Wow! Don’t you just love those times in your life when it feels like you hit one out of the park? Things just seem to fall into place like a well-greased gear and it is euphoria with sugar on the top!
I have longed to lose some weight in my life — off my hips (smile) and in the amount of items I own. It’s not that having stuff is bad or even undesirable. It’s just that there comes a point in life when it is just stuff and it doesn’t improve the quality of life. It does however, increase the responsibility in life.
Sometimes even things we buy for convenience can turn out to be less-convenient. Especially if we have to clean it, repair it, maintain it, remember to charge it up, or at the very least, walk or work around it.
I think that growing up in a small space is a contributing factor to the longing in my life to live with less. The two places I lived as a child, my house and my Grandma’s house. were small and cozy. I’ve always been one that wanted to have all my favorite things nearby and to carry them with me when I travel. (I still enjoy a favorite blanket!)
I thought it was cool when I got an iPad because I could carry so many books with me everywhere and it was so easy. I’m not opposed to having the things I like. I’m just on a perpetual quest to be as efficient and effective in my life as possible, and to relinquish any excess that requires more responsibility without necessarily adding to the enjoyment of life.
So recently one of my dreams came true.
We sold our town home (3 stories which included 3.5 bathrooms) and transitioned to a small rental house for about 8 months and finally to an amazing one-bedroom apartment with a view that is incredible from our sunroom-office.
My hubby is Executive Director of The Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Atlanta (FullerCenterofAtlanta.org) an Atlanta partner of the non-profit Christian housing ministry founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, also founders of Habitat for Humanity. The objective is to partner with families who are willing to put in sweat equity and demonstrate an ability to payback a no-interest mortgage to improve their lives. (A hand up, not a handout). Our belief is that everyone deserves a “simple, decent place to live”.
This process brought us face-to-face with the reality that we neither needed nor wanted all of the “stuff” we had accumulated over 50+ years of life. We like the freedom of living simply and having more time to do more things that we love. We wanted to position ourselves to be more purposeful in where we invest our lives going forward.
It began in 2011, when Jeff and I got on the same page to pay off all of our debt and get rid of our credit card. It has been fun, challenging and so worth the effort. And we did it! (The best part is getting to encourage others who are recognizing similar desires).
Amazingly enough, 10 months after we paid off our last debt, Jeff’s company made some changes and his job was eliminated. God is amazing to have given us a desire (and we were in agreement!) and then when the challenge came, we were better prepared.
So we sold our town home and now, even as I write, we sit together in our office in our new apartment both working on our computers and enjoying simply being. It is liberating to feel so unencumbered.
We still have life challenges. They are just much different than before. Since we just moved, our new apartment did not come with a microwave. So we are on an experiment to see if we really need one. It’s been 3 weeks and we haven’t really missed it — well, unless you call not having to clean it as something I might miss (smile).
Downsizing has often been considered an unpleasant thing to happen. Typically, because, as in Jeff’s job situation, it means losing something or having something taken from you without you having any say in the matter. But, when making a conscious choice to live with less, realizing that less of some things actually means more of other things, you can leverage the way you navigate your life in your favor and it is very empowering.
Opening up your life so that you become aware of the many options you have provides numerous opportunities to live intentionally and on purpose. That, my friend, is freedom in it’s truest sense!
Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Wife & Mom