“Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the day. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of your life.”
When my mimimalism journey started, I was at the point in my life where I was at a crossroads. Our life seemed perfect on the outside: stable corporate jobs, 6-figure income, nice cars, home ownership, frequent shopping trips, all the latest toys and electronics, plus we traveled several times per year.
But, I’d begun to hate my job. I felt handcuffed to those electronics, I barely spent any time actually in the home I owned, and I still couldn’t find anything to wear.
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but the conclusion is Jer and I got rid of 95% of our material possessions and started traveling full time.
But wait, let me back up a touch, to Day 1 of this journey. If you guys know our story at all, you’ll know we talked about full time travel for about 5 years before we actually pulled the trigger. Eventually, it all swirled together in this mini perfect storm. I’d quit my job in January of 2015, our house had started giving us major (and expensive!) problems and we both felt it was time to sell. I was in the midst of job interviews and we were house hunting.
One day in early March, in anticipation for buying a new home (and because I was unemployed and bored), I decided to clean out my closet. I was knee deep in handbags and shoes and way too many coats for a Texas resident, and something stopped me dead in my tracks, just like in a movie. I took a look around at all this stuff and a thought popped into my head, “Everything in this room is holding you back from the lifestyle you truly want.”
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love and my current fave book, Big Magic) talks about how ideas go out into the world looking for a home and if they come to us, it’s up to us to recognize and grab them, or let them go by and find a more willing recipient. In this moment, I grabbed the idea.
The lifestyle I wanted looked unconventional, nomadic, free flowing. I’d spent the majority of my life prioritizing the accumulation THINGS rather than the intentional and active pursuit of my lifestyle goal. I’d spent my time worrying about having more of everything: money, square footage, clothes, etc. instead of focusing on maximizing the use of the very thing we can never create more of: time.
But, back to that first day. I left my entire closet on the floor of the bedroom and waited (im)patiently for Jeremy to get home. When he walked in, I told him we needed to have a little chat.
“If you really want to do this thing, I’m in.”
So we dove in. We talked all night about our plans before finally falling asleep with the biggest smiles either of us had had on our faces in a very long time. For the first time in a long while, I felt relaxed and steady, instead of overwhelmed and stressed.
The next 2 weeks were a blur; our house went on the market and sold in 5 days, the new owner wanted to move in in 3 weeks. We sold, donated, gave away, recycled, or trashed 95% of our material possessions, a lifetime of “achievement” gone in a matter of days. The keeper items we packed up, 5 boxes total, and shipped off to Colorado, to store in Jeremy’s parent’s basement.
The point of my story is, I can tell you without a doubt, never in my life have I felt as happy and free as I did when I emptied that house. Furthermore, I haven’t spent a day since wishing I had any of those items back. In fact, I daydream about the day I can get back to Colorado and purge those 5 remaining boxes.
Minamalism has allowed me to take back my most valuable commodity: time. Choosing to only buy/own quality items that bring value to my life means I have a freedom that I never thought I could. Having less has allowed me to be more. I’m now living that life I once thought was only a fantasy. And it happened because I grabbed the passing idea that I didn’t have to live life in the way I’d always been told to.