With a nearly constant barrage of advertisements inducing us to purchase more, to trade up, and to own the newest, fastest, and best, as well as the availability of credit, it takes a real effort to live with less. I wish I could say that I've resisted the marketing, but I haven't. I've slipped into rampant consumerism with the best of them, believing that happiness could be found if only I acquired just the right stuff. Of course I know this isn't true, but I've sure amassed a lot of unnecessary things acting like it is.
I've often looked around my home and felt completely overwhelmed by our things and the energy they require of me. Do I own them, or do they own me? Do they bring me enjoyment or enslave me? So much time is spent trying to keep it all picked up, put away, organized, and clean. Is that really how I want to spend my time? I know that life is simplified and and enhanced by having certain things, but without really thinking about it, we've amassed a lot more that what we really need.
I'm in the process of trading more stuff for less, and of exchanging stability for adventure. I'd take a smaller house for my bigger one, or, for a while, no house at all. We're setting out on the pilgrim way, leaving behind the familiar for the unknown. What do I think I'm going to gain from stepping out of this comfortable life and from letting go of material posessions? The example of saints through the ages, people who have given up everything to acquire the Spirit of peace, show me that I have everything to gain. And really, nothing to lose. Less time taking care of things will mean more time caring for and being with the people I love. Less attachment to what cannot last will help me to be more aware of what is eternal. Less to call my own will make it easier to live in community with those around me. And less to worry about will enable me to fully breathe in the gift of grace that is each moment.
It all sounds great, but I can tell you this with certainty: it's a lot harder to get rid of than it was to collect. I've been consistently going through our home and paring down for the last couple years. Every item I come across requires me to make a decision and then act on it; that gets tiring! As we prepare to leave for an open ended adventure, we're slowly parting with a lot, but it still feels overwhelming at times. With every box that leaves the house I feel a little lighter. I made a goal a few months ago to reduce by half, and while I don't really have a way to tell if we're there, we're making progress. Bookcases have been emptied, drawers and closets are looking a little less stuffed, totes full of fabric and craft supplies have been given away. It feels good!
A line from a favorite song keeps running through my head: "Sometimes the only way to return, is to go where the winds will take you, and to let go, of all you can not hold on to." (Beyond the Blue by Josh Garrels.) I'm ready to go where the wind takes me. I'm throwing off the weight of too many possessions and lightening my material load. I'm letting go of things I can't hold on to anyway. By seeking to live with less, I'm embracing more of what is truly important to me: my family, faith, relationships, growing in grace, creativity, travel, and discovery.
This post is part of a group writing project of Families on the Move. Read what others have to say about living with less:
- Worldschool Adventures
- Family on Bikes
- Break Out of Bushwick
- Family Travel Bucket List
- Around the World in Easy Ways
- Our Travel Lifestyle
- Livin' on the Road
- The Drop Out Diaries
- Discover. Share. Inspire.
- New Life on the Road
- Got Passport
- Brandon Pearce