My last post touched on our need to live frugally on board and I just thought I’d expand on this a bit. This is something I’m not embracing particularly graciously at present due to the fact that we’ve had a friend staying with us for the last month and I’ve just gained some materials for my new role as a breastfeeding peer supporter that I need to find a home for (an unaccomplished task thus far).
However, if you catch me on most days I will wax lyrical about the joys of not having a TV, a game console, boxes of papers and books that we never look at and a general accumulation of junk! I won’t lie; it was hard sorting, giving and chucking when we moved onto the boat. We had only been married for a year but had still managed to gather a lot of possessions! I only shudder to think how many more there might have been years down the line. We had been blessed enough to have been given enough furniture to fill a 2 bedroom house so we had to find homes for these, Dan had to sell his precious PA, electric guitar and amp and cherished X Box and I parted ways with my Electra cruiser which I loved (possibly more than I should have). I found books especially hard and it took me a long time to feel ok with giving them to charity shops or friends. But we did it, and I think that we are better for it!
I googled ‘frugal living’ and it came up with a lot of results on how to save money but this isn’t what I’d associate with the phrase. Although it’s relevant, I think it is more about not getting caught up in our consumerist society of want, want, want and then often regrettably clutter, debt and no answer to your feeling of need.
Jesus instructed us:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6: 19 – 21
I am aware that Dan quoted this same passage in a post at the beginning of our liveaboard adventure but I decided to use it again in writing this as I think it’s a message that we can’t hear enough. We are born with nothing and will die with nothing; our time on earth isn’t or shouldn’t be characterised by the clothes we wear, the place we live or our possessions but rather by our deeds and our character, how we live and how we treat other people.
Before we moved onboard I would read this passage and think, ‘Oh yes, don’t get too attached or obsessed with ‘things” but even then, I was doing just that. It has only been in the last 6 months that I have really had to face up to that challenge. And even now, I still get caught up in things, things that at the end of the day, we don’t really need.
I think that regardless of your faith, this is something that we can all take on board (no pun intended)! Having a lot of possessions, nice clothes or a big house does not make for a happy life. I’m not saying that people in these situations are necessarily unhappy, just that happiness should be found in spending time with people you love, following your passions (be that art, music, sport or anything else that takes your heart) and making the most of every opportunity that life throws at you.
So I try to embrace our limited space for the opportunities that it presents us – it makes me search for interesting and worthwhile things to do, it will take us across the world and back and it reminds me that spending time with my family and friends, reading a book or doing some craft is much better than the alternatives that we might have if we still lived on dry land.