When I was younger I correlated lack of possession with identity. If there was something that I did not own that others did, I felt resentment, jealousy, and desire. Even if I was able to buy that *thing* that was so special, the happiness would inevitable fade, and I would find myself back at square one with desire and resentment.
Throughout the early years of our marriage, I desired a house with the force of a thousand suns. I spent more mental energy on this imaginary house than my actual priorities and values. It sounds rather pathetic typing that out, but what else can the hours that we collectively spend surfing Pinterest and Apartment Therapy mean? Owning a house was a never ending one-way street of diminished satisfaction. We had the house, but we didn’t have the furniture. Or the decor. Or whatever I convinced myself would make our home complete.
But I realized, in time, that the house, the things, the constant wishing for more, would never ever make me happy. My unhappiness, rather, stemmed from living a life that made consumption the ultimate goal. You can never consume enough to fill that hole.
Now we own very little, we live with my parents in their beautiful home, and Kirk and I are working non-stop between our actual jobs and the ones we are trying to create–and we couldn’t be happier. We chose family and experiences over stuff, and I am realizing how little I actually need to be content with my life.
I am grateful for the little things, the tiny objects and interactions that were beneath my gaze in the past.
Grateful for the magic of buying healthy food for my family whenever I need to.
Grateful for the job that allows me to stay home with our daughters and play with them every single day.
Grateful to see the changing face of nature out the window and for the camper that allows us to travel cheaply whenever we want.
And beyond grateful for the help from family in raising our daughters.
So if I could encourage you in one specific way today, it is to think about what truly makes you happy. Moments, people, experiences–these are what matter over the course of a lifetime.
Not houses, not clothes, not cars.
If those things are holding you back from living a life you are passionate about, let them go.
If those things are sowing seeds of resentment, jealousy, and desire, let them go.
Once you do, you’ll find, as I did, that true happiness was right in front of you all along. For free.
If you find yourself agreeing with this, I want you to do two things. First, send this to a friend who would enjoy this message and secondly, join my new Instagram group which launches on Black Friday: Cohesive Home, a community for (aspiring) minimalist families. See you there!