I had the good fortune of spending the first part of my life in Ireland where my dad worked and my mom stayed home to look after the house and the family. We lived in small villages and there were not a lot of option when it came to spending your money – there was a golf course, a pub and general store. And there wasn’t a lot of money. Abundance wasn’t something that had reached that part of Ireland or possibly that part of the world so people made do as they had always done when it came to food, drink and entertainment.
The plus side of things is that I never really developed a sweet tooth in the way that I notice is common now. I recall my dad sitting me and my brother down after we bought a bunch of candy one day and he explained what it would do to our teeth and how we would know why teeth were important until we were much older. This conversation turned me off of sugar and candy for a long time. I am a sugar junky, I know I have a tough time not eating more of it once I start, but I get this intellectually and emotionally. I FEEL the craving take over, I notice myself losing control when I eat it, so I just stay away from it 95% of the time. The drive to eat sugar wasn’t established in me when I was young so I have a better handle on it now.
Another plus to growing-up without an abundance is that I love moving around. Walked or rode my bike most places and didn’t count on my folks for a ride somewhere very often. As it stands now, this habit carries on – I park away from the doors because it’s easier to get a parking spot and people tend to drive more predictably as they move further from the entrance, I take hikes to get outside, I go to the gym to exercise and I teaching cycling classes because it feels good to move. It’s very easy for me to reestablish a workout routine after taking a few weeks off because I start to feel off when I don’t workout. This love of movement keeps me active and helps to lower stress.
The negatives are also pretty significant. I don’t really want very much and I expect very little. While initially these tendencies make my life more simple, they do take a toll on my drive and work ethic. For me, to date anyway, it has been more important to enjoy what I do than to gain financially from doing it. If a job sucks, I leave it and find something I enjoy doing. One of my mentors made the comment “you won’t let you work determine your life.” He was speaking from both sides of the issue – he understood that life is just a meaningless journey from beginning to end so you should be happy as much as possible, but he also understood that working hard to acquire things you don’t need can be equally rewarding in that adapting to the journey will force someone to grow personally and professionally.
His point is resonating with me more and more recently as I develop a growing sense of worth and value. Just because I never had something does not mean that I should never have it. For a very long time I lived without goals other than getting by. I can tell myself a story that I was acting this way because I never did anything other than just get by but that doesn’t mean that I should necessarily continue this way of being. Life can be different, and it should be different because I haven’t tried enough things out to know exactly what I want out of it.
The past does not have to become the future. The future can be different and it can be almost anything I want it to be. It can even be abundant.