“Admire success. But do not celebrate excess. Learning to know the difference will change your life.” ~ Joshua Becker
When I first started reading this book, I thought I would gain some insight into the minimalist lifestyle. I admit that I’ve recently been mesmerized by all the tiny housers, backpacking nomads, and living a life with less….stuff. So I was super excited to dive in and learn more.
But what I quickly realized was that I was already on this minimalist path. Like most things in my life, I had embarked on this journey out of necessity. Not out of an actual personal desire and willingness to change. Because life. And I think I’m always right. And I’m too stubborn to do things that weren’t my idea in the first place.
Back to these life situations. Some of these happenings were beyond my control. For example, I got laid off. Some were in my complete control and I had a lot to do with them: I had become a single mother. I had opened a business that was not an instant money maker. And others were a surprise that I’m still trying to work through: I have been simultaneously drawn by and dragged kicking and screaming into living my life as a follower of Christ, and not just saying ‘Christian’ with my mouth.
All of these things required me to reevaluate my lifestyle, reorganize my priorities, and get rid of things, people, and emotional baggage that would not allow me to be the best person, mother, and business owner God intended me to be.
So like most humans my first reaction was classic rebellion and robust denial. I pretended like I still had it all together (i.e. “I’m fine”….insert fake smile that doesn’t reach the eyes). I somehow rationalized that this was better than letting others see weakness, brokenness, and areas of my life that were completely falling apart. Yeah, don’t be like me. I defended my position with classic sayings and awful cliches like “It’s not their business” or my personal fave “Only God can judge me” (By the way, you realize this isn’t actually true, right? People have taken this way out of context).
Since I was a doctor, I was determined to live the ‘doctor lifestyle’ I saw my other doctor friends living (which is a lie…we’re all in student loan debt up to our nostrils). I leased the fancy car. I rented the fancy home. I got the mandatory flat screen that was too big for the room it was sitting in. I acquired fashionable clothes, shoes, and purses. Basically, I had hot-sauce-in-my-bag-swag before Beyonce wrote that stupid song.
But I was working long hours. Dropping my daughter off at daycare and with her grandparents for entire days. And wondering where all my money had gone at the end of the month despite my large salary.
Spurred by my renewed faith, I began to see how incredibly stifling this was of living had and would become. So I decided to come from under the guise and reach for simplicity over excess.
I sold or gave away almost all of my possessions. I moved back in with my mother (I rethink that decision every day, but it turned out for the better despite a small loss of my sanity). I did a complete overhaul on my budget. I cut costs and got rid of all of my store and credit cards. Ok, so I still have a SkyMiles card. Mostly for no reason. I let go of a profitable retail practice that was sucking the life and time out of me to focus more on my private practice. I am buying a home that is far below what I can afford. This is called ‘living below your means.’ You should definitely try it. I rearranged my work schedule and work less hours so that I can spend more time with and homeschool my daughter next year.
I’ve done all of these things and more because I’ve realized what’s more important. And it’s not the things I accumulate, but the memories I collect and the people I impact along the way. Hopefully, when people look back at my life and my kids are tasked with cleaning out my belongings after I’m dead, they will be able to remember things we experienced and the life we lived. Not be burdened by the all the things I collected.
I said all of that, and I still haven’t given a review of the book. Ha. Stay tuned!
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.