Sunday, December 20, 2015
2015 Dec 19
My friend Grace asked: "You are really into this minimalist thing, aren’t you?"
I’m not sure either Raymond or I would describe ourselves as minimalist. But, we are definitely no longer collectors, or hoarders. We rarely make unnecessary purchases. I no longer troll yard sales and Ebay for things I didn’t know I "needed" until I saw them! We have what we need. We don’t want much. We don’t accumulate. We have mostly items for which we see a clear, present use, or function.
We do have, according to my brother, "too many books". In our defense, we gave away multiple boxes of books when we left our previous house. I attempted to stop buying books and only use the library, for a couple of years before we moved into our RV. I tried using electronic books, exclusively. In the end, we realized that we both like books, and enjoy holding actual, physical books, in our hands. We are more selective than we used to be, but have decided that it is OK to have what my nonreader brother considers "too many books". To that end, we opted to forgo a dining room in our new house. Instead, we have a den, which is where our books and laptops will reside.
The two extra rooms of our new house currently have nothing in them. We envisioned at least one of them as a guest room, but we are in no hurray to furnish them. Does that make us minimalist? No, that just means we’re taking our time before deciding what those rooms will evolve into.
As to all the stuff (and there were boxes and boxes!) that we got rid of when we left for our adventure, I don’t think we miss any of it. We sold a couple of things, but most of it we gave away, or donated. With the exception of those incredibly heavy IKEA Billy bookcases, the crystal cross that my Daddy gave me, and the doggie angel Christmas collectibles, I can’t say I miss any of it! In fact, as I sorted through a couple of bins that Vinny and Davey brought over, I asked myself, "Why did you feel such an attachment to this that you HAD to keep it?" Only one thing is still MIA that I was truly looking forward to having and displaying, and that is my collection of Hallmark Lighthouse Christmas ornaments. I thought I had "loaned" them to Vinny, or stored them in with some of the Christmas ornaments we kept. They have not yet turned up. But, they may be in a bin in our basement, since not all of those have been emptied yet.
Getting back to what Grace asked … I don’t think Raymond and I could’ve stayed in our old house and gradually downsized to get to where we are now. For us, the process was too overwhelming. It was better for us to simply get rid of our accumulated stuff in one fell swoop. It was better for us to walk away. It was better to move absolute essentials (or what we thought were absolute and essential) into our RV, and learn to live in a tiny space. That experience required us to become more organized, to own less, and to be content with what fit in less than 200 square feet.
And, truthfully, while we were traveling, we were fine. Discontent set in when we spent 20 months in one place. It was during our stationary time in North Carolina, that we felt claustrophobic. Our choice, to either continue traveling, or to settle somewhere. We choose to settle down. But, that time in the RV taught us to live with less, to be more organized, and it was a needed lesson. It was also a lesson we took in and made part of us. We no longer have the need nor the urge to buy and accumulate stuff. That is NOT to say that we don’t buy anything. Just ask the UPS, Fed Ex, or USPS delivery person. But, we are more attentive about what we acquire. That circumspection is a direct result of dumping most of what we owned, living in less than 200 square feet, and realizing what is really important.
In some ways we seem to have come full circle, by returning to western PA. In some ways, maybe we have. But, our return is as better human beings, people with a greater sense of self and others, and a deeper appreciation of what really matters in this life. For us the journey home required drastic action before we could click our heels and say, "There’s no place like home".