Trip to the American consulate and more moving prep…

Tuesday was a big day… we finally took the boys to the American consulate to apply for their American birth certificates and passports! They are now on their way to officially being American citizens. Since we’ll be living in Ireland, they won’t be Irish Americans, but American Irish! Strange to think that I didn’t even have a passport until I was 20 and my two boys ages 2.5 and 6 months, will have not one, but TWO passports and are already international travellers! Crazy to think how different they’re childhood experience will be from either Richie’s or mine, although I suppose that’s true for most kids in one way or another. Things change fast!

Next I have to sort out dentist appointments for myself and Richie, because doing that here will be much cheaper than in Ireland. Besides, we haven’t been to a dentist for YEARS and it’s just way past time we got that done. And then I have to do a bit more research on shipping our stuff. It looks like we won’t have enough to go with an actual moving company, so we’ll just send things with UPS or something like that. This move is a great opportunity to minimize our possessions again. We arrived here in Istanbul with two rucksacks and two carry-on bags. We won’t be able to go with quite as little as that, especially since we’ve added two people to our travelling party, but we’re only taking and shipping the necessary stuff. It’s hard thinking of leaving things behind, even stuff that wasn’t ours to begin with but we inherited when we moved into this apartment… possessions become an extension of yourself and symbols of your life, but at the same time, it will be liberating to leave behind unnecessary clutter and try to just stick to the essentials. Besides, we’ve got quite a bit of stuff back at Richie’s parents’ house, from our ‘former life’, so it’s not like we don’t own anything at all! I bet there are loads of things packed up there that I don’t even remember having! It’ll be like getting a load of new stuff!

Well, Fred’s awake so that’s the end of this post!

But will it make you happy?

First of all, I have to thank my friend Laura for emailing me the link to this great article from NYTimes.com. I think it really gets to the heart of why people are choosing to simplify their lifestyles and it shares some interesting information on how American’s consumer habits are changing for the better (at least in my opinion).

I always find it really encouraging to read other people’s success stories when it comes to simple living. It reminds me that these lifestyle changes are sustainable, rewarding and practical. Ordinary people can and are doing living this way!

I also recommend checking out Tammy Strobel’s blog about her adventures in simple living, RowdyKittens (she was a focal point for the NYTimes article). I’ve already found a recipe for home-made baking soda shampoo which I’m definitely going to try. Practically free, better for you and the environment, no plastic bottles to throw away, and it’s meant to leave your hair super clean and fresh!

I know many of you who read this are doing various things in the realm of simple living, and I’d love to hear what you’re up to. It’s so encouraging to read other people’s success stories, no matter how small or super fantastic! Please leave a comment and share your ideas for living a simple and happy life!

Positive lifestyle choices…

Environmental responsibility, simple living, thrift, non-consumerism: I’ve been hearing and reading and thinking about these ideas more and more throughout the course of this year. I’ve been really inspired to make some lifestyle changes in relation to these things, and I’m happy to say that I know other people who are doing the same.

I think people are making these lifestyle changes for a variety of reasons; the current financial situation which has made it necessary for people to re-evaluate their spending and consumption habits; people are choosing to improve their quality of life by working less and living in a simpler way materially; many people are realizing the benefits and the necessity of living in a way that is less harmful to the environment, etc. I’m sure that there are tons of different reasons behind the changes, but its interesting to see people coming from many different starting points and motivations but coming to similar conclusions.

My cousin Anne, for example, is doing some pretty great stuff with her family. She’s a young stay-at-home-mom with three little kids. Her and her husband have made a deliberate choice to allow Anne to stay home to raise their children which I think is pretty cool. Anne is into re-purposing (which is basically re-using what you already have in new ways) and is a rather thrifty lady. She’s recently switched from disposable diapers to reusable cloth diapers for her babies. I think she lives in a very simple way, and is ticking lots of boxes when it comes to non-consumerist lifestyle, some environmentally-friendly choices (i.e. no more disposable diapers!), and I think its cool.

Whatever the reason for people adopting these lifestyle changes, be it primarily financial, environmental, or for the freedom of simple living, I really hope they’ll spread the word and that more and more people will jump on the bandwagon! It’s all about the little incremental changes that people make in their lives. You don’t have to make a 100% change in the way you live. Just think of one or two small things you could do to be nicer to the planet or simplify your life and work on those. And tell other people about your successes and experiments! I always find it super encouraging to hear about other people’s experiences and it helps me stay committed to what I think is important.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in non-consumerism, environmentally-friendly living, and simplicity! Leave a comment and share what you’re up to!