Monday, February 4, 2013

Rocking Chair Moment #2: Less is More

As we prepare to leave North Carolina and head back to the Northwest on Tuesday, we are doing one final round of Extreme Packing.

Extreme = 6 huge duffels, each weighing 50 pounds, + maximum number of carry-ons per person stuffed to the brim + one ‘I’m-so-sick-of-this-flying-business’ cat.

Needless to say, we are tired of this extreme packing.

So as we sort through our stuff once more, leaving at least one suitcase-full’s worth of junk here for my parents to bring us later, I am reminded of something else I’ve learned from this whole experience, or what I’ll call another “Rocking Chair Moment”: Less is More. (If you don’t know what I mean by Rocking Chair Moment, you can glance back at my previous post.)

I know that this current state of packing and unpacking and sorting and organizing is unique and will not always be our reality. (Thank goodness it ends very soon.) But it’s been enough of a reality for the past year and a half that it has really gotten me thinking about a more minimalist lifestyle.  I have been reading a blog called Becoming Minimalist off and on for a while now and in general have been intrigued by this lifestyle for a few years.  But being intrigued is different than putting it into practice and frankly, I can be a bit of a pack rack at times. And like anyone else, I often think I “need” more, when really I am confusing need with want, and even when I admit it is a want, it’s easy to get carried away and caught up in wanting this and then wanting that and then ultimately never being satisfied with what you do have.

But after an international move, where we had to fit the essentials into a limited number of bags (not to mention all the boxes and furniture you have stored back at home), you can’t help but see the abundance and even the excess of what you own already. The packing, repacking, and weighing process just smacks you in the face and you really start to SEE your belongings in a different way because each item is taking up space, weight, and most importantly, your time.

So as we set up our new home in a little over a week, we are really going to make a conscious effort to buy less and live more simply. Because by owning less I will spend less time organizing and caring for my stuff, which in turn will give me more time to enjoy the things in life that are truly important.

And so when I’m 90 in my rocking chair, looking back on my life, less will be more in that I will have hopefully spent more time:
·      Hanging out with my friends and family
At Tybee Island, GA right after Christmas.
·      Practicing hobbies I love like painting, gardening, reading, writing, and even more recently cooking.
·      Staying active and healthy

Owning and buying less will also mean that I will
·      Worry and stress less
·      Have the opportunity to practice contentment
·      More often repurpose or create things I *need* (or want) for our home instead of buying the cheap, made in China junk from the store
·      Have more time, energy, and money to give away to people who really need it

Of course, these are all my ideals and it will be a work in process.

I will continue to be tempted by the newest Pottery Barn catalog or the latest styles in In Style magazine. (Wanting or even buying these things, of course, are by no means bad – everything in moderation, right? I’m just talking about my own propensity to get too caught up in consumerism – I buy a skirt and then I need a new shirt to go with it and then I realize my boots don’t quite ‘go’ with it and so I want new boots and then I want…)

But what matters are the small steps. So I will start slow and go step by step. Because I know at the end of my life when I’m looking back on my years, I will not care about how much stuff I owned. 

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