Before our "Spending Freeze" a typical Saturday activity for us would be to go into downtown Frankfurt and figure out fun ways to spend money. Whether it was the movies, a restaurant or a museum, we felt no qualms with shelling it out to keep ourselves entertained. The past few weeks have been a wake up call and quite the interesting experiment. Not permitted to pay for anything from train tickets to lipstick, we've been filling our days with as many "free" activities as possible. On Saturday we decided to go hiking in the beautiful Taunus region north of Frankfurt. It was 80 degrees outside and sunny and I couldn't have asked for a better day. We hiked for about three and a half hours, stopping for a late picnic lunch on the shore of a lake - Wispersee, it was called. It was an incredible day and it didn't cost us a cent (unless you count the snacks we packed and the minimal amount of gas it took to get there.)
This spending freeze has been a learning experience. How much importance do we put on material possessions? When did the catchphrase of the human condition become more, more, more? It certainly had in my life. I'm always on the hunt for things, material things that I believe will improve my life when really it's the intangible that matters. I have to admit, blogging really does nothing to help this problem. So many people, my self included, are developing something I'd like to coin Acute Pinterest Syndrome. Yes, APS. With APS, we are tirelessly convinced by various social media sites that unless we have a magnetized spice rack and vintage distressed furniture and a perfectly coordinated yet eclectic living space we are not good enough. Thus, the most common symptom of APS is the burning desire for more. More of this, more of that, more of everything until we can be satisfied with who we are.
We have so many blessings in this day an age, but what we may never have is the blessing of enough. It's possible there will never be a time when we can sit back and smile and say "I have everything I need." Our material possessions, no matter how adorable they are, no matter how much chalkboard paint or chevron patterned fabric we manage to use, do not define us. They may improve our surroundings but they don't improve our lives, and we don't need them. What we do need is love. Love, sunshine, laughter - these are the things that improve ones life.
Today is the first of may. I am up in the country with Steven's family. I intend to spend the day outside and enjoy the nice weather with these people I love so very much. That, my friends, is more than enough.