Minimalism: What gives you meaning in life?

What makes you happy in life? Is it your career, traveling, family, hobby, phone, house, car, etc.? Think about that, and I’ll return to that thought.


When my youngest daughter, Kayzle, was twenty months old, I started a full-time position at a college. She attended a daycare that had excellent reviews. It was connected with my place of employment. I could look out of my office window and see the daycare building. From the first time I met her teacher, I didn’t feel comfortable with her (trust your gut!). I thought it was my overprotective mama bear instincts kicking in, so I ignored this feeling. My daughter was bitten two times within three weeks of being at the school, and the teacher had no idea who had bitten her. She even asked me if I had brought her to school with a bite on the back of her arm or if Kayzle had bitten herself. (Please tell me how a twenty-month-old can bite herself on the back of her arm.)

2014-09-26 14.55.36_preview
Second bite. You can see the teeth marks.

I complained to the Preschool Director. An “action plan” took place. They were going to start watching her (really???) and taking notes on who kept biting her. One week later, I picked her up from the daycare and found this:

2014-10-03 18.07.46_preview
The “teacher” put ice on her arm for so long to cover up a bite.

Her “teacher” was scared of me (and she should’ve been). Instead of admitting that Kayzle was bitten again, the teacher put ice on her arm for so long to try and hide the bit, she gave her frostbite. My daughter had to use burn cream and follow-up with a dermatologist for a year because at least a layer of her skin sloughed off.

My daughter switched preschool teachers. I finished teaching for that school year, but I quit full-time after that. I didn’t have any family help to watch her while I worked. I know this is not always an option, but in my case, the risk of someone watching her wasn’t worth the rewards I was receiving from my career.

I had a prestigious tenure assistant professor position, so I felt horrible quitting. I thought the nursing faculty would look at me as a failure. Around the same time, our assistant dean had passed away on short notice from cancer. It made me realize how short life truly is. When I went to my dean to tell her I was quitting full-time and explained why, she told me something that I’ll never forget.

“No one lays on his or her deathbed and says, ‘I wish I would’ve worked more.'”  


Family and being there for my children as much as I can are critical to me. My daughter was too young to tell me what happened, but she was kicking and screaming going to school for about a week after the incident. It was too traumatizing to me. I chose to work part-time and be at home more. She will be in kindergarten this year, and I will work more. She can also talk to me about any issues, which makes me feel a LOT better.

Back to my question earlier. What makes us happy in life or gives us meaning differs for all of us. Decide the answers to these questions and remember to keep them in mind with your decisions. If you do this, you can cut a lot of the “extras” out in life. I found a great quote on the Minimalism website.

“Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.”

Additionally, I heard this quote in a minimalism video, “You’re not going to get happy by consuming more.”

final minimalism
Photo by Jane

Collaboration with a Purpose

This blog is part of a monthly collaboration with my friends from all over the world! Please stop by their blogs to read more on minimalism. Have a wonderful and blessed day! ❤️ Beautiful image by Jane!

Mylene C.Orillo:  Keep My Life Simple
Sadaf Siddiqi: Value of Minimalism

34 thoughts on “Minimalism: What gives you meaning in life?

  1. Oh my goodness Ipuna. My heart was breaking for you, and your sweet little Kayzle. I feel you did the right thing, and appreciate your honesty about how it made you feel. Which again are all the normal ways one would feel. Wanting to protect your child but then also the feelings of how this would effect your professional life, that you worked so hard for. I too would have been furious, and I should not judge but that teacher does not deserve to be with children if that is the best solution she could come up with. Instead of being accountable, she did everything but that. Sorry this happened to you and Kayzle. LORD, I ask You to bless Ipuna.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Margaret! It was a horrible situation. Although the facility switched Kayzle’s preschool teacher, it was tough seeing her old teacher around the building when I dropped her off. I’m glad Kayzle’s arm finally healed (took over a year). I thought she was going to scar. She didn’t! 🙂 Thank you for your comment and kind words! You are so sweet. Have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! I think if there was anything I could read today that would hit me at my core and make me question where I’m headed with life, it was this post! Amazing!

