As an avid people watcher I’ve noticed that many dog owners resemble their pets. In some cases it’s an improvement. So if how they look on the outside can change so radically what does the inside look like? Has their personality altered too and I wonder in what ways. If they spend so much time with their pets and start to look like them surely we must become more like the people we spend most of our time with?
The more with less theme extends across every spectrum of life: financial, material, intimate relationships, family, friends, activities (recreational sport, arts and crafts, reading, writing), food, sleep, exercise. As children in our parents’ home we were unaware of how little we had yet the memories are rich with playtime activities that kept us out from under our parents’ feet and out of the house, exploring the great outdoors. The willow trees at the lake provided natural ropes to swing off and splash into the lake. We spent hours in the local lake in our clothes hanging off those willow trees and how happy we were. When home was not a good place to be we took ourselves away. The innocent wisdom of children.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood that wisdom was replaced with a seriousness that filled our lives with intensity in all kinds of ways: if we earned more we could afford a house; if we studied more we were more likely to earn more, if we delayed having children our earning capacity is extended. So we study more, work more, earn more, eat more, fuss more, stress more at which point the cycle starts to unravel. The more we stress the less effective we are, the less effective we are the less earning capacity we have, the less we earn the more we have to downsize and so it goes. We’ve had more of everything which has spiralled into a state of having to now do with less for all the wrong reasons. Two years ago I was in that place: burned out, wretched and emotionally empty.
Reflecting on that period of my life is painful because it was a difficult journey with little companionship along the way. The MOTH (man of the house) and my daughter, who lives overseas, were my sole support; they were invaluable. The people I thought would have been there in such a dark and painful time disappeared into the woodwork. People I’d supported through many challenges and long term friends were nowhere to be seen. They vanished. In the solitude His still small voice was very loud and very clear. It became a time of pruning in all aspects of my life and with the pruning came healing. I’m thankful for that time because it has made me who I am today, so much more aware of who I spend time with, who I support and who I choose to accompany on this new journey. The few that bless my life bring a richness and sense of belonging with rather than belonging to.
Which bring me to the point of this blog. I would choose to spend one more hour with someone I admire, care for or love because I believe that we do become like the people we spend time with. Negativity, criticism, fault-finding and whinging are downers and sap everyone’s energy levels; they add nothing to my wellbeing.
“Ás a man thinketh, so is he,” are the opening lines of a poem that influenced my early years. The piece was called “Like Calls to Like” and the theme was that who we spend time with will be the ones who influence our thinking, and how we think is what we become. It’s a no brainer then to spend time with those who build you up, champion your dreams, encourage you. They also challenge mindsets and let us know when our thinking starts to stink. I’d rather spend one more hour with someone who loves me, inspires me and energises my spirit. I’d rather be around people who support my journey of lifelong learning and growth than those who are dream killers, bitter and angry.