Paring Down

These days I try to pay more attention to the "in between" periods in life. Embracing them because they usually entail major life lessons that come attached to loss, change in general, or unexpected circumstance that arise randomly throughout our life. Be it in the form of death, job loss, money issues, personal conflict, depression, relationship problems, you name it. Whenever circumstances falter, and the frame of routine starts to dissolve, experience tells us the best we can do is learn from it. Surely nothing new in the land of self help philosophies, I know, but worth the reminder from time to time simply because we ( ) need help keeping it in mind.

I'm alluding specifically to the past two months, where we up and sold our home without any clue where exactly it was we were headed next. Because my intuition told me it was time. And promoted a move where even people like us - who cling to the grand notion of spontaneity in just about every aspect of life, couldn't help but stress the impending outcome. Partly for reasons I noted here in previous posts - regarding us being tossed into a seller's market in an endlessly hiking So Cal real estate bubble, combating bidding wars that tend to overshadow what should be a pleasant hunt for a new house. Where it ends up being a very easy place to feel defeated. But I also worried about all the typical things that go along with a big move - finding new (good) schools (the one we pulled them from was amazing, so I knew the replacement one had to compare) a decent neighborhood, a warm, welcoming home, as well as a hundred other things I worried about late night on long nights I couldn't sleep along the way.

What I didn't anticipate though, during the 2 month period in which we were fortunate enough to shack up with the in laws while searching for the "perfect house," was the accidental enlightenment that arose under such circumstances. How I would wake to realize - inside of this strange, fleeting & chaotic period - that we could live, and thrive, and be perfectly content without a huge percentage of the possessions we owned. That a small selection of "stuff" was really all any of us even needed. Without much consideration we left most of what we have in storage and decided to live similar to how we do while camping. For as long as it took. Leaning solely on the bare necessities to get us by: a select & minimal wardrobe for the entire family, a few favorite toys, books, computers, and a couple craft bins to get us through. What became quickly apparent as the weeks passed was just how easily the boys were entertained by what surrounded them. Minimal as the options were. And how much we adapted the same way. Wearing a handful of items over and over again in what ended up becoming a refreshingly basic rotation. Easy and unthought. Me, having but a single pair of shoes I wore for weeks on end without much care. How freeing it proved to have to keep track of and consider so much LESS on a daily basis.

It was the kind of awakening that would coincided perfectly in this next chapter of our lives. Just when we needed it most. Seeing how we were facing fact of a major downsize, square footage wise, in whatever home we could find in our budget, in the cities we were seeking. The thought of which honestly stressed me slightly, imagining such strict storage space, and having to be smarter and more practical about what and how we accumulate things from here on out.

And yet I know now that we can. Because we have to. Because it feels quite liberating to own a lot less. And because it doesn't necessarily entail the sharp sacrifice I envisioned. So we continue to weed though what we have. Eliminating furniture. Donating clothing, editing the array of knick knacks and clinging to a new sense of freedom in the sparseness of new beginnings. Nearly two weeks in and we're still without Internet. Or television. Or clean laundry, or excessive toys. And yet blissfully happy in it regardless. Waking on stiff mattresses plopped on the floor. Seeing dim layers of fog painting our windows white in the morning. Consumed in the endless possibility this new dream house brings. Wearing the same overalls and frayed denim shorts to the beach early morning before the crowds pile in. Boys caught playing with orange peels in the slow roll of a mid week afternoon nap. Building towers out of blocks in the sun spilt corner of the front room, where the blue glint of the harbor boats hang in the corner window, day dreaming about the beauty this new house will eventually encase. New beginnings, paired down. Slowly, steadily, with nothing but our own hands here to shape it. Living simply, minimally, gratefully, here all summer in the meantime.