The best things in life are definitely NOT THINGS! Although that is such a blinding flash of the obvious, it’s surprising how long (pleading guilty here) it takes some of us to figure that out. We do like our things and at times it seems as if we’re magnets for them. They gather around us like girl scouts at a campfire. The U.S. economy is in a slow down but that does not deter the compulsive shopper. A decade or so ago, the expression, “Conspicuous Consumption” took on real significance and it did not refer to the condition which afflicted Camille and her frail counterparts. Many countries today are populated by high voltage consumers and our obsession with material possessions is widely viewed as acceptable. Parents seldom urge their offspring to “clean their plates” with a reminder that children around the world go hungry every night. Of course, there are many folks who spend in haste and regret the enormity of debt at their leisure.
The “stuff” that really piles up is not necessarily expensive or of great value. The definition of “stuff” in our little Webster’s dictionary is: matter in general; objects, things; worthless objects, junk. Even those who have no “pack rat” instincts whatsoever are inclined to “accumulate”. Look around. You’ll see papers, magazines, household items that no longer function properly, or a flatware set for 8 with one salad fork and two teaspoons missing (we can only speculate that they go astray in the trash can or get chewed up in the garbage disposal). All sorts of apparel, which doesn’t fit anymore, can work its way into our closets and take over while our backs are turned. Women especially appreciate the wisdom of having “fat clothes” and “not so fat clothes”. Then there are the storage spots in houses, which harbor former treasures, which have long since lost their luster. A broken lawn mower, roller skates that are not fashionable or serviceable, and a dilapidated lawn chair or two.
Garage sales, which became practically a weekend staple of most suburban neighborhoods, now seem to be on the wane. Perhaps, it’s just as well. Let’s face it….they often served as venues for selling our own “stuff” and buying someone else’s two weeks later. The word bargain became the mantra of our times along with the other version of that sentiment, “Never buy retail”. The password for success was frugal and it’s still a cornerstone of many a homemaker (there’s no such thing as a housewife---unless, of course, you’ve actually met someone who is married to a house; furthermore, homemaker is not gender specific).
Neat Women Inc did not invent the secret to simplicity, nor did we coin the phrase “simple abundance,” the title of a best seller. The discovery of the beauty of simple living has evolved over the course of the last ten years as people have sought refuge from the frenetic life styles, which demand so much of us. The information revolution, this brave new world of technology has left many people feeling disconnected, disoriented and disillusioned. So we’ve slowly embraced the “less is more” perspective and begun to examine the age old question, “If their life after birth?” You thought it was “Is there life after death?” perhaps, but the truth is, there’s a sweeping sense of “is this all there is?” Gradually, as the fog lifts, we begin to see more clearly that “the best things in life ARE NOT things.”
Do you need direction in determining how to “downsize” your life? If you are interested in exploring the concept, why not contemplate the idea of clarifying rather than just simplifying.
There is no magic formula and it certainly is not mysterious. All that’s required is being honest with yourself in answering the question: “Who am I?” Am I defined by my “stuff” whether that be possessions or emotional baggage lurking around in a closet of the mind? How could life be better for you if you “simplified your space”---both literally and figuratively? Are you comfortable with serenity or do you crave life on the high wire?
Give yourself a little test----keeping in mind, there are no right or wrong answers! This pertains to your own personal feelings about life and privacy is essential because it insures a willingness to be totally candid---with yourself.
- How many of my belongings are fundamental to maintaining my day to day living and quality of life?
- How much do I have that is no longer necessary for enhancing my lifestyle?
- Do I have the fortitude required for sorting out the essential from the extraneous?
- Am I comfortable enough with who I am to risk being defined by “less stuff” and a “simpler space” in which to function?
- What steps are necessary to jettison all the useless, distracting, or debilitating emotional baggage?
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred.
- Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply.
- Give more.
- Expect less.
No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Life doesn’t come with the promise of days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain. Life does offer strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
Disappointments are like road humps, they slow you down a bit but you enjoy the smooth road afterwards.
Don't stay on the humps too long. Move on! When you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be grateful because life may have something better to give you.
When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard.
You can't make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth. It's better to lose your pride to the one you love, than to lose the one you love because of pride.
We spend too much time looking for the right person to love or finding fault with those we already love, when instead we should be perfecting the love we give.
Never abandon an old friend. You will never find one who can take her place. Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows older.
The five things in life which are non-negotiable in splitting with our stuff and simplifying our space:
- Our own peace of mind
- Our personal sense of spirituality
- Our integrity
- Our loved ones who welcome our love
- Our friends who matter
“Let’s dare to be ourselves, for we do that better than anyone else can.” Shirley Briggs
“Free to be…..you and me.” Marlo Thomas”
“I’m the kind of woman that likes to enjoy herselves in peace.” Alice Walker