Despite the frightening predictions by newscasters and financial experts, I think we live in a little sheltered world here in Central Alberta. Houses seem to be growing larger, interior finishes are becoming more extravagant and amenities and features of homes are increasingly grandiose.
I have been thinking a lot lately about what we need to live, what are the absolute must haves and what sort of things are extra? I have found that my view on what is ‘essential’ has changed quite a bit over the past few years. It used to mean that you worked harder to achieve the bigger, better house. Why? My family size never grew. I stayed with one child. It seemed that only the junk I accumulated grew and when I truly purged my life of things I didn’t need I found that those needs fit into a very small space.
What has expanded is my vision, no longer being trapped by a bunch of stuff and a large house and yard I am free to enjoy so much more of life including travel, fine dining and cultural events. My disposable income is more available for charitable work and I find I’m not constantly buying trinkets or products for my home. The change terrified me at first but now I’m liberated and it’s just stuff.
Now, I love beauty and opulence as much as the next girl and I’m not claiming that I’m now living in a hut off the grid in the wild. I am, however, enjoying a much simpler and maintenance free existence. I am not constantly nurturing a park like yard yet still find the same joy and leisure on my smaller deck in my maintenance free yard. Slaving all day to weed flowerbeds so you could then enjoy your yard is no longer part of my weekend.
There is a lot to be said for simplicity. I no longer worry about having ‘enough’ or ‘keeping up’, in truth I find myself looking for ways to pare down even more. How do I continue to streamline my life so it is at its most efficient? When the mood strikes can I drop everything and go on a quick weekend getaway without having to arrange a hundred things? Am I being the most charitable with my time and talents and am I happier than when I lived in a higher maintenance home? Absolutely – yes! I have experienced more life and leisure than I had ever thought possible.
This may not be your season. You may have small children or pets or that abovementioned giant yard to take care of and can’t imagine a life unhindered. Practice the art of purging now, becoming detached from your things so that when it comes time you will have no problem letting go of your stuff. Don’t worry about keeping up or impressing anyone, live simply and honestly and take very good care of your possessions. Buy the very best quality you can afford and choose locally manufactured, well-crafted items that will last through more than one generation.
Even you aren’t able to employ simplicity you may be able to practice it in theory and discover whether it is a style you wish to pursue in the years to come.
Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.