A great humbling

From the Archives

Originally published March 20, 2013

In a time and society of materialism and pride, I’ve reflected a lot lately about what it really means to live humbly. Jokes from my “Book on Humility” routine aside, I’ve come to some pretty startling conclusions about myself. Mostly, I’ve learned just how much I can stand under great strain.

A humble life for me has meant making huge sacrifices over the last two years. I’ve not upgraded my phones in going on two years. I’ve not contracted a car service or kept a driver on retainer in at least that long. I’ve reduced my dining out to a few times a month. I’ve decreased my entertainment expenses to a single streaming-only Netflix account. Just this year, I’ve cut three cell phone lines between both of my carriers. And I can hardly remember the last time I’ve set foot in Boyd’s; I’ve resorted to Jos. A. Bank, and once in a moment of desperation, bought a pair of shoes at Burlington Coat Factory.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all ashamed of the choices and sacrifices I’ve had to make to be where I am today. For example, I now do my own housework, including laundry, instead of outsourcing to a cleaning person. I now do my own grocery and clothes shopping, which has put a damper on my clothes spending as an added bonus. I do my own gift shopping, the byproduct of which is that I now know for what presents people are thanking me when they do. I answer my own phones again, helping me to reconnect with people.

While some conditions are not ideal, overall I can hardly complain. There are benefits – like renewed independence and self-reliance – from living the humble life. I can finally say that I know what it is to go without, and having food, clothing, and shelter has never meant as much to me as it now does. For that I am grateful.

What experiences have helped shape you into the person you are today? How have struggles, challenges, and obstacles aided in your growth and development? Interested to read your feedback in comments. Please share freely.