Lately I have found that I am needing less. It began with letting go of little luxuries or what I had previously considered luxuries and necessary rituals; long nails perfectly manicured, colored and highlighted hair, weekly shopping trips. I had thought I needed these things to make me beautiful, to make me feel good about myself and to feel young, but I began shedding this fallacy last spring when I took a Victory Gardening class through UC Davis Extension. Long nails just don’t fit with organic gardening and seemed a little anti-natural. I had begun growing my hair out the summer before my mother died and she had said, “You are going to look stunning!” That boosted my confidence and now makes me remember her salt and pepper hair and her dignity.
This was the beginning-superficial looks, but I have moved on to material possessions and entertainment. I feel good letting possessions go and it is almost a challenge to see what I can eliminate next, keeping only the items that are beautiful, have a use or are a memory. I am finding new ways to entertain myself that don’t cost money but provide enjoyment. Reading, writing, sitting in the yard watching birds, especially our resident doves, walking and catching up with friends provide endless opportunities for self-improvement, self-reflection and rejuvenation.
I have also found new interests that cost a bit, but the pay-off is huge. I have started the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program as a challenge to improve my writing, to meet other writers and to enjoy the instruction of highly qualified writing teachers. I have rededicated myself to walking and exercise, I have begun a meditation practice to find inner calm and peace.
Needing less does not mean having less. It means wanting more and finding it within.