I had started to clean our home while back in the States and really asking myself if we needed "stuff". We tend to go about our lives and mount "things" just because. At first it may be because it is cool, or we want it, or we THINK we need it. But do we really? Let's be real here. How many of us have a wardrobe packed with clothes that we barely use? It may that one pair of jeans we REALLY love, that fit us about 10 years ago, but no longer, yet we are hoping it will fit us again... one day... but will that one day ever come back? How about donating it to someone who may actually need it?
All this started as I wanted a new beginning. After battling cancer, there was much deep thinking, inner searching, understanding what had been my life, how much I had changed without even realizing. I thought I was doing the right things, always was a health nut, tried to be very active, and so on. But had forgotten one very important ingredient. Myself.
See? We tend to think that taking care of ourselves has to do with food and physical activity, but our primary foods are so many more, such as our spirituality, our career, our relationships.
I realized my life was cluttered. I had in a way lost myself. I was a wife, a mom, a career woman, but the true inner Sofia was no longer. Sometimes you need a little extra help to start the process. Once my treatments were just about done, I got very much involved with YSC Palmetto Pals, a non-profit organization that had given me a great deal of moral support throughout the journey. The idea of volunteering really got me thinking even more about myself and how to help my innerself.
I proceeded to enroll myself in a certificate I was eyeing for a while (isn't it funny, how deep down we ALL are attracted to things that can help us, but often do not follow our instincts due to life going on?) through IIN. This is a certificate to become a Holistic Health Coach. At the time, I was doing it (much as I did the Plant-Based Nutrition one from eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies).
As I was going through the Certificate, I realized how much I had let myself go, drowned myself in life. We all do, and do not even realize. Mostly only do when something drastic or dramatic happens and realize life is too short and one needs to re-focus on what is really important for one's self.
As I was going through the certificate, I also came across this amazing site, called becoming minimalist. How can we declutter our mind, if everything around us is cluttered? Do we really need 4 pair of jeans? Do we really need 10 cutting knifes, 5 types of cutting boards, 4 clocks, a TV in each room, a car large enough for 7, though we are a family of 4? Truth be told, we are all guilty of usch and none of us need so much.
Our first step was to move from a large home with pool to a small apartment walking distance from our older daughter's school, right by most of her teen friends and 5 minutes from our younger daughter's school. Also instead of over a morning hour or so in the car, I was able to cut it to 20 minutes! BONUS.
Instead of spending time cleaning a pool or cutting the grass, we enjoyed a community pool AND even a hot tub, plus a workout place. ANOTHER BONUS.
Instead of cleaning 2 stories, it was only a flat. So as we moved, a lot was sold, recycled and donated. I believe I went at least 7 times to donation centers with the car filled with house goods, stuffed animals, toys and clothes.
We started spending much more time together, as there were no "corners" to hide in. We could afford a vacation in Disneyworld. Something we kept on promising our older daughter for years. We went out much more, to art galleries, to shows, to fairs, etc.
As we decluttered our closets, we helped lots of local families in need. BONUS. We also realized how many clothes we had actually never or rarely wore. My teen daughter's friends enjoyed quite a few nice clothes...
Then came the tough decision of moving to Portugal. No way we were to bring it all. We would spend more money in shipping things, than simply getting them here. So the decision was to fill the boxes with memories, things money cannot buy. As afterall, isn't that what life is really about?
Is it an easy step? Not at all. Can actually become amazingly overwhelming and scary. Often words such as "what if I need it one day?" creeps into our mind. But if we have not for a while, do we REALLY need it? If one day we actually do need it, can we not ask a friend or rent it, or something?
Now in our new and small space in Portugal and still trying to organize it to meet our needs, I realize, though I LOVE cooking, we really can do with so much less, we really can only have 3 knifes...
Soon, I will be posting various entries about what we really need, especially in the kitchen, so to be efficient, without the need of extra "stuff".