With this being the first day of autumn I am reminded of how the changing times and seasons are part of the cyclical nature of life and can change not only our mood but also our perspective. The cooler temps and changing leaves mark my favorite time of year, especially now that we live here in New England, the unofficial capital of fall. But this change of seasons also makes me mindful of how much my life has changed since becoming a minimalist.
As a case in point, Linda and I were recently discussing how clearing out the clutter of our home has also helped us clear the clutter of our minds. I have seen in my own life how uncluttering my living space has uncluttered my head space to think more clearly and thus make better decisions. I would even go so far as to say that the biggest unforeseen benefit of our minimalist journey has been the unloading of mental and emotional baggage from our lives.
One of the most liberating changes has been the exchange of stuff for time. Lightening our load has meant more time to experience the intangibles of travel, reading, and other simple pleasures of living and less time spent cleaning and fixing the tangible stuff of life. And since selling our house in order to move more freely we’ve leased multiple homes in amazing places we could not have afforded to live otherwise. So, the lesson here is learning to redefine one’s life and dream new dreams.
Author Rolf Potts writes in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, “Although Henry David Thoreau never traveled very far outside of New England, he promoted an uncommon view of wealth that is essential to vagabonding. Considering all material possessions beyond basic necessities to be an obstacle to true living, he espoused the idea that wealth is found not in what you own but in how you spend your time.”
And Hanya Yanagihara writes about the meaning of home in the New York Times: “We think of travelers as people who have no attachment to things, but true travelers are people who really have no attachment to place. Home is not a beloved memory or something to yearn for and fetishize, but merely a matter of circumstance: a piece of land (sometimes large, but usually small) on which one eats and sleeps, sometimes for a lifetime, and sometimes for a day. Home, therefore, is anywhere, and yet nowhere as well.” As for Linda and I, home is wherever we are together, whatever the time or season. How about you?