Search the web and you can find countless number of promises on all the wonderful things that will come your way once you have decluttered your life and sworn allegiance to minimalism. But what if some of those promises were true?
When I was young I had two very conflicting views of what I wanted my adult life to look like. The picture went like this.
I wanted a small cozy cabin along the water. I would wake and walk my kayak out to the water where I will paddle away from civilization each morning. Returning I woul pick fresh berries for breakfast along the coastline and then…
This is where the dream became disjointed. That nice little cabin and the kayak on the water, while I wanted these things, I wanted them because they would help ground me when I left after breakfast for that corporate job I had to have to prove to the world I wasn’t lazy and worthless.
The dream had a few other conflicting threads.
Driving home from work I would remove the top of my Jeep and let the wind blow the stress of my job away from me. My evenings would be spent curled up in a hammock strung between two trees while I read a book from my library.
The Jeep was easy to understand. Jeep, American-made, was the symbol of wild, unrestrained freedom so it fit with the dream illusion of escaping the rat race after work hours. Now the library. I have always been a reader and loved to have my books around me. At one point I saw a television show or movie that had this room filled with books from floor to ceiling, over the door and window frames. Books were my best friend at the time and I swore one day I would have a room filled with books, my own personal library.
I had this dream of Little House on the Prairie meets Wall Street broker. A small cabin with a hammock and kayak wouldn’t cost a lot of money if I didn’t deck it out with fancy furnishings but a Jeep and personal library would be a bigger investment.
Flash forward a couple of decades and life didn’t exactly turn out the way I’d planned it. I’d left the corporate world to take care of family. The savings didn’t last forever. The cabin on the lake didn’t happen and I never bought the Jeep, although I bought a few other cars I loved along the way.
I held on to one aspect of that dream, the library. I wanted to own every book that caught my eyes. Soon I was drowning in books. I never got around to building an actual library so books were in every room on shelves, tables, in the closet and even piled on the floor in corners.
Then one afternoon as I was dusting which included each and every book and the area around it I looked out the window of my home. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to be outside not stuck inside dusting. A light bulb went off and while I didn’t go outside that afternoon I did box up a lot of books.
When I was finished I had less that twenty books I wanted to keep. I called friends and family and offered free books and let each know the bookshelves were for sale.
But I didn’t stop there. I cleaned every inch of my home packing up and selling or donating every item I didn’t need.
I had no idea where this purge was leading me, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted any more.
That purge freed up the time I needed to clear my head and purposely think about what I wanted my life to look like. I realized I didn’t care what others thought of me and with that realization I let go of more. I let go of the conflicting parts of the dream.
- I didn’t need a corporate job to prove I was good enough and I never really wanted it in the first place.
- I didn’t need to own every interesting book written as a physical sign to others that I had enough to buy anything I wanted.
- I didn’t need to own a Jeep to feel free.
I’d always been free. I’d always been good enough and I didn’t need to prove that to anyone.
This realization led me to the Minimalist Farmhouse. I’m not close enough to a lake to carry a kayak, lake properties are quite pricey, but I know where small streams are within walking distance when I feel the need to be close to water. I didn’t break down and buy a Jeep, as a matter of fact I gave up car ownership.
What I do have is a quiet little farmhouse where I can sit out on the deck and enjoy the sunsets. In the summer months the berries are growing just a few steps from my back door and I’m planning where to hang that hammock.
I found my dream by quieting the distractions that were around me through minimalism. You can too.