Have you ever had a zoom-in-on-the-main-character movie moment where you suddenly realize you are unhappy with the way things are? You know, those moments were the pretend rain is falling on the window of a red bricked New York apartment and the main character is sitting on the couch, may or may not be crying, and is pondering the meaning of life?
Okay, so my zoom-in moment wasn’t so dramatic [or trendy], but it came at the beginning of this year when I chose my word for 2014: #simplify.
I felt like there was so much want of more and things in my life that I started to feel icky inside. So I decided that I wanted to simplify. I wanted to take things out of my life that weren’t needed and cultivate an attitude of gratefulness and content.
I was starting to feel like there was so much going on, so many thoughts about what I wanted to do with everything. Add this. Add that. Ooh, what if I tried this?! I came to the point that I wanted to quit it all. Quit school. Quit Facebook. Quit blogging. Get rid of everything and move into a tent. lol, seriously! I was so grossed out by the “need” for things and my dreams of a bigger and better life. Everywhere I turned I saw blog posts and articles on increasing your blog following, making a life out of your dreams, and more along that theme.
I totally shout, “YES!” and wave my arms in the air for doing what you love and loving your life. But for so long, I had tried this path and pushed for what was next in my dreams that I was forgetting the now. Enjoying my day. Not having a list of a million things to do. I was trying so desperately to create a life that mattered that I was missing out on what already mattered.
In small ways, I started. Earlier this year, I stopped web designing. And back in March, I stopped blogging for an open ended amount of time. Around that time, I felt the tug on my heart to move into the city and out of the suburbs. My husband felt it too. We felt called to be closer to our church and to move into a home that would be a place of community.
Through a series of events, we were brought to our current home. We reduced the size of our living space by moving into a 1300 sq.ft. home. This house doesn’t have a dishwasher or garbage disposal. I haven’t used our clothes dryer since moving in because I’ve been hanging our clothes out on the line outside. We cancelled cable. Sold toys and extra household stuff at a yard sale. We donated TONS of clothes. And I began to pray and ask the Lord how we could further simplify our lives.
Our new home has a room built onto the back of the house that is what we would call an Arizona room [but since I live in Arizona, wouldn’t it just be called a room?]. We turned this room into an office/play room and the kids rush in every morning to play. We watch less TV. We started juicing again. Eating simpler. Clean. Healthy.
And in many ways, we started downsizing our lives. Taking out little things here and there to make room for the things we love. And I let go of the idea of a new car, bigger house, new furniture, etc., and traded it for the idea of enjoying my surroundings. For me, this meant so much more than decluttering, it meant clearing out my heart and making room for joy. Peace. Love. And consequently, it made room for passion and dreaming.
When I look at our journey so far to simplifying our lives, I know there is so much more we can cut out. But right now, I am enjoying the fact that the Lord has answered so many prayers for downsizing for us. He has shown us what is GOOD for us right now. He has washed over our frantic scribbles in the sand and made for a fresh and simple start.
I do have some plans for the next few months which includes starting a vegetable garden, blogging more, and transitioning our lives to a more Paleo diet. But now, before I decide to put anything on the to-do list, I try and discern if this is bringing simplicity to my life or excess. If adding something is adding more than I need right now, then it gets on the “someday” list. Because, as cliche as it sounds, less really is more.