You know the great Australian dream; big house, a yard for the kids to play in, and everything you could ever want to fill it.
In 2013 we moved from Sydney to the Northern Rivers, and we bought our first home. We applied for a loan, and it felt like the most stressful thing ever, and we made the decision to only take up around half of the funds we were approved for. We didn’t want a mansion, but most of all we didn’t want to buy a house that we’d resent and make us stressed for the rest of our lives.
The great Australian Dream of the house with the yard started off simple, but now the goal post seems to be constantly moving. The dream keeps getting bigger, and the house keeps getting larger, and so does the stress that comes with that. A documentary recently aired on Channel 7 about the Aussie Dream, and our wants and needs. I rarely tell people what to do (except my kids and husband) but I’m going to tell you what to do here. This is some of the best 40 minutes I’ve spent in my life. I scribbled down a million notes and tips, but also I left the end of it feeling really satisfied with what I have. WATCH THIS VIDEO (there’s a good chance it will change your life).
One of the biggest learning curves for me around wants and needs happened in my early twenties. I was working as a nanny and I worked for people who lived the grandest lives. They had huge houses, filled with more bedrooms than they could sleep in, and more bathrooms than they could count. They could buy whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They had the fanciest of cars and the best holidays. To me, a girl from a country-ish town, from a middle-income family, this always seemed like the dream to me.
Except those people I worked for, they didn’t seem very happy. They worked long hours, they saw very little of their children, their houses were so big they really didn’t see much of each other and from where I was standing they seemed miserable. It wasn’t quite living the dream.
A whopping 90% of Australians are stressed so there’s a good chance you’re feeling a little under the pump too. So, UBank are asking… “Is it perhaps time to reset the Aussie Dream?” Should we be aiming for smaller, and wanting for less? Is it time that we worked out what we need versus what we want?
In the documentary, the topic of wants and needs is a constant one, but a moment I loved most was when one of the kids shares a project he did. On one page he had the word WANTS and the other had NEEDS. He’d drawn and collected pictures and pasted them on whatever page that they belonged. When his parents asked what his needs were, it was simple, “love!”. That seems like a pretty cool exercise to do with our own kids so they can start learning about it early on.
I learned so many gems from the documentary and I’m sure I’ll find more when I watch it again.
But most of all, the thing that made me get teary, was this: We’ve got so caught up in this dream. In the working, getting stuff done, trying to pay bills, and just trying to tread water … we’ve forgotten about making memories. What if we turned off the TV and played a board game, or what if we spent a whole day together making memories? Those moments shouldn’t be put off for next school holidays, or one day when we’re less stressed, that stuff needs to be happening now.
So, don’t wait to make your memories. Make them today.