Staying at my parents’ home for a couple days, I’m finding myself anxious as I use their food. Here, I can consume anything I want without considering whether or not I’ll need it later on.
Times aren’t so tough back at home that we go without. But the echoes of a few years ago are still loud. Every penny still counts quite a bit. I’ve stayed in the no groceries challenge mode to some degree since I started it again in August. I’m going to re-boot and return to being “strict” about it when I get back to Maine.
My parents aren’t going to worry about my using the last of their coffee, or that I’m probably going to take a few of those gorgeous peaches with me when I leave. While my father still clips coupons and my mother feeds them nearly for free from the garden, a dollar here or a dollar there isn’t something they need to think about.
Visiting my closest friend this summer, I was struck by a similar feeling. Stephanie doesn’t have the same anxiety I feel, for example, about making sure I don’t let the crackers get stale so they’ll be fresh for my daughters’ school lunches. It’s simply not something she has to consider; she has enough.
This difference in relationship to “enough” isn’t just about food. Cleaning supplies, toilet paper, socks, all of these necessities are things that we can so easily take for granted.
Years before I experienced having so little that I wasn’t sure how I would feed my children, I spent time considering the idea that a feeling of abundance is within our grasp no matter our external circumstances. I’m talking about the Sark-like “live in joy” types of lifestyles. There is some truth to those ideas; our inner worlds do affect our experience of the external world.
My experience has shown me, however, that choosing to live in feelings of abundance is only possible when we don’t have to stop to think about the consequences of running out of dish soap or using up the last bits of the butter.