January marked some big changes in my life but it all started the week before Christmas.
Late Christmas eve Rebecca, amongst a pile of too many gifts meant to be placed under the tree, announced “I’m cancelling Christmas!” I managed to talk her off the ledge but change was coming thanks to our son Kesler who gave us a beautiful wake up call.
In the week leading up to the big day, we had separate Christmas get togethers with Rebecca’s family and my family. Our kids got some very cool gifts. We had great festive celebrations, except with each event and each present Kesler got more and more obsessed with wanting more. He would have major meltdowns over things like his sister Ashlyn getting a pencil that he didn’t get. It was embarrassing, frustrating, and super annoying to deal with. We knew it wasn’t Keslers fault, he was only 5, so what was our role in all of this? Christmas eve we paired down the gifts we had bought and returned what we could. Santa of course was already locked and loaded but it felt like the right move to immediately dial back. Rebecca then said we are not ‘acquiring’ anything from now until May 19th (Kesler’s birthday) – close to a 5 month hiatus on extra consumption. Rebecca’s instincts are so frickin good!
The next week, we went on holiday to Mexico as a family which had been planned for a while. We ‘acquired’ nothing. What we did do was take a ton of photos! So many great memories and another wake up call for me. I saw my body in the pictures. I didn’t even recognize myself. I take full responsibility for adopting the quintessential ‘dad-bod’ It was embarrassing. The last 5 years has been a steady path of drinking, eating, no exercise, and zero focus on health. At that moment I committed to the Whole Life Challenge. 8 weeks to reboot my habits and body. It wasn’t as much about losing weight as it was about waking up to the impact of being unhealthy and more importantly being conscious of what I was doing at all times.
Already firmly down the path of change, late one night, shortly after returning from Mexico I watched Minimalism on Netflix. Boom! This was the straw that broke the camels back (I’m the camel) So much of the message hit me in a way that made perfect sense. Admittedly, I wasn’t going to live out of a suitcase and move my family into 400 sq. feet but the theory behind the show was poignant and impactful. It aligned with our move to not ‘acquire’ and also to purge the overflow in our home. The two elements that stuck with me most was the idea that you can purchase things as long as it passes the ‘value test’. Does it truly add value to my life. And secondly, the more universal concept of consciousness which went along with the Whole Life Challenge. It was all starting to make sense…
As a parent, this mid-life awakening, is even more important and powerful. I want a great future for my kids. I know that these events have changed the way I look and interact with the world. I want to create an environment where my kids grow up thankful and appreciative as well and conscious of the impact they have on the world.
It’s also not lost on me that we live an extremely privileged life and it’s from that perspective that I’m motivated to be respectful and aware of our choices and how they effect others. We are committed to reducing our footprint this year and have some ambitious goals. I believe the world is craving authenticity and respect, it just took a tiny wake up call for me to see it.