I have spent a lot of time this year feeling stressed about money, and for good reason. I have had less work this year than in the past, and that coincided, unsurprisingly, with us finally waking up around our finances and deciding to buckle down and pay off our debt. It’s stressful, but if I really, REALLY think about it, I know I do have everything I need to survive. Even so, I still sometimes feel like I’m going without.
And then, while I’m thinking that way, while laying in my warm bed in my nice warm house, without hunger pains, listening to the rain beat on the roof, I think of the people who are outside in that moment, hungry, cold, and TRULY going without. And I’m ashamed of myself for even entertaining the idea that I’m suffering in any way. Yes, I have had a lot of bad luck this year. No, I can’t afford to do whatever I want financially. But I have a place to live, a great husband, friends, a supportive family, and I don’t worry about where my next meal is coming from. I am giving possessions away right now because I have more than I need, and this whole lagom thing for me is an interesting exercise/challenge to see if I can live more simply. I have spent my life on the “too much” end of lagom, while there are people, probably in my neighborhood, who have lived their whole lives on the “too little” end of the spectrum. I am lucky, and I need to remember that.
The other day, I saw a Facebook posting for Outside In, which is a Portland organization that helps homeless youth. It said they were in desperate need of personal care products, and were seeking any donations people could spare. Because Ron travels so much, we have a huge stash of hotel shampoos/soaps/lotions – many of them very nice brands from posh hotels he’s stayed in. We keep them in our guest room for guests to use, and if I run out of something I’ll frequently go grab a bottle till I have a chance to get to the store. In an effort to conserve money, I had decided that I was going to work my way through our entire guest stash before I bought any more shampoo/conditioner. I was being good! I was saving money!
But while I hate being panhandled on the street (because I don’t know if people will use that money to buy drugs instead of food), I do like to give to charitable organizations when I know what I give will go to good use. I don’t feel I have the ability to donate any money right now, but when I saw the Outside In notice, I knew I had something that could help, and it wouldn’t cost me a cent. Money may be tight for me, but I have always had the luxury of not having to choose between food and personal grooming on a daily basis. If I needed to buy a bottle of shampoo or a bar of soap, I would just go do it. This was a good reminder to be grateful for that.
So I took about 85% of our stash and donated it. You can’t tell from the picture, but the bag is fairly big and it’s half full of little bottles:
What we have left is most definitely lagom. In the big scheme of things, what I gave wasn’t much, but I’m glad it was something. If you live in Portland and have similar items hiding out in your cupboards, consider donating them – they are desperately needed, and it’s a tax deduction for you!