Twenty-five years ago I made a powerful choice. I decided to step away from the conventional J.O.B. path most people follow out of college and I left the security of being an employee.
I realize that in today’s self-employment economy that is not a big deal, but 25 years ago not many people were making that choice.
I don’t regret my decision for a second, but I think I am just now beginning to understand the impact of my choice. There were a few years along this path where I made $0. There were many nights where all I ate for dinner was rice or pasta. And there were many, many years where I spent little, if anything, on extravagances – vacations, movies, eating out, dating, gifts for friends, etc.
It created a life where today I live from my needs, rather than my wants. It is a wonderful life that I am ever grateful for.
Recently, however, I have been blessed with more financial abundance. Of course, given my past, abundance is relative. Nonetheless, for someone who lives from his needs, the abundance is blissful. Many of the things I sacrificed over the past 25 years have returned, the greatest of which is my ability to once again share my heart through gifts to friends and family.
Surprisingly though, something else showed up with this abundance that is quite unwanted . . .
I noticed it most in my buying habits around food, which has always been a treasured ritual for me. More junk food and sweets started to show up in my shopping cart. Items on which I would never “waste” money – let alone the calories – made their way into my home. Chips, cookies, and candy now became a weekly indulgence.
I also noticed that I wasted more food. Whereas before I would NEVER throw away food, now I was throwing out food that I unthinkingly overbought and didn’t get around to eating, or perhaps it just didn’t quite taste as good as I hoped.
Finally, I also found that my attitude around spending went from one of absolute vigilance to one where if I wasted $5 or $10 dollars here or there, “Eh, no big deal.”
While I LOVE this new abundance and welcome it with an open heart, this all bothers me deeply.
Waste is waste. It’s just a lot more important and painful when there isn’t as much to spare.
While I am still deciding what changes I will make, I thought it was important to share this as we think about and celebrate spring, renewal and Earth Day.
As one of the richest nations on the planet, I wonder what this attitude of waste must look like when it is extrapolated out to 320 million people.
“Be simple to fill life with abundance.”
– Debasish Mridha
Perhaps the most beautiful and valuable gift I was given as I walked my path the past 25 years was how to live a simple life. How to live a fulfilling and loving life based on my needs rather than my wants. At the end of the day, we really do not have that many needs. If I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and a refrigerator full of food, I consider my life quite abundant and blessed.
It is amazing how much peace that perspective has given me in life.
READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.