We all have family, friends, and associates, even if the numbers can vary. They also have influence on our lives, whether we want to admit it or not.
How is this you wonder?
It’s pretty simple. Like water can create the Grand Canyon or wear down the mightiest of mountains…so can our friends, family, and associates wear away at our resolve, our ideas, our goals, and even our regular routine. Slowly but surely, they make headway against our resolve. They have influence, whether we want them to or not.
The flip side of that coin is equally true. So we also have influence over their lives, their ideas, and their goals. It just takes a bit more determination and dedication than they are willing to use against you.
Believe me, as you downsize, you’ll encounter plenty of determination and dedication to getting you to conform and return to a McMansion lifestyle.
Everything from zoning laws to covenants will be stacked against you. Inspectors will look at you with suspicion. Your mother in law will be certain that you are working to become the next Antichrist. Your best friend thinks you have lost your mind. Your brother thinks you need a vacation. Your spouse’s little sister thinks you guys need an increase in income and that you are a ne’er do well loser who’s dragging the entire family into poverty and disgrace. Your adult children think you are entering your second childhood and wanting a play house.
So you keep on, you battle the battles you need to, find ways around some of the others, and alter things enough to satisfy those that have to be satisfied by law. You realize that your unheated, unfinished, un-connected garage is bigger than your still-to-be-finished new house, and shrug. It satisfied the zoning commission. For now, that garage stores building supplies, and later…well, you aren’t sure what you’ll use it for. Maybe a workshop, and maybe you’ll rent it out. You haven’t decided, even though you know you don’t need a two stall garage with a full loft any more than you needed that McMansion, but at least it doesn’t require climate control, right?
For some of us, it’s an economic disaster that drove us out of our former homes and into second hand travel trailers, often located on more affluent friends or family members’ property. It’s portable, so we can take it where ever the next job is located too. It’s also cheap temporary housing while other decisions are made.
Just sometimes…that temporary state lasts a lot longer than we anticipated. That extended temporary state can give your family and friends time to start to work on your determination and resolve to downsize your life. In times like those, remember things like this:
- Your bank account does not reflect your value as a person.
- The size of your home does not indicate how important you are as a person.
- The location of your home does not indicate your self worth.
- Your employment status is not an indicator of your value as a person or of the value of your ideas.
- Opinions of others don’t mean you are good or bad, right or wrong. Remember the old saying, “Opinions are like ***holes, everyone has one.”
No matter how long your current plateau of downsizing may seem to be, or how large those “speed bumps of life” seem to have grown, here’s some other things to remember:
- Stay motivated to continue the downsizing process from whatever step you are currently languishing on. If your lack of employment is the problem, keep looking for that elusive job–surely the economy will improve SOMETIME!
- If its caused by other money issues not revolving around finding those elusive jobs, keep working on them too. Don’t give up the search for the property you want–it’s out there, and you might find terms that work for you. There is nothing wrong with dreaming small.
- Keep on researching. The ideas that you find while you are stuck on one of the many plateaus that can plague the downsizing family can come in very handy later, and speed things along. These might be everything and anything from alternative energy to efficient lighting, from dual-use spaces to compact appliances. Keep notes organized, whether you keep them in digital or hard copy format.
- Take pictures of things you like–whether its something you see at a home show, a home tour, or anywhere else. Ideas can come unexpectedly too–even touring antique homes, I’ve seen ideas that may come in very useful later. (Those antique homes were usually custom built, and contained some very unique ways to store things, as well as traffic patterns, multi-use of spaces, avoidance of electrical power, etc.) Don’t forget to add information with the photo about where it was taken, when it was taken, and what was of interest. Sometimes, peering at a photo a year or two later, you have no idea what was so intriguing!
It’s hard sometimes to stay dedicated, motivated, and focused. Don’t beat yourself up when you waver, and even deciding to take the the downsizing effort into a slightly different direction doesn’t invalidate what you have done–it simply means that you are willing to adapt to changing rules, circumstances, and needs. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back when you need to either. Most of us are far less likely to do that than we are to criticize ourselves for our imagined shortcomings.