I’m going to share my happiness factor with the 201 people who follow my blog and the many other of you who read it. You see…….there is a route to enlightenment. There are different stages. Being in debt but doing nothing about it, was when I “didn’t know that I didn’t know”. I lived in ignorance and was oblivious to a different way of life. I ‘serviced’ my debts. I paid them off and then borrowed more money to do up another part of the house, to put a kitchen in or to buy a new car. The cycle of debt went on. Then I woke up. The route to enlightenment was really hard because then I “knew I didn’t know”. I suddenly woke up to the debt that was around me and decided, like a pilgrim to walk the longest and hardest route that I could ever take and to add to the rough ground, I didn’t know the route before I set off.
These recent years, of true, real frugality have been the happiest times of my forty five years on this earth. I have given up materialism in, what is for me, a fundamental way. I don’t buy amusement, I don’t buy looks, I don’t buy happiness, I can’t buy the latest book, DVD, can’t shop for a snazzy top to ‘cheer me up. If I want to be happy I have to cheer myself up. If I want to look ‘nice’ I have to put a smile on my face. If I’m down in the dumps, I can’t pay a counsellor, I have to kick myself up the arse!
I’m celebrating the little things. I wore new clothes today, brand new, one owner clothes. I haven’t bought new clothes since 2008 and those few garments made me feel special. I can feel like that because new clothes are no longer a regular occurance. Being frugal means, I make what ever I have last until it almost falls to pieces. Being frugal means, that when someone in a long, late night meeting at work, gives you a posh chocolate biscuits, that you eat it slowly, let it melt in your mouth as chocolate has again become a real treat. Being frugal has allowed me to enjoy life in a way I’d forgotten that I could.
It’s the 1st of the month, all our direct debits have been paid, our monthly train passes have been bought, we’ve filled the car up with diesel to last the month and the only money left in our accounts will pay for food this month. There is nothing left to pay for anything else and we’ll need to cut back on food this month as we both need new shoes. We’re selling things on eBay to put towards new winter walking shoes and I’m looking at shoes on the internet in a whole new way. How much sole do they have? How long will they last? Are they leather lined? I don’t look at fashion, or colour, just durability and value. I’m getting excited about buying work shoes. I don’t need Jimmy Choos to excite me, just a pair of sturdy lace ups from Clarks!
You see, enlightenment comes when “you know, you know” and I know that digging myself out of debt requires a bloody great shovel to get out of the hole I’ve made for myself. I’m going without anything I don’t need to survive as I know I am OK with what I’ve got. I know it’s going to be hard for a lot longer yet and I know what I’ve gone through so far hasn’t killed me and what I’ll go through won’t kill me either! I know cooking homemade food, cooking everything from scratch, growing some of my own food and then pickling it or making it into jam has provided my table with food that nourishes our souls as well as our bodies. I know that I am not alone and people read this diary of mine and come with me on this journey. It may be a glimmer, a mountain top moment but I can see the rest of my life laid before me and it IS glorious.