As I sit at my computer, the sun pouring though the windows and a gentle breeze wafting through WeeHavyn, I can’t help but reflect on the winding path that led me to simplify. The process was not always pleasant, but the freedom and richness it has brought to my life has been worth it. Of course this happened in several stages and the first one was sheer terror and resistance.
I am a child of the ‘80’s. I spent my formative teenage years in a period of time where almost every image of success was that of someone who could afford the finer things in life. Conspicuous Consumption was King. Yet, I grew up on a small ranch that was homesteaded by my great-grandfather. My family came from simple beginnings and we were taught about self-sufficiency and thrift. It was a stark contrast. Of course, as a teenager and a young twenty-something, I rejected my humbler roots and strove to attain the glittering idol of “having it all”.
Time slips away, ever speeding its pace as we get older. I found myself a thirty-something with a typical American life – lots of stuff, lots of payments, and a not-so-great job. As I walked the treadmill of my existence, I couldn’t help thinking I was missing some essential truth. This couldn’t be all there was. Little did I know that Fate was going to show me another way.
Sometimes opportunity knocks politely on the door and sometimes it kicks it down and punches you in the face. We found ourselves having to move 1300 miles and only being able to take what would fit in a four-horse trailer – with the horse in it. Panic raised its ugly head. How could I get rid of everything I’d worked for? What would people think of us in our new home when we showed up there with so little? How would they know we were worthwhile and not just some hard luck drifters, flitting from here to there and never making a go of anything? Friends and family were no help either. Reactions ranged from absolute denial that we were going to do this (my parents didn’t believe it until we actually loaded up the horse trailer) to kindly offers of ‘temporary’ storage for all the stuff we couldn’t take.
We girded our loins and began the complicated process of extricating ourselves from our possessions. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth at first. Yet with each thing gone, our load got a little lighter. Our payments disappeared one by one. Slowly we began to see that we didn’t own those things, they owned us. We had been spending our precious time working to pay for and maintaining them without ever stopping to decide if that’s what we really wanted. We were ready to take the next step… Letting Go.
- Hanging On – Steps to Simplifying Part 1
- Letting Go – Steps to Simplifying Part 2
- Even Less – Steps to Simplifying Part 3
- Walking the Path – Steps to Simplifying Part 4