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September 12, 20237 min read


It may sound unoriginal but it’s an important concept, especially now with life so expensive. You may not make the change permanent but you will change in some way permanently. We are so inundated by social media that we don’t make time for ourselves sans phones and laptops. We forget who we are as we immerse ourselves in matters that have nothing to do with us. People we don’t know doing things like making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I get it but how obsessed is too obsessed? On the other hand it IS free “entertainment” albeit too much watching and not enough doing? Are we afraid to see what happens if our brains are on their own? Could be scary. Could be an exciting and positive experience. Find out! 

Since the pandemic and supply chain problems began, greed has played a part in the financial struggles that are plaguing the country. Prices that could be coming down are not. Simple things are not that simple. It is a vicious circle of higher priced products, not enough employees, increased rents for businesses and individuals, sky rocketing home costs, and where is the rest of the toothpaste in the tube? 

Taking a trip has become a complicated game of lining up hotels and flights. When an affordable fare pops up the return fare quadruples! Buying airline tickets makes you feel like you are getting robbed. Here’s your ticket. Now would you like a seat on the plane? When affordable lodging appears, there’s a catch, like two of the five days are triple. “Resort and special” fees that were unheard of a few years ago have crept in and are here to stay. And by the time an affordable hotel comes up, the airline flights have doubled! I won’t even get into the great ice cream cone shake down. How do families buy groceries and how do we handle this upside down world we are now living in? Downsize our lives? (Even though some can’t downsize any more than they have). 

We can begin by refusing to be mugged. Rev up your mental Jiu-Jitsu and make it a challenge to find things you enjoy that won’t make you feel like you’ve been robbed. Very often we have to be forced to change our behavior but once it happens we realize it may be a change for the better and wish we had done it much sooner. We have equated money with fun for so long that we sometimes think if it doesn't cost much money it won’t be fun!  

Even so, many of us want a simpler life, to find fun and excitement in simple things, and not equate spending money with having our best life. Society tries to talk us out of it.

How are we reacting? Are we refusing to give up our trips, frequent dining out and shopping, and consequently piling up credit card debt?  Or do we get creative with our lifestyles?  Hmmmm, what do we really like to do that doesn’t cost much money? Not watch. Do. 

Being forced into living simpler can be a very rewarding experience if we are the ones in charge. Don’t think of it as making a permanent change or punishment but rather a curious adventure to see what we’re made of.  If this sounds like a good idea to you, here are a few specific ways you could implement a no-to-low cost lifestyle. The question is how we spend our time when we are not working and how we feel about our choices. Again, the pandemic had a positive side. It made us stay home a lot more. Even though the majority of forced homebodies dove for their phones and laptops and grew more addicted to endless tic toc and youtube videos, others had very different experiences. 

Original thoughts and ideas very often come from a quiet mind. When you acknowledge that great idea, your mind goes into overdrive and helps you come up with reasons why you should pursue it, or reasons to go on to the next inspired idea. So staying home and enjoying peace will not make you bored, but mentally energized. Don’t live someone else’s mundane life. Live your own good life whatever it is. Forcing yourself to “stay home” helps you discover who YOU are, what YOU like, what is really important to you, and helps you make a more meaningful decision on how to go forward with this life of yours. It’s an opportunity. 

Now what? Take a walk in the woods? What woods? There are no “woods” to walk through anymore. It’s now all private property unless you are one of the lucky ones. And most of us have watched enough 48 hours, 20/20s and Datelines to not go walking through woods alone!  

If you don’t already, walk outside for fifteen minutes. Next week thirty. See how you feel and add what you can as you get used to it. Going one way with no earphones and the other with, is a good goal. Walking or running not only energizes your body, but your mind is stimulated. I often get a lot of ideas when I walk or run so I record or note them on my phone. So consistently spending 30-60 minutes a day running (or walking) is a good start. 

The next possibility is digging that old guitar out of the closet and tuning it up. Whatever level you are at, whether a total beginner or not bad, make a commitment of at least 45 minutes, five days a week or more. Get the chords down. Get a song down. Use youtube. Whatever you do, don't give up. Stick to it. That 45 minutes will turn into 3 hours eventually. Write a song or two or three and record them. Find someone to join you in playing or singing or both. 

Even if your favorite restaurants that you frequented often have almost doubled the prices, it doesn’t mean you have to give up dining out. Grab your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse or friend and start exploring, say, a radius of 15-30 minutes to start with. The plan is to find new mom and pop diners. Or inexpensive Asian food. Or any culture as long as it’s a local inexpensive spot. Go for lunch if you can and always have a cooler in the car for leftovers. It’s also an opportunity to put the phones away and choose a decade of music to cruise with. It really is a fun pastime that brings people closer together AND listening to “oldies” and singing along is a good time. Go north, south, east and west and make it your thing. Keep a journal in the car noting where you go, what you eat and how much it costs. And rate it, or you’ll forget!

Also, when you are out on those dive drives, seek out farm stands if weather permits. Pick out vegetables and fruit but not so much that it will go to waste or make you feel guilty if you don’t use it!  Make a commitment to use them in a meal that day or the next. It’s a fun and healthy challenge and you’ll look better and feel better. 100% guaranteed.

Use your brain and do puzzles together or by yourself. 

Plant a garden either in the yard or in containers. Ask for help and stay committed. 

Learn old style dances (or new) from youtube. This activity is more than fun. 

Find old chairs and paint them colors you love. You can get small containers (samples) of any color at Lowes for $5.00 which are enough for a chair. (Just painted a wooden straw seat chair yellow so now it’s the Van Gogh bedroom.)  Give some away! 

Go to garage sales (chairs, or tables to paint) and only buy what you really love and have a plan for. Just finding one thing you love is worth the day. 

Decide to learn a new language and actually do it. If there are two of you or more, all the better.

Come up with your own unique ideas on how to enjoy life without going into debt. 

SCASTI VAM!                                  

BUENA SUERTE!                            






LYKKE TIL!      












GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

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Stephanie Sharpe

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