Once upon a time, I was eighteen years old and ready to leave home.
I didn’t go far, having chosen to attend college half an hour away from where I grew up, but I still clearly remember the day I moved out.
My belongings were all packed into my parents’ vehicle, and I headed out to make my new “home” in a college dorm.
Back in those days, I didn’t need much to make a home. Life was simple in a lot of ways – as long as I had Christmas lights to tack up around the ceiling, and pictures to cover every inch of the walls in my room, I was happy.
Those days in dorm were rich with experiences and late night talks, and we all had such a sense of new-found freedom and independence.
Many moves later, with yet another fresh start recently behind me, I have thought a lot about what it takes to make a home. I have packed and unpacked hundreds of boxes, and faced countless decisions regarding which possessions are worth keeping, and which items win a free trip to the thrift store.
Gone are the days when the possessions I “need” to survive could be packed into a mini van.
Somewhere between 18 and the present, life has changed.
The gradual accumulation of “stuff” sneaks up undetected, and seems to explode suddenly in my face when life requires the corralling of belongings.
Because Ben and I have spent the last 10 years in youth ministry, those first years away from home never feel very far behind me. I watch young adults try the world on for size, listen to them share their thoughts and experiences, and connect with them in a way which keeps the memories fresh from that stage in my own life.
I love what my life has become, but every once in a while, I think about what I would have done differently, if I could go back.
I would do it simpler.
I would focus on what matters most.
I would recognize that sometimes, some Christmas lights and a few pictures go a long way.
This is why I am a huge fan of Joshua Becker.
He writes about getting back to the basics, and finding joy in the simple things. He is passionate about getting rid of anything that clutters up life, making it difficult to clearly see what is most important to us.
I discovered his blog, Becoming Minimalist, this last year, which hit exactly the right spot as I got our family ready to move, and was desiring to lighten our load. I’ve always been a fan of purging, but reading Joshua Becker’s books has opened my eyes to how great my need is when it comes to simplifying.
His latest book, Living With Less, specifically written for students, is about choosing a simple life style before the accumulation sneaks up on you. It’s a refreshing message in a time when the pressure to pursue more, instead of learning contentment with less, is constantly bombarding all of us, perhaps youth most of all.
Reading his book made me long for this very same information….twenty years ago.
I always intended to keep life simple, but somehow, I still ended up bringing 17 boxes to the thrift store before our last move. I’m not sure if I would have fully appreciated his wise words back then, but if I had, the U-haul trailer would have been much emptier…
Although this book is youth-focused, I appreciated the topics covered, and the timeless reminder to throw off materialism, enabling us to live more fully in the joy and simplicity of this present moment.
I received a copy of Living With Less for reviewing purposes, and am happy to say, I would recommend this book to anyone, student or older!
The book launches today, and if you’d like to read it, or wish to pass it on to someone younger you know who might appreciate some insights on simplifying life, you can visit his blog here to check out his book, and enjoy some of his fantastic posts while you’re at it! The Kindle version of Living With Less is available here.
Have fun reading!
I, on the other hand, am ready to hit my closet with great purging force!