Recently I’ve come to realize that our decision to simplify our lives means that there are a lots of situations that we need to approach a bit differently, including celebrations. Alex and I have birthdays that are less than a month apart, and this year, since we are in the process of purging and re-evaluating all of our belongings, it’s hard to justify any material gifts.
I won’t lie though – part of me balked at the idea of not being able to give Alex a concrete gift yesterday. This is the first year that we’ve celebrated birthdays as a couple, and for some reason I felt that there should be something tangible involved. As soon as I stopped thinking that way though, I was able to think of experience gifts that were so much more appropriate. I was able to give him a reason to carve out some time to take care of himself. In the end, I feel like as soon as I was able to overlook the desire to give something material, I was able to focus on what he would enjoy the most and ultimately give him the best possible gift.
I’ve been excited about simplifying our life. I know that it will give us the space to enjoy life and not get so caught up in the material things that society says we need to be happy. Last night, as we sat there on a patio enjoying an extravagant dinner, we were able to just enjoy our evening. We talked and planned, and simply spent time together. I didn’t need to present him with any ‘thing’ – the experience was more than enough. It struck me then, that when you remove material items from celebrations you aren’t giving less – you’re giving someone the best gift of all: the gift of time to truly experience and enjoy life.