What Do We Really Need?
It was the eve of 2020. A new decade was about to begin. Fresh starts and hopes of something big and endless possibilities. Who would have thought that within the first 4 months we would be quarantined to our homes, physically separated from other humans, out of work, and out of toilet paper? In these unprecedented times, I find myself thinking, “what do we really need?”
Most of us are accustomed to so much more than the necessities. Multiple cars, televisions, closets full of clothes, shoes, and accessories, houses big enough for all the “stuff”, everyday tableware, special occasion tableware, decorations for every holiday, toys, toys, and more toys, and a multitude of other items that are stored in our too-big house that we have forgotten about or that we are saving just in case we need it someday.
During this time when I am spending most of my hours at home, I am realizing that I am using the same things daily. Even though I can see all the stuff, I don’t need all the stuff. I’m not suggesting we give away all our possessions and live like paupers, but it is a challenge to see what is necessary and what we can do without. I don’t know about you, but I am figuring out ways to save money. I have cancelled subscriptions, used up pantry and refrigerator/freezer items, worn mainly the same handful of clothes for weeks, worked out at home, and stopped the weekly Amazon deliveries. Here is what I found I really need.
Shelter can look very different depending on how many people you are housing. What is your basic need? Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room is what most of us could get by with. I have lived in a 3000 square foot home and a 600 square foot apartment. I had extra stuff in both. Get my point? Need a work space in your house? We end up at the kitchen counter or on the living room couch anyway, so why not just put a small desk in the corner or store files in a cabinet in a closet and take your computer wherever you feel like working today. Have kids? Try bunkbeds and room sharing. It worked for the Brady Bunch, it can work for your kids too.
Yes, we need to eat. The better we eat, the more nutrients our bodies receive and the less food we need to feel full and stay healthy. Most of us have been cooking at home. You may have been surprised at what you can make with limited ingredients and how you have been able to repurpose leftovers. Recipes, food photos and cooking groups have flooded the internet lately. Get inspired and try new things. I have a garden that is producing some beautiful foods and challenging me to be creative and use what I have instead of going to the grocery store to get what I think I need.
Not many people can thrive in constant dreary weather. Sunshine provides warmth. It inspires hope and helps the flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables to grow in size and beauty. Sunshine invites us outside to bask in its glow. It creates a sense of peace and contentment. When it is sunny, be thankful and take advantage of the time to take a break or move your work outdoors.
You may miss your gym or fitness studio. I certainly do, but many of us miss it more for the social aspect of it than anything else. It will be good to get back to that routine, however, you don’t need a gym to exercise and be active. Get outside and walk. If you have pets or children, take them with you. Play a sport in the yard or on the barely traveled street. Go to a nearby park and enjoy nature while you are getting in some exercise. Do push-ups, squats, lunges, grab cans out of the pantry to use as weights. Do sit-ups. Try yoga. There are so many free apps if you need help guiding you. There is no excuse to not get even just a little exercise every day.
Lastly, and most importantly, we all need love. You may think you don’t. You may have warned off love a long time ago. The truth is, it comes in many forms and means different things to different people. Love is kindness. It’s giving. Even the most introverted people need some human interaction from time to time. Pick up the phone, send a text, have a video conference with friends or family. Smile under your mask at the grocery store. Wave at the family walking together on the other side of the street. Write a thank you note to first responders or medical professionals you may know. Like something or comment on a post on social media. Find social groups online to interact with others that share common interests. I don’t know about you but the pace of my “normal” days was such that the last thing I wanted to do after getting home was socialize. Now, I find myself being more social throughout the day and actually feeling more connected even though we are physically separated from others.
During this time we have been given, consider it a gift to reevaluate what you actually need. You might be able to clear out some clutter in your life. Maybe you will need less space. Maybe you will realize how important family is and want more space to house more of your loved ones together. Whatever you decide you need, be thankful and try not to take those things for granted when life as we knew it returns.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.