We used to have it all, three bedroom home, garage, basement and yard, all completely stuffed with "things". We raised out kids there, we lived there for a long time and never threw anything away. Until our kids moved away, got married or went to college. They didn't take any of our "stuff" with them either, they didn't want any of it. We took a good look at our lives and decided that we didn't need all this stuff, so we downsized into a two bedroom apartment, where we lived for 3 years.
It took some time to let it all go, especially the heirlooms never even once used in all those years or the "guest" stuff when we never formally entertained or used them. Seriously, our kids didn't want any of it, so how valuable an heirloom could it be? I never used that glass cake plate I had stored for decades, not even once. Eventually it all went through garage sales, trash or just putting it at the road for anyone to take that could use it. We fit into that two bedroom apartment!
We eventually moved into a house in the country with 11 acres so I could "Garden". After five years with both of us working our butts off full time to pay for it and not having time to utilize much of it, we both said, "This is stupid". We thought long and hard about what we wanted from life and where we wanted to be in 10 years. We had done the house-career thing and didn't find much of it rewarding. After the stress of the past years, we wanted time to relax and do the things we had always wanted to do "when we retire, the kids grow up or we have more time". We were just too tired from life to keep working so hard at it. We decided that we didn't need that place, that land and all the work that went with it.
At first we were considering a small cabin rental that we could meet with just two part time, local jobs, giving each of us time to do the things we really wanted to do. I wanted to paint, write books, hike, fish, make soap, make jewelry, do some website design for artists. Hubby wanted to program and cook. Then the idea of an RV instead of a cabin came our way.
We bought an RV and moved into it. Anything that didn't fit into it was discarded in some manner, but much of the past had already been cleared out when we moved the first time. After researching RV living, we found that BC is the only Canadian province that will allow a campground as a permanent legal address. We sent resumes out to almost everyone in BC for the small jobs we wanted to do together in our camper. We got a job in the far north of BC, [B]QUIT OUR CURRENT JOBS[/B] and just went. We left grown kids and parents behind. It was a trial period and we loved it! We could always go back to jobs and big city living in Ontario ( I. will. never. live. in. Ontario. again...)
We became minimalists, out of necessity then with an RV home and continually out of a basic Christian belief in the uselessness of trying to amass as much net worth as we can before we die - or get too old to work, with little time left to enjoy it anyway. A stress-free, serene, relaxed and content lifestyle, able to focus on each other, the Lord in our lives and doing the things we enjoy doing, is a much better way to go, for us anyway.
Really, what sense does it make to work our lives away just so we can relax after 65? Is that really how people want to spend their entire life? I didn't want to hit 60 and look back on how I had wasted the whole thing stressfully working all my time away!
I now believe that anyone can downsize their life to fit into almost any income, if you really want to. It's all a question of what it's worth to you and what you really NEED in your life. Is all that stuff worth the work you put into your job to pay for it? Wouldn't you rather work less, enjoying life, i.e. hiking, fishing, painting, golfing or whatever it is that you really want to do, by discarding much of that unnecessary "stuff"? Wouldn't the kids benefit more from having you with them a lot, enjoying life together, relaxed and happy and make do with less "things"? Wouldn't they grow up happier without that hard to reach goal of "having it all" shoved under their noses?
The liberating freedom from stress is just amazing, as is the liberation of letting go of all that "stuff"! What you own really does own you! No mortgage and no debt! We also have no cell phone coverage in the mountains, no cable and limited internet in the summer months - great for kids! (They may not think so, but we know better :)
I love it! I live and work outdoors in one of the most beautiful places on Earth all summer, where it's never "hot" and we do together whatever we want in the winter. :D
And I have time to read, pray and focus on The Lord.