The other night I was watching an episode of House Hunters on HGTV. A single lady was looking to move from her traditional family home in the suburbs to a small one-bedroom apartment in the city. She planned to get rid of her car and her gardening tools and all kinds of other stuff she wouldn’t need in a city dwelling.
When she bought her home in the suburbs she was excited about all the room, hosting family events, decorating, gardening and all the other romantic notions that come with home ownership. But ultimately, she found it all to be just too much. She said she really sort of felt burdened by all of her stuff and the space and all that it required of her. And as it turns out, her family didn’t come to visit all that much. So, she decided to make a radical lifestyle change and scale back to the bare essentials.
As I watched I thought about my big backyard with its mole holes everywhere and the flower beds that I can’t maintain and a garage so full of crud I can’t find anything. And the idea of scaling back in a radical way was exceptionally appealing.
I know of another lady who is married and has grown children. Her husband is an executive and they are very well off. Like most couples in their tax bracket, they had accumulated and collected a house full of precious and lovely things that go along with fine living.
One day they had a garage sale and sold everything. And I do mean every thing. They moved from a home of several thousand square feet into a small unheated one-room cabin that overlooks a river in a very rural area. They have no closets, just two or three hooks and a couple of shelves. They have just one each of the things they need instead of one in every color, like many of us do.
When I visited her cabin and saw her one or two hooks and one or two shelves for all of her clothes, I couldn’t imagine not having a walk in closet! But honestly, in spite of having a closet full of clothes, I wear the same four or five outfits most of the time. If I were willing to make a radical change, I could probably get by with a couple of shelves and hooks and be perfectly happy.
How do you get to the point where you are willing to make the leap out of your comfort zone into something so different? Even if all that comfort seems a little heavy and not all that comfortable.
Is it a push? Is it something sharp and pointed that pokes you out of your nest?
Or is it a pull? A sweet and lyrical song that draws you away into another life?
Or is it merely discontent?
I don’t know. I have been thinking a lot lately about making a radical lifestyle change, but I have neither a push nor a pull, so maybe its discontent. Or maybe it’s just a case of the wintertime blues.
Maybe instead of selling all my stuff, I’ll get a radical haircut instead.
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When you think about making a radical lifestyle change, you have to consider not just the burden of the material “stuff” littering your emotional landscape, but also the burden of psychological obligations – like blogs, twitter, social media, television, clubs and other things that you have made space for in your life that require maintenance. ~AM.