What is the difference between a maximalist and a minimalist? Is one better than the other? For quite some time I have been called a minimalist, maybe it has to do with the fact that we do not own as much stuff as most people in their thirties do. Maybe it has to do with the fact that our house is less than 400 square foot and has wheels. Maybe it has to do with the little amount of toys or clothes we have for a family of 6. Whatever the reason, it has never been the way that I would have chosen to describe myself!
I felt uncomfortable wearing a title that had to do with stuff...and in the end, in my eyes, not one title is better than the other. As Gary John Bishop (author of Unfu*k yourself and Wise as Fu*k, both great reads by the way) puts it in his book, both are in a race towards something. For one it is the race for more while for the other it is the race for less...they are both on the lookout for a destination rather than BEING.
Last January, we bought a house! Yes, you heard that right, a real house with rooms that have doors and an oven that is bigger than my hand! A house with a veranda and a wood stove and that even came with a piano! We haven’t shouted it out on every roof tops and we aren’t even moving in until next month... it’s not that we aren’t excited, believe me, I am sooo excited it sometimes keeps me awake at night thinking about how we will be using all that space! (It’s a little old house, we’re not moving into a castle anytime soon, don’t worry!!!)
We have been asked many times if that was “the plan” all along? If THIS house is our forever home, everything we’ve ever wanted? And then it dawned on me how, as humans, we are always planning ahead, always envisioning “our future”, we are wired to make plans and then forget to live while we wait for them to materialize.
I came to the realization that nothing that has “happened” to us in these past years was fore-planned. Sure we hoped that by selling our house and flipping a few others we would manage to save a bit of money to buy another one someday. We then realized that by not having a mortgage we could travel and experience the world with our kiddos. We hadn’t planned on buying our RV or living in it for almost three years, we hadn’t planned on travelling through the United States one winter and then living in Thailand the next. We hadn’t planned on being stationary in our tiny-home for over a year, living our best life on some acreage in the woods and we definitely hadn’t planned on spending a winter in our RV in Canada.... our life wasn’t mapped out before us, we just decided that we wouldn’t let fear and anxieties stand in our way and that now was as best a time as ever to seize every opportunity and live them to the fullest!
We have been living our lives driven with this mentality of “what am I willing to accept/be/do?” and “what am I not willing to accept/be/do?” Like it or not, your life is your fault... we wanted to make sure we were “living it” the way we were “willing it”.
When we first started the process of looking at houses(and let’s be honest, now is really not the best time for that ki d of endeavour) and finally had found one that we all really liked, we decided to write a letter to the sellers hoping it would tip the bidding war in our favour.
In the letter we had mentioned that even though we could picture ourselves living in that house, for us, home wasn’t a place but rather a feeling of belonging that we took with us wherever we went( ok now I admit that that might not have been the wisest thing to say to the seller, but it was and still is so very true.)
Surprise: we did not get that house and were quite disappointed but when we found the one that we finally bought, as excited as we were, we were also careful not to fall into that “life will be so much better when...” trap!
Life doesn’t magically become better at some point... we won’t be better, more grateful, happier, more content once we move. Like this quote that I love so much says: “Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.” Epictetus.
I don’t know how many times, when we had a bad day, I was tempted to blame it all on our circumstances... if only we would have more space, a bigger table, more storage, more dishes, more etc... then quickly got a hold of myself, cause I never want to be the victim who blames everything on everyone and becomes so miserable that nobody wants to have anything to do with them.
It all came back to that “willingness” question: I was willing to live in a tiny home so that we could travel. I wasn’t willing to trade my front row seat to the childhood of my kids and our freedom as home educators for a 4000 square foot house. We made these choices and we ARE thriving in them! We are not on a destination, we are practicing BEING!!!
Hopefully this post will serve as a humble reminder that you are the author of your own life. We all need a little or a big wakeup call at some point telling us to live our life rather than to wait for it to happen.
This new adventure we are embarking on reminded me of my role in my life, I am the protagonist, and I wanted you to know that you have that same power in yours!
“History only remembers the players, not who had the best seats.” Gary John Bishop