Downsizing Chronicles has been the story of a journey, the journey of learning to live with less space, less money, and less “stuff.” Like many journeys, I wasn’t exactly sure where we were going to go…or even how we were going to get there.
I guess that has a lot in common with life, doesn’t it?
Don’t start worrying…this isn’t goodbye and the end of the journey. It’s more like a reflection on the fact that it has been interesting, even if it wasn’t what I was (sort of) expecting. After all, the economy was supposed to really start to improve…and we were going to figure out what we wanted and where we really wanted to go.
Instead, it’s like we’re stuck in junior high, unable to graduate and move on. I grit my teeth and dig in, figuring that sooner or later, with one foot in front of the other, we’ll figure out what we want and how to get it, as well as where it is. In the meantime, we’re still living small and going crazy, right?
Part of that lesson we didn’t want to learn is the living with less money part. It seems like the less money we have…the more prices go up. I honestly MISS my little luxuries of a weekend road trip, an impromptu breakfast out, or a new book still. I am still excessively attached to stuff.
Along the way, if you have read any of my other blogs and material, you’ll realize I’m somewhat of a “New Age” character with my radio show and much of my writings. I’m not exactly comfortable wearing that label, as I don’t consider myself New Age at all. Even so, I do actively seek the state of being wise, so maybe that makes me a Seeker. I don’t know, but today…I’m not going to worry about the labels people want us all to wear. They start being pretty bulky to pack around sometimes too.
I have zero desire to be a starving artist or take a vow of poverty. I honestly enjoy my creature comforts, and deeply resent (and fight) that they are slowly being taken away. Perhaps that’s part of this journey too. Learning how to let go of the stuff.
Poor GM, I’m not sure he knew what he was signing up for on this trip. Even so, he’s got a huge amount of faith and love, because he’s sticking with me on the journey. We are getting married on October 29th, 2011 in a beach ceremony in Hancock County, Mississippi, minus the traditional trappings (except for a ring, a cake, and maybe a bouquet of flowers). We are going to plan on our guests building a sand castle and rediscovering their inner child, as well as socializing and dining on our simple food. It’s not a reception…it’s a Gathering, in true hippy/New Age fashion. (If you would like to attend, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for your own environmentally friendly invitation!)
Our honeymoon is planned in the ultimate downsized scale too. We’re going camping. What’s not to love about campfires and hot cocoa, the sounds of nature, and the Great Outdoors? (Besides, it’s SPACIOUS!!)
The gift registry thing was a bit weird, I’ll admit that. We don’t need (or want) china, glass ware, flatware, pots & pans, and the usual assortment of small appliances bought for newlyweds. Where would we PUT it???? At first, I thought that we’d skip the gift registry, but then we leave our friends and family who wanted to give us a gift fending for themselves on a wing and a prayer with nothing more than a guess as to what we could want or use. Fearful of that punch bowl arriving…we opted for the gift registry, although I did restrict it to merely two: Amazon & Walmart. We actually have populated it with things we need or want or would enjoy.
So now, as I try to cope with a much smaller life, in much smaller quarters, with a micro sized budget, I’m forced to regularly prioritize. Everything from the food we eat to when we get to go visit the granddaughter has to be planned, and then we also need to keep that cushion of “emergency money” at the ready as well. (Storm season on the Gulf Coast means we may be forced to figure out how to depart with relatively short notice…and a vehicle incapable of towing the travel trailer for any distance.) Mostly, I say my prayers that the storms stay in the Atlantic, far from the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi.
I’m rediscovering the do-it-yourself skills that I had perfected as a single parent a gazillion years ago, when the money was in such short supply (kind of like now, come to think of it) and even time could be scarce. I do a lot of research before I embark on a project too, using free resources such as the library (gotta love it, even when you end up with book fines!) and the internet (instant gratification!)
Our tools are minimal, our space even less so, but still we manage. We may become frustrated and aggravated on occasion with our situation, but despite that, we still love each other and sharing each other’s company. We are adapting, in fits and starts sometimes, but still adapting. Being downsized this far was not on our agenda, and it’s definitely a blow to the ego for both of us, but perhaps it affects men worse than women. With that said, it’s no one’s “fault” but rather the result of circumstances that have been beyond our control.
And then too, I keep recalling a particular cliche I heard once upon a time…
“There can never be construction without destruction occurring first.”
That’s very true too. Every new construction site starts by destroying what was there before, even if it’s just the natural grade that existed beforehand. Only then does construction begin.
If we’re going to re-construct ourselves, perhaps this is our destruction phase?
In any case, change, whether positive or negative, is always regarded with suspicion and sorrow and stress. We are in our Time of Change. We chafe at our bonds and fight the lessons we must learn. Even so, we shall not move on until they are learned.
Oh why did I always have to be a stubborn slow learner????