I never realized how many people want to simplify their lives but are not taking steps to do so, until I shared the story of our transitions. Over and over again, I have heard from colleagues and friends, “I really need to do that”; or “I have so much junk. I wouldn’t know where to start”; or “I want to live more simply, but I have so much stuff I’ve accumulated all these years.”
These lamentations, played in the background of my mind, as they were once my own, as the U-haul van began to fill-up and I stood there sweating, looking inward to myself and the van and deciding what had to go. I still was not totally satisfied as we worked to rid ourselves and our home of stuff previously characterized as “something we’ll need later someday“. All that stuff, now more than ever had a different label, one of obstacle impeding the flow and energy of life, hindering the speed of our progress toward engaging in creative thinking and behaviors on making life match our life enriching desires. Close to the end of emptying our two bedroom apartment, I must have made about fifty trips to the dumpster; the fatigue grew; the sun was hot and the distance was not short and seemed to get longer and each box or bag of “trash” was getting heavier. What kept me going was holding on to images in my mind of where I want my daughters and I to be, that important phone call in my last entry, and the previous memory of breathing deeply and with freedom, which followed the first 30 some-odd trips to the dumpster.
Ninety percent of what ended up in the van was our belongings that for the most part met the following criteria:
- We will use it within the next three months;
- We love wearing it;
- The item will be an important memory to the girls understanding their family history;
- The girls decided together what was important to them individually and together as sisters (if one had to have it, the other had to agree);
- It had to fit in the basket, boxes or containers we have, most everything else has to be easily transported or is donated to those less fortunate, or it wasn’t worth the time and attention to save.
Holding loosely to the above criteria, future “what-if”disappated and my mind filled the gap with those tasks that need to be accomplished for our new home (a la simplicity) to remain lean and refreshing. In only two days of being in our home, we have already begun to find greater rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
The process isn’t perfect. A few items slipped by and have made it to our new place, and a few items got trashed that I’m wondering if I’ll miss. Time will tell. However, overall we are very, very pleased.
Like the weightlifter improving his performance, we’ve begun to do the major lifting, sweating, grunting and feeling the “burn” of knowing this workout (letting go) is going well. Now, with regard to what we need for a simple life will require fine tuning our thoughts and actions, to see the results we’re looking for.
When I say knowledge, that includes the training and conditioning of that knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t come from somebody telling you something. It’s information when it’s just out there. Knowledge is information you’ve taken on board into your decisions and actions” (Richard ‘Mack’ Machowicz).