Downsizing life.

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I love this photo of the man sitting quietly on a dock somewhere surrounded by water, mountains, and forest. It offers calm and peace. You can almost imagine that he is observing nature and contemplating his life. Maybe he works in the tech industry surrounded by computers, days filled with meetings, and buzzing cell phones, only to end a 16 hour work day with a two hour commute. He has come up here to decompress and finds himself asking the big question, “what is it all worth?”

He is thinking about his life that is being devoured by a company he works for and the dreams he has abandoned or the children he doesn’t really know because he lives at work or in the car…or plane or train. He is making someone very rich and happy. He is supporting someone else’s dreams. He doesn’t matter much in the big scheme of things and one day he will be “let go” with out remorse.

Most of us have these moments when we realize we are speeding through life not living at all. We are servants of the great machine of economy. We are rampant consumers. We chase the dollar, important titles, and promotions. We then dull our senses with drugs and/or alcohol so we can keep up the charade.

Ah, but awakening is an exciting time. It is filled with fear and worry and stress at first, but also this feeling of being truly alive. You know that feeling of buzzing in the veins that makes us feel like we’ve had too many espressos.

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Faith jumping is what I call it. You lay awake one night and you just know. You know what you desire in your heart and what you need to do. The excitement gets you going but the follow through is where most of us drop the ball. It gets down right frightening at times to have such faith in the unseen. You must be very quiet in your mind to hear the guidance that Spirit gives. It is a whisper in the wind, so vague, so hard to hear. You have to feel it.

Are you passionate about something? That is your destiny. Jump and the net will appear. Go forward on the new road and the Universe will meet you on your walk to give you everything you need and right when you need it. I have been through this many times and can attest that it is the truth.

Recently I lay awake realizing that I was spinning so many plates in the air and missing out on my boys childhood. I was missing out on the true gifts of life. Time with loved ones, doing simple but healing and nourishing things. These would be walks in the forest admiring the beauty of our World. Having ice cream at the local parlor with my family. Sitting in silence in the morning with my coffee and looking out the window to watch the neighbors cat bounding in the grass with his simple feline happiness. You can learn so much about how to live by watching how a cat spends its day. Any animal really. They enjoy their food, nap often, lay for hours just enjoying the warmth of the sun and watching life around them.

I started writing a book that is already out today and in so doing, I became inspired by the conversation on the page. I decided to downsize on many levels so I could, figuratively, become that cat bounding in the grass and laying in the shade to snooze. Why not? Is that not a good goal? At 50 years old, I have come to realize it is a very valid goal.

Almost everything I do I enjoy, but I’m doing too many things at once. Nothing is truly thriving because my energies are spread thinly on each subject.

First, I decided to keep doing all my hobbies but only one at a time. I’m either vlogging or writing. Staying off line as much as possible is also key to mental well being. There is so much junk online these days. Toxic messages, news, politics, people trying to impress people they don’t know…I feel wilty just mentioning it. But I get fidgety without the online activity as it’s been my life for years now. So, I replaced it with books. Lots of fun, deep, lovely fictional and some non fictional books. Creamy coffee and fat novels. It was a wonderful exchange. When I do go online it is for cooking or gardening videos.

We added walks and drives to charming towns to explore, visits to the rivers with friends, play dates at our home to play, talk, have big lunches together on the large porch. We are watching so many good movies that teach us, heal us, inspire us.

I’m still not bounding in the grass or napping in the shade but soon, very soon.

We debated this next discard for months and finally made the decision and sold the rental property. To keep it was costing us more than any profit we made from rent. It was an old house and had many issues. It was our egos that hung on. We were so proud of our accomplishment. To have acquired two properties on our small earnings was a source of pride. We would proudly think, “We are landlords, we are so amazing to have done all this!” But every time something went wrong we would become hysterical and run about flapping our wings, fork out piles of money that we had just saved, and want to rid ourselves of the burden.

Selling the rental has released us from an extra mortgage, an extra solar bill, other peoples problems, stress, and continually losing our savings. It made a nice profit that will pay down this mortgage and give us some money to work on this house which has seen 120 years of history in its time.

On a less dramatic note, I have been donating and giving away large amounts of “stuff” in the house and yard. Clearing and clearing and clearing. The house now feels spacious and clean, yet still cozy and charming. Keeping it up has now become effortless and pleasant. I enjoy cleaning as it’s a type of healing therapy for me.

Even cooking has taken on it’s own simplicity. I pulled the bread machine off the pantry shelf and use it daily making this delicious organic wheat bread.

I stand back and analyze the workings of our home to see what else I can simplify. Even gardening has become easy these days.

So, now I am off to hang my laundry, my washing machine plays a little melody when it’s finished washing the clothes and I hear its song now. I will have some mashed potatoes and gravy for a lunch with the boys and then we may go grocery shopping and I will buy tons of produce and some simple items for easy cooking. I’m a little burnt out on cooking right now since we just had a family guest all weekend and I cooked around the clock for my small flock.

As we let go of extra things in our life, we have more time for living. We are doing things more slowly and savoring our days. I wish everyone could experience the other side.

6 Comments

  1. I would love to hear about how your mortgage payoff goal is going! Are you still hoping to get it knocked out in the next 10 years?

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  2. Your writing skills just keep getting better. Your words touch my soul. Thank you for the new book. I have already started reading it. Love to you.

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  3. Kate,
    I am glad you are taking time off this summer to rest and relax but I do enjoy reading your blog. I can so relate to slowing down, quit chasing the paycheck and just enjoying life. Looking forward to more updates this summer.

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  4. Good job Kate and Bali! Now is the time to sell. House prices are so high, everyone is trying to buy a house, profits are high! You made good decisions. I’m glad it has released you from some stress in your life. Now you can concentrate on your current home and family.

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  5. I’m glad to hear you are feeling your new groove. I think sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and instead of remembering there is a season for everything, and we are entering a new chapter of our lives, we feel guilty or bad about what we did in the last chapter. Life is always going to be changing. We are always going to be changing. I had my children young and by the time I was in my 40’s they were all grown and I became a grandmother. We either learn to go with the flow on some things or we will be bent and broken. Sometimes I cut back on things for a season. Then all of a sudden I am ready to pick them back up. There is no right or wrong in that, even though others may try to tell us there is. My siblings and I are about half and half of how we do things…half go by rigid standards and the other half just do our own thing as we are called to do. And I think that is an argument for believing that we are all called to different lives, at different times. When my children were little I did things one way. Now that I live alone I do them quite differently, but at the same time keep some of the old habits that are comfortable. As a parent we have to realize that our children are growing and changing too and we have to find ways to accommodate that into our lives also. I think we all need to take time off now and again to find the balance we are seeking in what lies ahead. For me, I’ve found that unless something is detrimental to my mental or physical health (or to that of my family), I can take breaks and see later where/how it fits back into my life – sort of like a friend that you lose contact with, but once you see them again you either feel comfortable with them in your current life or not. It doesn’t mean they are/were bad, just that growing can change things and attitudes. I’m hoping you and your family have a great summer and make tons of memories to talk about together later. ~Sally

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