Challenges Part I: Living Simply. Simply Living.

The next several posts will examine some of the biggest challenges that I’ll face in completing my year of service and how I hope to meet those challenges. This post will talk about simple living, one of the JVC’s Core Values.

I’ve been a pretty lucky guy. My parents have worked very hard for me over the years and for that I’m very grateful. I’ve never been spoiled (definitely not spoiled) or wasteful and my family has limits. That being said, if I need something, I can generally get it without much problem. I also worked through high school, over summers, and part-time during my senior year, allowing for me to spend socially.

Next year, I’ll have the essentials (room and board, food, most transportation, and health insurance) taken care of by JVC. I will also receive a small, monthly stipend of around $80 for personal use.

Yes, you read that correctly. $80 a month for all things social and personal for a recent college graduate in a city full of other young people, including some good friends.

I’ll need to be smart and frugal with my money. I will not be dipping into my own savings unless there is some type of emergency. It’s going to be tough and it’s going to be different, but it’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to and willing to embrace.

How will I meet this challenge? On top of frugality and savvy, I want to change my focus from money to the people around me to better embrace another of the Core Values: community.

My plan is to spend as much time at school as I possibly can. I hope to go beyond my “9-5” teaching job and get involved in after school activities, sports, and service with the students and faculty. When I’m not at the school, I’ll be with the other Jesuit Volunteers living with me and experiencing similar things (I’ll be living with 5 or 6 other Baltimore-area JV’s). I hope to immerse myself in this idea of community in order to live simply and simply live.  Through this, I hope to notice things in a new light. A light that allows for greater reflection and a deeper sense of solidarity.

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4 Responses to Challenges Part I: Living Simply. Simply Living.

  1. Sheema says:

    Great post! I’m glad that you’re approaching this challenge positively! I’m sure Baltimore has lots of free or discounted things for you and your friends to do, you should hunt around for them.

  2. Tom O'Keefe says:

    Thanks Sheema.

    Great idea. Trying to find free or discounted events and things to do is at the top of my list for social activities. We’ll have a blast. I’m sure of it.

  3. […] in different places as people, in our faith, and in our lives. We’ll have differing views on what living simply means, we’ll be serving in different capacities, and we’ll have differing […]

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