Earlier this summer I read Karen Karbo's book How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great. One of three lively biographies of amazing women (O'Keeffe and Channel are the other two), it proved to be an entertaining and inspiring summer read. Towards the close of the book Karbo talks of Hepburns tendency to hand over her movie earning to her father, who would invest them and give her an allowance to live on. This apparently frugal move, living on less than you earn, allowed Hepburn to have the freedom later in her career to spend decades performing Shakespeare for little pay, but great satisfaction.
For one who keeps a blog on frugal living, one might think this gem is what stood out the most to me. But it does not, it is obvious to me. Live on less, live like no one else (modified from the famous Dave Ramsey). Instead, what I took from the book was Hepburn's realization that one cannot have it all, and rather mush choose where to focus her efforts. Career was her focus, followed by a disciplined health routine of tennis, golf and ocean swims.
As I closed the book I realize that some efforts in my life must go, at least for now. I am juggling too many fronts. Efforts to create a modernly decorated home are the first to go. Whether it is from the DIY side of things or having a contractor do the work, quite simply my brain cannot take on this question -- what color to paint the walls -- at this moment in time. For the foreseeable future the motto will be "clean and functional". I do not care if the hood over my stove dates to the 60s, possibly 50s. For now, it works, and that is just fine. Down the road I can do updates, likely when something breaks. We have some plans to freshen up the kids bathroom, which we will finish. But after that, it will be on purging the clutter, cleaning what we have, and keeping it functional.
The hats I want to wear are related to three things: a healthy lifestyle; quality time with my husband , children, and the friends who are family; and my career ( a mixture of practicing law and writing). My garden will not be featured in a magazine spread. Our home will not be on any tour of "sustainable" or "make-over success". I admit, I cannot have it all. So instead, I am going to put it all into the three things that matter most.
Frugal -- the efficient use of your money, but also your most precious commodity, time. We only get so many trips around the sun.