I hadn't thought much at all about a new years resolution (still trying to figure out how a new list can fit into my life when, in about 3.5 months my life is going to be so different!) until one just fell into my head.
Remember what is important in life.
Okay, so that is huge and vague, but I can break it down. And truthfully it didn't just pop in there, it has been simmering for a while.
I started thinking about it way earlier in the year after hearing a discussion with one of the authors of The How of Happiness on KPBS. (Sorry, I can't find a link to it.) The ideas discussed really stuck with me: research has proven that once you make enough money to support your basic needs, money won't make you happy. The biggest day to day control you have is how you spend your time, and your outlook on life.
More recently I came back to some of this thinking after Lisa introduced me to Penelope Trunk, who writes about careers and money and sex and aspergers and all sorts of interesting things.
She sums it up well: "In fact, the rule is well established in research: The first 40 thousand makes a big difference in one’s level of happiness. Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. After meeting those needs you need to turn to something other than consumerism. Because additional money has negligible impact on how happy you are. Your level of happiness is largely dependent on your outlook."
I gobbled up her posts on taming materialism, and choosing a simpler (financial) lifestyle. It gave me resolve: don't spend one of the most valuable resources to my happiness (my free time) on things that won't make me happy (shopping for stuff, duh). Don't get into financial obligations (car payments, too high mortgages, credit debt) that will limit us in the future into jobs we don't love, but need to keep to pay the bills.
The real inspiration hit when I read the year in review posts by Bre of Scout & Catalogue, and delved into her archives that documented her decision to leave her secure and responsible job and move with a car full of possessions to Mexico. (Where her amazing product line was born.)
No, I'm not about to pack up our bags and move everyone to Mexico, but I'd like to think that if we really wanted to, we could. So this year I want to take some of these principles on living a more simple life and really exercise them. I think a lot of it will come down to stuff, and not being so obsessed with it. (Which by the way, really makes Scout & Catalogue the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, because I have not resolved with myself the idea of not buying this bag.)
This all has to do, I think, with living a simpler life. Not obsessing over stuff, and realizing we have enough. I will let you know how it goes.
all images via scout & catalogue flickr