It’s a rather moody day weather wise. Heavy thundershowers awakened us early this morning. Then for a while I lay in bed and listened as the rain softly echoed around the house. It stopped by the time I took S to work, and we were struck by how high the river was yet, and how many sandbags were still in place protecting low-lying buildings and roads near downtown.
By the time I reached my favorite Tuesday breakfast haunt the skies had darkened again and a few large raindrops splattered on the windshield, warning me to move quickly. As I took the last few steps to the door the deluge began. Water blasted through the drive-up window so hard one of the staff asked for a mop to get rid of the puddles growing in front of the register. Guess I know why those employees covering the window wear raingear!
Sitting down with my Egg White Delight (the new Egg McMuffin with fifty fewer calories, good but it could use a little extra flavor boost) I watched as the rain blasted cars and rooftops free of the dirt gathered since this month’s record rainfalls. And now, 45 minutes later, the sun is breaking through and temps are headed up toward the high seventies; I’m looking forward to a nice two mile powerwalk in a T-shirt this afternoon, a great time for pondering, noodling, and otherwise contemplating life.
I think I’m earning my nickname, Pondering Pops, today. I was thinking about my favorite blogger extraordinaire, Glenn at tosimplify.netand his recent efforts to locate fixtures for his new home-on-wheels, a VW Vanagon that he has repowered and is outfitting right from the bare walls. And I thought living in a condo was a pretty big downsizing decision, ha! He is trying to fit what amounts to a 4-6 cubic foot chest style refrigerator/freezer into his 48 square feet of living space while keeping his power consumption low enough to operate the thing along with all of his other stuff on solar-charged batteries. Meanwhile I try to manage a $140/month electric bill and a gas bill that varies from $35-$135 per month depending on the season, not to mention cell-phone and triple-play (cable, internet, and landline) bills that each top out above the electric bill and $350/month of gasoline to keep the cars fed. Not that I’d like to live full time in an RV, but the thought gets very tempting from time to time!
If you were going to simplify your life, regardless of your current stage of life, what would be the necessities unique to you? They could be necessities like food, clothing and shelter of course; probably transportation suitable to your environment; a means of support, i.e., earning a living or think of it as funding your life choices; perhaps a venue in which to give back to society/people and provide happiness in your life; and perhaps time for family, friends, yourself, and the things that interest you, maybe time to grow in your knowledge and faith? What are the barest necessities that would leave you with the resources and time to explore your inner self and the world around you?
Whether you are young and just starting out, married and raising a family, closing in on retirement, stretching your remaining years to their fullest, or just living in the sandwich like me, the question is a great one to pursue; and I do, often. Am I ready to downsize my life? How does that work and still let me maintain a multigenerational lifestyle? If I get rid of stuff, I’ll have more time for people, and for living a simple and fulfilling life. I think Glenn is right in trying to avoid the traps of consumerism and materialism. And he’s quick to point out that his solution is right for him, but not for everyone. We each have to find our own solution for living that simple and fulfilling life, however we define it.
Pondering it all on a moody and contemplative day …