I always thought I lived pretty minimally, “stuff-wise” speaking. I’ve never really had an affinity for collecting things, never had a desire for oodles of knick-knacks or decorations. Never was a crafter. I have no television, no smartphone or tablets, only a small stereo, and a single computer. My main weakness was a penchant for notebooks and pens – I am at heart a writer, after all. Friends have often commented that few people could live as I do. I live simply and minimally. Or so I thought…
When you take a 60-year journey in life, paring it down to 15 square feet, the definition of minimal changes. No matter how simply you lived, no matter how little “stuff” you have, you discover there are bags and bags and bags of extraneous things you once thought indeed so very necessary. You discover clothes saved only for “special occasions” that rarely, if ever came; and the hanger-dented outfits friends thought looked so good on you … but always felt uncomfortable, yet never got tossed … because it “looks so good on you”. You rummage through the tool box, finding boxes of nails and screws, and rolls of duct & plumber’s tape, and how many screwdrivers did I really need? You unearth the 12 cookie sheets hidden deep in the cupboard … because someday you might want to make cookies again, even though you haven’t in a few decades. You suddenly see the plethora of dishes and glasses and extra spatulas and hot pads and spoons. And you realize that you really didn’t need 47 tablets and 150 pens. Your perspective changes.
In just two days, I leave on this amazing journey. Yesterday I was scrubbing floors and sinks and windows and toilets and smelly garbage cans. I washed loads of laundry and hung them, I swept the porches and ran the vacuum cleaner. I weed whacked and pulled the stubborn ones. My brow dripped and my hands itched with cleanser and thistle stings. The mosquitoes bit and the flies buzzed around my head. But there was also a smile on my face as I sang along to the radio, knowing that all of the work … what is usually drudgery and “something that has to be done” … was now a part of what is about to come. Perspective changes things.
Thoughts of comfort, not beauty, come to roost now. Thoughts of necessities, not desires. Thoughts of ones, not two-of’s or more. Thoughts of now, not what may never come. Simple thoughts of who I am, and what I am … and not the ideal of others.
Today, what is left from all of the tossing … what has not been donated or sold or tossed curbside … will be boxed and bagged, ready for loading on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning, I will close & lock the door to a place that will no longer be called home, and step into 15 square feet of metal-on-wheels that will now be home. And I think it’s a gloriously beautiful and perfect one. Perspective changes.