Once upon a time there was a very ugly duckling. Only it turned out that it wasn't a duckling after all. It was a young swan. He didn't fit in because he wasn't with his own kind.
Have you ever wondered how that swan felt when he realized where he belonged? When he found his own kind and felt like he was home? He was okay. There was nothing wrong with him. In fact, he was glorious and beautiful, despite what he'd been told.
I found a little bit of that home-ness recently.
For years I would go through and purge my house at least twice a year. Gut the whole thing. And get rid of trailerloads of stuff. Spring and fall. I would send my kids away with my husband for the day and just pull everything out of all the closets, all the bedrooms, and chuck stuff. As my kids got older this got more difficult. They had more stuff and noticed when it disappeared.
Then I went to bed for a year and a half. I'm still not really sure what made the bottom drop out of my world at that time, but it was not pretty. And I got behind on the gutting (along with so many other things).
You should know that my family likes stuff. And my mom has a shopping problem. To the point where she used to show up at my house three or four times a week with stuff she bought for us. Nothing we needed usually, just stuff. It's tough to say no when you know it's given out of love. Or when your kids see it and want it because it's shiny and new.
But I got buried. My house got deeper and deeper in stuff.
And then I got a job and found out I can easily be a workaholic. I was working 50-60 hours a week while parenting five active kids. Basic housework didn't get done; forget about purging.
Then my health plummeted again and I had to quit my job. My kids needed me and I just didn't have enough energy for them and work.
So I came home. And I was happy about that decision. It's where I needed to be.
But I still have all this stuff. And I'm six or seven years behind in the gutting. And I want it gone.
Did I mention that I don't like stuff? I'm not a fan of possessions. I do not want to be the one with the most toys. I see very little value in it and they just add to the weight I feel in life. More stuff to worry about, clean up, take care of. Ugh! Not the life I want.
And then it happened. I found my kind. I found the minimalist movement.
It's kind of a big thing right now. Lots of people are doing it. And that usually would keep me from doing it because I hate going along with the crowd. But I can't turn away. I can't resist the pull. I want less. So much less.
I'm not one to push a cause. I'm not interested because it's good for the planet. I don't care if anyone else chooses to do it. I don't plan to get rid of all my possessions and live out of a box.
And I don't think there is anything wrong with people who like stuff. Materialists. I am just not one of them.
I am a minimalist.
Making my life what I want it to be will take a long time. Even for people who feel well it sometimes takes years to make the change. And because I don't feel well I'll have to take it slowly.
But I'm okay with that because I finally know the way home.