Growing up I always wore hand-me-downs. Well they were hand-me-downs that came from the local resale shop but still we called them hand-me-downs. It was rare to get something brand new that still had tags on it and came from a regular store. I grew up thinking people who shopped in regular stores must be super rich because each year when we would go to the resale shop they never seemed to run out of clothes.
During my teen years it was still a time of going to shopping malls and video arcades on Saturdays and I would tag along but I just never really felt comfortable. I liked looking at all the clothes but there wasn’t anything I could afford. My babysitting money would only go so far. Like most teens I started to resent hand-me-down clothes that came from the resale shop. It made me different and separate from my friends. This formed me into a determined young adult to change that situation but I soon realized it wasn’t the clothes who formed me after all. I didn’t like being dictated by my friends about what was cool to wear or not. I didn’t like store bought jeans that were always too short on my tall body and cost me all my savings. It wasn’t me. I liked having a few extra dollars I could use for other things I wanted like going to the movies. I wouldn’t realize it at the time of course but this was the forming of my life experience in knowing it was ok to be different and not fit in. It was also certainly ok to have a few extra dollars in my pocket rather than spending it all on short jeans I didn’t even like.
When I shop for clothes as an adult, I realize most people are at the sale and clearance racks just like me. We wait for sales and fliers with coupons on them so we can make sure we’re getting the best price. We want good clothes without the high price tags. We are all looking for a bargain and a lot of us still shop at resale shops to find it. The hand-me-down is no longer a frowned upon awkward teen situation but rather a smart shopper who found something unique. Our son loves going to the Once Upon a Child store to find cool t-shirts he likes and taking his clothes there to get money for them.
When I think about hand-me-downs today as an adult it is truly so much bigger than that of clothes though. It really is a whole picture of what a hand-me-down really is in life. I specifically think of the information that is passed generation to generation and is still used today. Recipes, stories, folklore and how to do things. The special things that are learned father-to-son, mom-to-daughter, family member to family member. These are the things that are not taught in schools or even in society at large but rather are the special things families craft and pass on to one another.
The principles of living more natural on your terms are founded on the idea that we can really define what we need in life. What makes us happy. What fills our soul and makes us feel our best inside and out. This way of life is predicated on the idea that we can define those things and not be unduly influenced by mass producers, advertisers and society telling us how to live. What is beautiful about this process and the journey it unfolds is we start to see a whole new world we didn’t realize existed before.
There are still stores and things we do every day right where we know them to be but we go to them less. We see instead the beauty of nature everywhere and are drawn to it. We realize we don’t need to spend our time doing things that were once something we didn’t think we could live without. Instead we are enjoying more fun pleasurable times doing things that truly make us happy, build memories and form those hand-me-down stories. It’s browsing the annual library book sale to keep it thriving and provide new books in our family. It’s visiting the farmer’s market and buying fresh eggs and milk directly because they taste better. It’s Saturday’s spent cleaning the house as a family with the music turned up. Yes we will still go to stores and do what is considered normal but our lists our changes, our purpose is different and we feel in control of what we are spending and doing with our time and money.
As I look at the things our son is learning from my husband and I I see there are nuggets of these hand-me-down moments he is experiencing every day. When I see him open his own toolbox to fetch a screwdriver for something he and my husband are fixing I know he is learning the skills of basic home maintenance. He is learning to do things that will help him save money on his own home and keep it well maintained. When he helps me set the table for dinner he is learning the connection of family and how to prepare a meal so he can feed and care for his own family one day. When he is not feeling well and we reach for the doTERRA Tamer for his stomach ache he is learning self-directed health care so one day he can know how to treat common illnesses rather than going to a doctor for everything. He is learning to live in a world where he can control his life. He is learning to live natural on his terms based on the hand-me-downs of what he is learning from my husband and me. That is the beauty and grace of living natural on your terms.
Each of us has that opportunity to change how we live, taking back the controls. We have had this opportunity all along too. It’s when we act on that opportunity we realize how different this world truly can be. Yes we can still enjoy store bought clothes and designer jeans but we realize there is so much more to life beyond the store. There is truly this beautiful blessing of being able to connect with other people, experiencing solid deep relationships and passing down time tested hand-me-down life lessons, recipes, experiences and stories.
I hope to live long enough to see my son teach his family about how to fix things or do things in life that are based on what he learned from us. I’d love to see how what he does today as an 8 year old transpire into what that means for him as an adult. Of all the things we can give our son to give him a solid start in life I hope the largest of it all is the hand-me-downs that he relies on the most.
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