February 10: “Creating an Authentic Lifestyle for Yourself and Those You Love”

peace“Turning away from the world and toward your own happiness is the path of authenticity.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Oh, how I wish someone had made this book a requirement for ninth grade English.  Can you imagine learning these lessons about being your authentic self when you were a young teen?

“When you learn what you can live without, you are able to ask life for the very best because you possess the gift of discernment.”  SBB

I agree with Sarah’s quote.  Like many people in the last few years, my financial situation has been less lucrative than it once was.  I have learned so much through the experience.  I am so much less wasteful today than I was previously.  I am almost embarrassed to admit some things, like how I would replace a pair of mildly worn shoes without even trying to scrub them clean first.  Eating out more times than not with no thought to what we were spending.  We were frivolous in so many ways.  Having to pay attention to our spending has taught me so many lessons.  I like myself better now.  I am proud of being more fiscally responsible.

It may seem like a simple thing, but I think we live in such a wasteful society, and I am ashamed to say I was very guilty of being an active participant in that improvident culture.  Living with less has definitely given me the gift of discernment.  Today would be a perfect example.  I needed a new camera for my business.  In the past, I would have gone to one store, bought the best one they had without a blink, and left the store without any comparison shopping.  Today, I researched the cameras available and decided on the one that would provide what I needed within a certain price range.  I then left the store, researched reviews online to ensure its quality, and checked pricing for that camera at multiple locations.  It was $30 cheaper if I drove a few miles north to Best Buy.  I humbly admit that in the past I would have convinced myself that my time was worth more than the $30.  Today, I drove to Best Buy.

“It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”  Somerset Maugham

Developing patience also allows you to truly enjoy the rewards when they come in a way that you can’t appreciate when you live a life of instant gratification.  Last week I went shoe shopping for the first time in three years, and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it.  I made a day of it, taking my parents with me on a road trip to DSW in Tampa, followed by lunch at International Mall.  I have wanted to take them there for years, but I never made it happen.  Suddenly, through the beauty of this transformative experience, life is becoming more meaningful.  I hope it is doing the same for you.