Friday, February 11, 2011

Escaping the Scarcity Mentality

The mentality of scarcity is something that creeps up on me.  I try to cultivate this feeling of abundance by being really grateful for all it is I have.  But I think in these difficult economic times, where all the reports keep repeating how bad it is and how much worse it's getting, it's easy to slip into a mode of thinking that says that there couldn't possibly be enough or there won't be enough.

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I started thinking really deeply about this the other day because of two things.  Firstly, my knife.  You know I feel like a good, sharp knife is perhaps the most important tool in the kitchen.  Yet, I am always hesitant to sharpen my knife.  The other day I really took a moment to think about why.  I realized that deep inside, I don't want to sharpen it because I'm trying to prolong the life of it since it was such an expensive knife (by my standards).  Now, there's nothing wrong with trying to get the most out of something especially when you've paid good money for it.  Except if you are depriving yourself of enjoying that very thing, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Secondly, my running gloves.  These too were also a pretty big chunk of change for me.  The fact of the matter is that they are very good gloves under my wool mittens because they have a wind-breaking hood and actually keep my hands moderately warm so I can do things like unlock the door or strap my children into car seats.  But I found myself making the decision not to wear them, again, to prolong their life.  So I find myself with frosty fingers (my hands are always cold) wondering why I don't just always wear the dang running gloves.  

I figured out that the underlying thought process is that should the knife go dull or the gloves fray or get a hole, I won't be able to replace them.  That kind of thinking only increases my chances that this will indeed be the case.  So I'm actively looking for ways and working on methods to let go of this fear, to live in in the present and enjoy what I have now to the fullest.  

Does the scarcity mentality ever creep up on you?  How do you put it to rest?  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Am I too old for that?

I'm 29 years old which is relatively young, I think.  Yet, I feel old.  And most of the time people will add 5-10 years to my actual age and be quite surprised when I tell them how old I really am.  I don't think it's that I look particularly old (although I do have gray hair already).  I think it's more so my energy and approach to things.  

To a large extent, I have always felt much older than my true age.  This is due to two things: my personality and birth order.  In terms of my personality, I am naturally serious and focused.  One of my biggest challenges with having my own children is being able to relax and play--to do activities that don't have a particular goal or aim except fun.  Not being able to just have fun will make you feel old and age you.  In terms of my birth order, I'm the eldest of three children and growing up, my parents expected me to be more responsible and to help out with my little sister and brother.  Again, I felt there was very little room for me to be playful and silly and so my natural inclination to be "grown up" was reinforced.  

The other day, I was at the thrift store and I spotted the cutest little pink earflap hat with a big, old pom-pom at the top.  I really wanted to get it but I told myself I was too old to wear something so silly and childish.  Luckily, by the time I convinced myself that I wasn't too old and went back to get it, it was still there (for the handsome price of $1.00).   I bought it, fixed a little of the crochet edgings that had come lose, washed it and then tried it on. I'll admit, I felt kind of silly but I still really like it.  So whatever, I wear it.  And it gives me a "youth" jolt.  

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For the longest time, I have wanted to cut my hair into a mohawk.  I knew it would look good on me and would complement my face but the same tape about being too old kept playing back in my head.  On Sunday, I just decided to do it.  I'm having all kinds of anxious thoughts about how it will be received at work and in general but . . . I just need to give it a try.  I need to liberate myself from this idea of being too old for things.  I'm only 29 for goodness sake.  And you are only as old as you think you are.

I'm never one to jump on that bandwagon of bashing women in their 40s and 50s who are "trying to look young".  I mean, I guess there are clothes and makeup that are not appropriate for everyone but who are we to dictate what someone is "too old" for?  I can't stand all these boxes we try to force people to fit into based on their sex, gender, age, race, religion, etc.  

And I can't stand that mentally, I've been putting myself in a box.  I'm really making an effort to break out and not limit myself based on some useless idea of being too old.  I mean, there are good reasons to understand and appreciate one's age.  You don't want to keep repeating the mistakes of your youth.  You want to grow in wisdom and understanding.  You don't want to stagnate at some juvenile mental age. But at the same time, you don't want to stagnate at some older age and become a person who can't change, who won't take risks, who won't experiment because you're "too old for that."  

Again, it comes back to the whole challenge of finding balance.  And it is a daily, moment-by-moment exercise. 
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