“We Can’t Take It All With Us When We Die!”
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After 41 years on this amazing place we get to call home, I finally figured out the importance of trying to remain a minimalist within my daily life. I wasn’t always this way, as I’m sure you could imagine because something has to happen to you to have you change the way you do something and for me it really sank in back in winter of 2011.
On my death bed after almost killing myself from overworking, stressing and not taking care of my health for a few difficult years, I decided that if I survived this experience and ordeal, that I was going to make major life changes for not only me but also for my young son.
Doctor’s diagnosed me with stress-induced anorexia, depression, OCD and having an anxiety and panic disorder. After having some time to learn more about all of this and live thru a few relapses, I focused on how to get better, how to overcome what I feared and to take charge of my life.
I did just that when, with the help of my boy, we figured out that one of our dreams was to live in California. At the time, we were living where I grew up and had family in Bellingham, Washington. My hometown and surround areas are remarkably beautiful about 3-4 months out the year and depressing, cold, rainy and miserable the other 6-7 months. I grew up in this area and it was too familiar, I felt myself getting complacent. I really just needed to escape my sad reality and have a chance to start over with a new beginning that we alone got to create. That’s exactly what we did, when I chose to pursue our dream and walk away from a fully furnished 3-bedroom, 2 bath condo in Bellingham.
I’m very much a modern-day nomad and tend to move to a new home and sometimes across the country ever few years to a new place. We get bored easily and like to have new adventures that simple road-trips don’t cure our curiosity and appetite.
I choose a path less travelled with this decision when we picked up and left a very sad, depressing situation with only our “prized possessions” and items that could fit in a rental car. We were able to take our clothes and some shoes, my laptop, our legal paperwork, a crockpot, blender and a few other non-significant items and left the rest behind.
We decided to make a road-trip of our new adventure and drove down to California without a plan of where we would end up, we just knew that we had an idea of living near Santa Cruz. When we made it there after a few days of travelling, it just didn’t feel like home, so we kept driving. I remembered stopping into Monterey from a different road-trip that I’d made for business a few years back and when we got there, “My Magical” Monterey quickly captured our hearts, our souls and really felt like the place we wanted to live. So we made it happen and it was the best decision that I’d made in years.
Both Nick and I knew after touring the area for a few days that we wanted to call this remarkable place home and it really hit me when we stayed at a beachfront hotel in the heart of Monterey Bay. One morning I woke up and walked the beach to find a sea otter playing in the water, a surfer trying to catch waves and the best thing I saw was a humpback whale popping up right beside the surfer. I wondered if the whale was going to scare the surfer or do something to him because it was so close to the man on his board, but the whale was intent on eating whatever was swimming around in the water. It was truly an amazing site to behold and I felt so happy and alive.
When the surfer got out of the water a few minutes later, I went up to him and asked if he saw the whale that was right beside him, he said that didn’t. I was disappointed for him but felt blessed that I got to experience such a powerful, moving sight. I knew that this is where we needed to be and so I was going to see to it that I made it happen.
Moving back to more thoughts on minimalism now, for me I pride myself on trying to not be materialistic and only keep the things around me that I actually use, wear, adore and that which inspires me, everything else is excessive. I see that most people have too much “shit” in their life that is taking up valuable space both mentally and physically.
Years ago, I choose to let go of the shit that was loading me down and instead of owning things, I choose experiences. To me things aren’t important, the people I love and care about, the experiences I get to witness, the places I get to travel to and adventures we get to go on as well as the memories that get created along our journey, these are my most prized possessions and the things that I simply can’t live without.
To learn more about minimalism, check out this awesome site:
Going through the ordeal of giving away almost all of my material possessions, not just once but more than a few times, it has taught me the true value of what's really important in life. I think that it isn't natural to worship material items, they can warp your life and how you spend your time. (Time that you will never get back!)
Possessions are things that should be items that you own that bring value to your life. Experiences are more valuable than things and having really good company around you as you go through life is something you can't put a price tag on nor should you. Material items don't replace relationships with people and opportunities that you get to check out when you are careful and thoughtful about where, when, why and how you spend your hard-earned money. I'll take going on an adventure over buying anything, any day, especially when I get to share them with people I love.
LESSON SEVEN: Try to Be a Minimalist