I had an epiphany. I have finally realized that simplifying my life is a big step towards the pursuit of happiness. Stop and think about it. What would make you happy?
After years of raising kids and working more hours than I can count, I have realized, I have options. I can continue to have a house bigger than I need, or own a bunch of stuff I don’t need (some I never look at or use); or downsize. This will greatly reduce our debt and allow us to spend more time living life as we dream. While my first focus and joy is my family. My next passion, or calling, is to travel the world to meet and connect with others of different cultures while breaking bread with them. Writing and motivational speaking related to lessons learned on the road would be the ultimate.
If you could live the life exactly as you want, what would it be?
I am glad, because my wife Morgan and I have had the same epiphany. After some of our travels with all of our needed possessions in our backpack; we realized it was very liberating. It was like a release of a burden and we just could focus on where and what we were doing.
According to a 2013 article I found by Graham Hill titled “Living With Less” in the NY Times, “Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago”. Many people now have boxes of stuff packed into our garages or attics or we sometimes have to rent a storage space just to store all of our stuff.
Have you ever noticed on a child’s birthday, that a child that gets lots of toys, then only plays with a few of these toys? Maybe there is a lesson here.
Now I look around and still wonder, how did we accumulate all this stuff? Looking back over the years, every time we have moved, we would rid ourselves of all the unnecessary clutter (Garage sales and Goodwill). Then the process begins all over again. One by one, we start accumulating. At times we have rented mini warehouses just to store everything. Now we have a larger house and we have an attic, storage room and a shed filled with boxes of stuff (pictures, Christmas decorations, hobby and craft tools, party supplies, old CDs old paint cans and the list goes on and on). I even have barrels Depression glass I inherited; because I don’t know what to do with these glasses, they just sit in these barrels taking space.
We now have a plan. For some reason it is tough to take the first step but I am cleaning out my closet and then going through all my possessions. If I don’t use it or love it, it is going. Then we are downsizing our house. The goal is to reduce or eliminate debt which will really expand our options. Less debt equals less stress. Less stress is a major step towards a happier life.
We only get one chance at this rodeo called life so we should make the best of it. Talk with your family, or get outside and go for a walk. Living with less could be your ticket in your pursuit of happiness.