't wanna!" kind of spoiled brat. I like cable TV. I like caller ID. I like voicemail. I like eating out. I like going to the grocery store and just tossing stuff into the cart. I like my instant gratification life!

But my instant gratification mindset played a role in getting us into this financial hole. Something has to give.

So we cancelled cable, caller ID, voicemail, and we slashed our monthly grocery budget by almost half (gasp...HALF!). We cut the "entertainment" budget by even more, so eating out instead of buying groceries isn't an option {sigh}.

Do you want to hear something terrible? Do you want to hear what ran through my bratty mind when my wise husband told me that he'd cancelled cable? It went something like "What am I going to do with the kids all day? How will I get anything done?!"

And my older kids literally *burst into TEARS* when we told them the news.

Ugh. How did I become this mom? We only even GOT cable 2 years ago, and already I'm depending on it to help me raise my children?! My kids are so reliant on sitting in front of a box and watching people live a pretend life, that they're moved to tears at the thought of turning it off?! Not good.

So yeah, this simplification is painful. But only because I've been living in a place that's very comfortable...but not healthy. I'm being forced to change my ways to a more healthy (and fiscally sound) lifestyle for our whole family. Some pain is good, I guess.

My prediction? I predict family time that involves less TV and more books and games. I predict healthier bodies and minds for my children. I predict going to bed earlier for us grownups since we won't be sucked into the endless late night TV that's available on cable. I predict a quieter and more peaceful home without the noise of the TV in the background...without the hurrying to finish something so we can go watch that one show...without the bickering over whose turn it is to choose what to watch. I predict my children will spend more time outside, with friends, and using their imaginations.

And maybe, with enough practice, I'll learn how to make really great homemade bread. And hey! Maybe my husband will even learn how to play the fiddle!

Yeah, ok. Maybe not :-)

Carrie  – (11/04/2009 02:20:00 PM)  

People think that I am nuts for not having internet or cable. We just finally got a 2nd cell phone this summer. It is amazing what things you can live without.
Good luck on your simplification.
Love & Prayers

Kaye  – (11/04/2009 02:39:00 PM)  

We too have been "simplifying" to pay down debts, but are stuck. We can't cut out the excesses because they are tied into our HOA fees...and we HAVE to pay those! So we're cutting where we can...mainly eating out and groceries.

I'll be here cheering you guys on. Keep us up to date!

Craig and Bethany  – (11/04/2009 02:48:00 PM)  

Oh, what a great post! You put skin and bones on simplification. Sort of makes us all feel like we can tell ourselves to take a new path. A miracle to be sure! I'd be on my seat if I were you. Maybe God will part the Red Sea right down the middle of your living room next.

aknaturegirl  – (11/04/2009 06:24:00 PM)  

I love it!! We LOVE not having cable around here!...well..usually :-) It really does get you more into family time. Sounds like you guys have a great plan going! Good luck!..

Ruth  – (11/04/2009 07:23:00 PM)  

I feel your pain! We cut out cable about a year ago. That was hard to start with, but has gotten easier. We looked at what percentage of our bills are spent where last night. It was eye opening! My goal for this month is to only go grocery shopping. Here's to more pain!

Jessica  – (11/04/2009 07:45:00 PM)  

It's amazing how we tend to be walking similar paths at the same time...and I smelled those whole wheat discus thingies the other day, they smelled amazing.

Change has been painful for us as well, but as it turns out, we really haven't been missing cable at all. And, Abby's a pretty good cribbage player, turns out.

Sharon  – (11/04/2009 10:10:00 PM)  

if you want to come over for lunch, I'd be glad to teach you how to make bread. I'm sure the $600 in fuel costs would be worth it.

Ronnie  – (11/05/2009 07:36:00 AM)  

Wow! You stepped on my toes! We sooo need to simplify but haven't decided to deal with that pain yet. I think your hubby really is very wise!

Missie  – (11/05/2009 09:03:00 AM)  

We got rid of cable about a month ago, and the only thing I really miss is my news channel. The kids are watching cartoons and movies we already own, or the tv is shut off all together.

We've cut our grocery budget (not that there ever really was a budget, but did cut what we were spending) by over half, and I am building up quite the stockpile. Next on the list is learning to can food myself.

Maybe you and I can go shopping for matching calico for our bonnets.

Esther  – (11/05/2009 12:48:00 PM)  

I hope you grow to love it. Although I don't know how the rest of us can handle you being any MORE productive. Be inspired, I guess.

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