Friday, September 16, 2011

the new black

Can it be true? Can it be that people are actually waking up to the fact that material things do not bring happiness?

I grew up as a middle class white girl in suburbia. I always thought we were poor because of the many fights my parents had over money. I am the youngest of four children and the only girl. I never wanted for anything. Meaning that I either worked and made my own money or someway, somehow, my parents found the funds to provide what I desired.

I enjoyed working. When I was younger I could work somewhere to get a discount, and quit just to find another job the next day. I interviewed well, I was blond, and responsible. Looking back I think I was hired because I looked like an "all American girl" or "the girl next door." I don't know. It doesn't matter. But unlike today, employment was easy to find. The reason I worked? Solely so I could spend.

Shopping was fun. Buying was fun. Stuff was fun. Saving was boring. Nobody saved.

Fast forward into adult life I identified with Madonna, remember the Material Girl song. Ugh. It was the 80's, what wasn't there to enjoy? What couldn't money buy? This continued for decades. God, my poor children. On one particularly chilly Texas Christmas morning one of my children actually said to me, "Can we stop opening presents I'm too tired." You would have thought that an enormous star shaped light bulb would have gone off above my head, but it didn't.

It took more years then I care to recall, and almost going broke, to realize that stuff means absolutely nothing.

I worry about the economy because I have been for the last several years a non-consumer. Apparently 3/4 of the American economy depends on the consumer. I believe that many people are like myself, and have quit the gathering spending game. I know this isn't a majority yet, but there are signs movement is gaining traction. My children have always been frugal, naturally so. They have, at a very young age, decided that spending isn't fun. Just recently, I read where young wealthy entrepreneurs are also turning their backs on insatiable consumerism and the American motto of "keeping up with the Joneses."

Could it be that frugality is becoming the new black?
Some questions to consider:
Do you spend like you used to?
Do you have too much stuff?
If you could buy anything what would it be?

be more nimble

We have set a goal, finally and we are redirecting our efforts to minimize the burden of "stuff" we carry. When we moved out of our fairly large and over stuffed house of twelve years, into our temporary living quarters, my Mother's house, I thought I had really purged. Well it's been 3 months or so, and the heaviness of our storage unit is weighing on my mind.

We have decided to sell or donate what we really don't need or want. Some items were iffy going into storage so those will be easy to donate or sell. Other items will be difficult to sell, like our pool table and our dining room curio cabinet, both large items and both pricey items. We will do our best.

We just want less to move, less to use, less to fix, you name it, just make it be less.

This entire minimalism concept struck me to my core, the other day when I was reading through a blog about simplifying your life. It sounded so good to me I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's become my current obsession. I am excited about this, and I believe this will provide the kind of flexibility we want in our lives.

Can you imagine, being able to move to another country just for a year for fun? Or spending a year in this state and then that state, because we want to? I don't know where we will end up being, but I do know we can't hold on to a bunch of stuff if we want to be nimble.