    As an aside, I loved what you said about trusting your instinct and it reminded me of a book I read once titled “The Gift of Fear” – a great book that encourages women to trust their intuition, rather than ignore it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ipuna, this was a real eye awakening post that I will always treasure! I hate you and your daughter went through such a terrible experience, but you always do the right thing for your child! She is lucky to have a mother as loving, caring and devoted as you are!
    Lately I have been trying to think more about what makes me happy, and not focus SO much on how I can make others happy. I have realized so late in my life (well I am 36, so it isn’t too old), that there is no way I can make anyone else happy because only they can do that and only I can make myself happy. It is hard for me to do because I try to be the fixer in everyone’s life. I really appreciate this very compassionate and true post! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are wise. We can only control ourselves. We can’t control how others react to us. That is why it is stressful trying to make everyone else happy. I’m glad you realized this is impossible. You are such a loving person. Thank you for your heartfelt comment. It really means a lot! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was told they learned who did it, but there was no action plan for it. 😐 At that point, I wasn’t going to give the teacher an opportunity for an action plan. She already had too many chances. Hopefully, the daycare fixed the problem, so more kids didn’t get bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. Good thing you got your love out of there. That teacher wasn’t worth it. You did the right thing. Good job being a mom. Happy Mother’s Day (next week)!


  4. Ipuna, I’m sorry you and your daughter went through that. I’m very glad your daughter fully healed after the teacher put the ice on her arm for too long (giving her frostbite). And I agree this definitely was a turning point, though it’s one I wish you’d never had to deal with (or your daughter, either).

    Your dean’s comment about how no one says they wish they would’ve worked more is spot-on.

    The minimalism quote was great, too.

    The important things in life have nothing to do with possessions. People are irreplaceable. Possessions, even the most important, can be replaced. So it should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately in this day and age, it isn’t.

    Anyway, your post was poignant, and I’m sorry that this ever happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kayzle’s bite was alarming, given Jy’s condition. I’m sure even simple things could make you panic as a mom. If the teacher only knew. I understand how you had to give up work for your children, if I’m going to have kids in the future, I’ll probably do the same. Good thing there are jobs available online nowadays, we won’t have to leave the house, although it’s not as high-paying compared to regular jobs. Thanks for sharing this story. 🙂 May God bless you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I’ve gravitated more toward online work to juggle work and family. Yes, the pay is lower, but it’s worth it for me.
      Thank you! You are a great friend!


  6. I remember this story when yo told me and still remain blown away by it. How a preschool teacher can give your child frostbite. It’s insane and yet stuff like this happens. It’s important to be listen your gut and go with your heart, especially when it comes to your family. I think you made the right decision to put your family first above a title and a praise-worthy job.

    Your dean was so write in her quote to you, “No one lays on his or her deathbed and says, ‘I wish I would’ve worked more.’”

    So, so true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sonyo. It was a tough decision, but I know it was the right one at the time. Additionally, 5 months later is when Jy was hospitalized! That was a rough time. I would’ve never been able to work full-time with Jy in the hospital.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. No one can match a mother when it comes to making sacrifices. Quitting a full-time teaching post must not have been easy, but seeing your family happy that’s certainly worth all the pain.
    Hats off to all the mothers in the world. I hope your daughter gets a good teacher unlike the previous one. That excuse was so silly and your answer to it was equally funny:
    “Please tell me how a twenty-month-old can bite herself on the back of her arm.”
    While good teachers make life good, bad teachers ruin it completely. Hopefully you’ll be back practising your profession, till then enjoy the break from work. Best wishes to you and your children.


    1. Thank you! I worked part-time and moving toward full-time in the fall. I’m writing too, so we will see how things go. I am grateful for the time I’ve had at home more with my kids. My daughter has since been at a new preschool for shorter hours. It has been fabulous! A BIG difference! Thank you, Sadaf!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t believe this could happen! D: I am in shock: you’d expect your children to be safe and watched over when they’re at daycare. Geesh. So much for the excellent reviews…

    Family always comes before career, I think. I believe you made the right decision to work part-time and I also believe you’ll never regret that choice.


  9. Wow, I’m sorry to hear that happened to Kayzle! That was such a horrible situation. 😧

    Great post! I love that quote your dean said; “No one lays on their deathbed wishing they had worked more.” It’s so true; we don’t live for the sake of working. 😀

    Also, sorry for being super late with reading this! Let’s just say I got caught up with stuff. Very sorry. 😅


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s