The room Rocky, Indy and I lived in for the last 10 months.
We just finished what I’ve been calling the Lewis family midlife tag sale.
We’ve sold probably close to 3/4′s of our stuff. All our books. All our dvds. Spring form pans. Toys from my father. A dresser. A secretary. Microwaves. All our everyday dishes and glasses and mugs. No one bought our fine china, but we really tried to move it. Computer equipment. A drum set. An electric piano. No one bought the actual piano yet.
It actually might be easier to tell you what we have left: 2 beds (no box springs). One couch. A leather chair. A dining room table. Most of my tools (primarily because I’ve been doing more work on the building). A small closet of cloths for both me and Rocky. Probably the largest collection of Ugly Dolls on the planet. A dresser of cloths for Indy. Some board games. A TV and a Playstation.
You might find it interesting to know that this is for our move from our single room back to our 3 story house.
We’ve been storing this stuff for the last 10 months.
I probably could create a small book on the how, why and what we learned about this.
But there were a couple things I learned about stuff that you might find interesting:
Our relationship with our stuff is complicated. The day before the sale I saw everything set up to sell. My dad’s childhood projector with old movies was sitting there. I instantly wanted to take it off the table. We have developed relationships with our things. They become part of us. They are a connection to our family in some cases. But it’s all an illusion. I hadn’t looked at that projector in a decade or more. I’ll always remember it. I don’t actually need to have it in my possession.
Very few of our things have actual monetary value. Rocky and I were sure that projector and movies must be worth something. Indeed, the movies were worth about $5… Which we got for them. The projector, as it turned out, is worthless. You can’t get a bulb for it anymore. It never sold. Rocky had dolls she always felt were highly valuable. She always took great care of them. They too are almost worthless and also didn’t sell. 3/4′s of 3 people’s possessions went for $1000. It took us years and tens of thousands of dollars to collect it all.
Our possessions are a chain. The last 10 months of living in a single room have probably been the most freeing time of my life. Keeping track of things. Housing things. Protecting things because you think others might want to steal them (the biggest stressful fantasy of all). Wondering how you are going to add new things to the pile. Utterly exhausting. I’m already pondering how I can downsize again. A laptop, tablet, phone, camera, bed, small table and a chair. That’s my goal.
There are other things I’ve learned about neighborhoods, neighbors, house sizes. Why I think living in a large space is actually a less comfortable, lower quality of life. Maybe someday I’ll get into those things as well.
I will tell you this: we didn’t do this for some kind of test or experiment. The fact that I learned anything was probably the most surprising part of all. We mostly did it because someone wanted to rent our house as their house got renovated. We wanted the money to travel more. Plus I think we were looking for a little change.
That “learning” surprise made me learn the biggest lesson of all. We are all living unquestioned lives. We are all probably being tricked by the system to keep us in line. A society of people who question the status quo is the biggest danger to the business and government infrastructure.
The way we live and the things we want are likely mostly a fabricated illusion.
I’m now interested in continuing to push my assumed beliefs of living. Ways I want to live next:
In a camper.
On a boat.
On an island.
By then I’ll probably have some other theories as where to go next.
If you want any advice, it would be this: test assumptions in your life. What would happen if you only had one car, one person working in your family, going bankrupt to clean your debt.
Even a very small change could have really surprising consequences.
If you try something new I’d love to know what you try.
We had a really great discussion on irrational fear in our family today. Indy is feeling a little overwhelmed by being left alone for any amount of time.
Rocky came up with a really great plan: the conquer your fears box. Every time he conquers a fear, like staying by himself in the apartment alone for 2 minutes, he’ll get a surprise from the box. She just re purposed the advent box.
I think maybe I’ll make my own list of fears to conquer and get my own conquer your fears box.
The absolute hardest part of my work life is to stay on task.
Someone once told me that she felt the majority of us were somewhere on the attention deficit spectrum. Ever since that conversation I’ve been watching my actions. Not only am I on that spectrum I probably am a classic case.
I am so easily excited, and therefore distracted, by many things.
The question is: What’s the goal?
The answer to that question is complicated. I am, as you can imagine, interested in achieving many things.
Success in business (which to me means cashing out or acquiring to become a full service 21st Century agency)
Those goals aren’t mutually exclusive.
As a marketing consultant I see small business owners get easily distracted. That distraction causes them to lose momentum. They become their own worst enemy.