How do you measure success? Honestly ask yourself that.
I've thought a lot about this over the past year and I'd have to say I'm a little bit embarrassed of what my answer would have been a couple years ago. Is it a certain kind of car? Large home or in the "perfect" neighborhood? Specific amount in the bank? Being well known or well liked?
These would have all crossed my mind or probably been on my list somewhere. I have a funny story that happened a few months ago on my Instagram that got me thinking extra about this and what our kids are perceiving as "successful" or expected. We had recently finished remodeling our master bathroom and the boys bathroom and I posted a few photos showing how it turned out. I got an innocent message from a girl who looked to be about high school age and her comment was, "Is that your WHOLE master bathroom?!" It caught me so off guard to be honest, I was confused why that would be so shocking? It is small, has a single sink, no tub, one vanity and guess what the small vanity even has some EMPTY drawers still... shocking right?! After I let it soak in for a bit, it made me sad. Not because of my bathroom, that part actually made me more proud of the progress I've made in this area, I love that little spot! What made me sad was this is what our teens, children and innocent kids minds think is needed to be happy/successful/to fit in. We are more than our possessions, SO much more.
One of the best things I've noticed that is closely linked to my minimalism journey is the improvement in my anxiety and the boost in my confidence. You experience a clearing and mind shift when you're not so focused on the "stuff". How can we teach our children this same feeling and experience with the complete opposite constantly being thrown at them? Buy this, do this, travel here, bigger, better, faster... how do we stop it? While I don't have the answers yet and my kids are still young I will make it my goal to show them that none of that makes you happier or better. When we moved into our current home we said "oh we'll be here 3-5 years!" well guess what? Here we are, year four and I have grown to love this place, our neighborhood and realized we have more space than we actually need as is! Would a larger family room be great for parties? Absolutely! Would bigger bedrooms be nice? At some point, sure! But would it really make Carl and I any more happy? I can honestly say no. We probably won't be here forever because at some point some things like the boys getting bigger and needing bigger beds which means a little bigger room will have to happen but the size of the home I once thought I needed to feel I had "arrived" is a fraction of what it used to be and that is so calming. The stress and pressure to make more money, save more, build sooner, be here by this point kind of thinking is no way to live and I hope my boys will grow up feeling this way too.
Success to me is creating a family bond that we all know we have each others backs 110%, that we can be unapologetically be ourselves and that is more than enough. That Heavenly Father lives and loves them, that being kind is the most important thing you can be to people. To love more and judge less, that buying this or that is a waste and that experiences are what matter. To gain an education and find the things in life that make you feel alive. Service can be fun, making and doing things for others makes you feel good too. How to have fun and to be good humans. My parents tease me when it's time for birthdays or holidays that they don't know what to get that won't end up being donated to DI the next week, haha. I do think having some toys and things to stay busy and challenged at home is important but I also know that there is so much more than that too and teaching them along side me as I'm learning will be such a huge blessing in the long run to us all!
Minimalism for president! Haha my challenge to you is look inside YOU and see if what your worrying about, focusing on and teaching your kids is really what you feel is important. If it is then go you, you're ahead of me! If not then change things around so it can be! This next generation needs some clear minds and open hearts to sort through all the crap that is thrown at them.