September 6, 2012 in Simple Stories
The following is a story from Jesse. I asked her to share her story as a guest post. It is so exciting, inspiring and makes me smile. Thanks so much Jesse!
When I was a teenager, I had big dreams. I wanted to do something important that mattered…and something that led to a lot of prosperity and fame. I don’t think that’s all that uncommon. It is the “American Dream”, or so we’re told. To work ourselves to the bone, take out enormous amounts of debt that will have us enslaved until we meet our maker so that we have the “Rags to Riches” story we always dreamed of.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to challenge that logic. What started out as a war against credit and debt has led me and my family into a peaceful surrender of the acquisition of “stuff”.
The craziest thing about this is the timing. We just had a baby. Most people have babies and look to expand. You need a nursery, crib, strollers, car seats, toys, monitors, diapers….and on and on it goes. When I first became pregnant, the baby section at any store would make me almost pee my pants…literally. It was all so overwhelming. My friends and family lovingly invaded my baby registry, insisting that I didn’t have enough stuff on there and “trust me, you’re going to need this”. Indeed many of their suggestions were spot on and the things they got for me did come in handy. But I couldn’t help but wonder…does a baby really need all this stuff? Do we really need all this stuff?
It was a beautiful afternoon a few months ago, while driving home from shopping at the mall, that my husband and I started talking. The dream of going off the grid, completely downsizing and simplifying our lives had been on our back-burner for years. It came up periodically in one form or another…usually involving a hiking pack and the woods. And now with a newborn in the house, we both assumed that dream would have to wait until we retire. But it was in that short car ride home that we asked each other “why not?” Neither one of us could come up with an answer. Who said we had to have a 3 bedroom house? Who said the baby had to have her own room (which she still hadn’t slept in once by that point anyhow)? Who said we really needed all this stuff and all this space? We had our minds made up by the time we arrived home. A week later we sold my husband’s truck and the following week bought our 5th wheel.
We are now 2 weeks away from moving into our RV. Originally we had thought that we would need a small storage unit as well, but as we started to go through item after precious item, the realization came that these items were not nearly as exquisite as we had once thought. In fact, they are replaceable. Rather insignificant compared to the monumental task we are facing. So without looking back, we’ve sold our music gear. I’ve put my wedding dress up on Craigslist. We’ve held probably 5 yard sales already. I’ve sold my ripstick and snowboard. My husband has parted with his kitchen equipment and tools. And with the selling/donation of each item, I have found a strange release that I never imagined I would feel. It’s a lightness…a sort of freedom.
As we have gone/are still going through this journey, my faith keeps ringing in my ears. There’s a verse in the Bible that talks of a rich man not being able to part with his riches to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t chase after him or give him another option. He simply says how difficult it is for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I think about that now and realize just how tightly I’ve been holding on to my crap. How it will rust and rot long after I’m gone, or maybe before that time, and yet I’ll slave myself to own it, repair it, clean it, and store it….and perhaps trade my soul for it. The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity said,
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
We’re still a long ways off from where we wish to be, but I couldn’t be happier that we’re moving together as a family towards a more simplistic, minimalistic lifestyle.
You can find Jesse at her blog – Bloggitty Blog Blog
Would you like to share your simple living story? Where are you at when it comes to simple living? Send me an e-mail.