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When you hear, “A simple life is easy to achieve!” do you think, yeah, back up the POD and hire a team of guys to haul your stuff out?
Has the game of “S/He who dies with the most toys, wins” gotten old, and not fun anymore?
If you’ve climbed the ladder to high pay scale success, is the fast pace power-job worth sacrifice of family? Are the two cars mandatory? Will you only get your exercise by belonging to the tennis club or gym, or can you find free, or less expensive ways to stay fit? Do your kids each have their own room, or can they learn to share, while learning about money?
What does simplify mean? Does it mean hippyville, or frugal, monastic living? It can mean that, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean having less, but higher quality things. Maybe it means being seen all winter —or two in the same coat, rather than having a variety of coats you don’t like as much. Could you live in a smaller place—even an apartment, if you like the location? On what do you place value? Some save up to buy what they want (Hooray!), Others, can’t wait, and either go into debt, or buy lots of small, inexpensive things for immediate gratification. If you’re willing to entertain the idea of simplifying, take a look at what makes you happy. There may be some deal-breakers, like traffic, noise, living far from your family. On the other hand, some take public transportation, or don’t mind spending time in their car, practicing a new language or book on CD. They love the hum of a busy city and take George Burns’ at his word. “Happiness is having a large, close-knit family in a small town, far away.”
I have a friend in New Zealand who’s getting rid of everything. He’s going to rent out his house and move to Thailand. Over the years, like most of us, he’s accumulated lots of things. I left him a lot of those things when I returned to the states, and sent him many more things from over here. Now he’s getting rid of the bison piggy bank, Wellington-boot flower vase, pottery bowls, silk ties, books, cards, cards and more cards! When it gets tough weeding through some of the stuff, he tells himself, “This won’t be meaningful to anyone when I drop dead.” (A real sentimental bloke.) He’s doing it because he’s moving forward on a desire.
This simplify stuff isn’t for the chicken-hearted. (Although you can go at a slow pace, and you call the shots of how much is too much.) I’ve even gotten caught up in his flurry of activity. Last month I gave away things still in good shape, but I was ready to release them for one reason or another: shoes, leather pants, a wool coat and lots of summer clothing. This month I’ve already found more—and I’m considered a minimalist by many!
Want to simplify? What can—and will you get rid of today that will make you feel lighter for doing so?