Out with the old, in with the new

In the end, it’s just a flip of the calendar. But we celebrate each New Year because we’re done with the old year and look forward to a clean slate, of sorts. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because if something really is worth doing, it’s worth doing right now. No need to wait until January 1.

With that said, my wife and I do have a goal for 2015 that we’ve actually already started. We are trying to get rid of as much of our “stuff” as we possibly can. And by “stuff,” I mean things we own that we no longer use and that merely take up space. These are things like books and bookcases, old clothes, decorations, furniture, camping gear, etc. We’ve already made several drops at Goodwill, and filled up several garbage cans. And there’s still a long way to go. It’s funny, because when you get serious about reducing your lifestyle, you realize how few things you own are actually “essential.”

We Americans tend to spend a good part of our lives acquiring things: more, bigger, better, larger. We really are a materialistic society. But at some point, all that ceased to be relevant. Now I actually find myself wanting to own less — a lot less. When we become empty nesters, we plan on moving down to a smaller, one-level home. I don’t know if this is just a sign of maturity, a product of growing older, or — and I’m not trying to sound sanctimonious here — something spiritual going on. The things that once brought temporary joy no longer do. I have come to experience much greater satisfaction in simplicity.

So here’s to a smaller, simpler, and freer 2015.

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