In my longing for minimalism and simple living in general, everyone has differing opinions on the subject and what it means for them, and that’s okay! Everyone is in a different stage.
My parents had this “century collection” of books. Each one highlighted news, fads, and photos from each decade starting from the late 1800s and I loved it. I used to have a habit of cutting things out of the books (which I should have asked to do first). I remember the book on the 1960s and 1970s being the most cut-up. Hippies. Gypsies. VW buses. The idea of living on the road. I was 7 when the fascination began. My parents didn’t like that at all. They had endured my liking small cabins and thought it was cute. My mom calls me her “pioneer woman” almost every time I see her now.
Simple living is not just about me.
It is about everyone.
How am I helping others? How am I helping the environment? How much am I wasting? Is this made with slave labor? What can I do singularly and collectively with what I have and do? Does this benefit anyone in owning this? Will I even use this?
[picture of me in our living room taken by Rob who was sitting in one of the boys’ homeschooling desks editing a podcast he does with my brother and their friend]
Rob and I spent months downsizing our possessions last year and it was amazing. Simple living to us is to minimize the amount of things we own to needs and things we use on a regular basis. If we find something that doesn’t really need to be used, we easily either find an owner for it or donate it. I have a quote I keep on my fridge (been there for about 6-7 years) that says, “The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.” I found out it was said by the admirably selfless Dorothy Day and I completely agree with her sentiment.
We have talked often about owning a 400-800 sq. foot home (we are currently in a two family house with two bedrooms in our apartment area. . not sure how big it is, but it is considered rather small for a family of four in the US anyway). We are still processing it all and don’t know how long it will take us to do it (the plan is to save once loans we have are paid off, which should only take another two years hopefully). We show the boys what we find on the internet as inspiration and they seem to love the idea of living on a bus lately. I think the only thing that might be a little difficult for me will be in spreading things out for my quilting (if we were in a bus anyway, I don’t think it would be a problem for a small home at all). However, I know we’ll figure something out. We are in the stage of life where we are dreaming, planning, and discussing ideas. We figure we will live NOW as if to prepare for the next step so that there is little to do other than working on the home itself.
Through this goal, we have seen that there are a lot of opportunities that the MCC has through missional work around the country. It would be wonderful to be able to travel and help people and have our children involved with it as they grow too. We want to see the gospel lived out in how we live more noticeably and we feel that if we downgrade to living on a bus, we can be more available to missional work within our own country while helping those who do international missions (such as through GFA).