Bucket Lists

I think I have gone minimalist on my bucket list as well. 

Or maybe my divorce has just made me depressed and my motivation and ambition is low.  

My bucket list had all sorts of things on it.  In the health and fitness, I wanted to weigh a certain weight, my hair a certain length; I wanted to do a certain amount of push ups, pull ups, handstand push ups, long distance, ultra runs, hike certain trails, hike certain peaks, etc. etc.

My bucket list had numerous places of travel.  Most of my bucket list was where I was going to travel and the places I was going to see.  All sorts of places in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, all over the US….stuff like that.  In fact, many of my fitness goals were incorporated into my travel goals.  

My bucket list also had some professional goals in it and a couple financial goals as well.

I started to write my previous bucket list in this post, but the list is so long and I didn’t want to type it all.  I was getting lazy and annoyed and the idea of putting it all down in this post.  

For many people, minimalism is for them because it allows them to focus less on the mundane aspects of living or getting caught of in the stuff and living on autopilot and it is more about bucket lists….doing what you really want to do. 

For me…minimalism is pretty multi faceted.  Yes, it is about focusing more on the parts of life I want, and weeding out the parts of life that don’t work for me, but I am starting to think that we can turn minimalism and bucket lists into yet another ball and chain that we are trying to break free from.  

The expectation of accomplishing a bucket list, of accomplishing and completely clutter free house, of accomplishing the task of weeding down to only owning X number of items or whatever aspect of minimalism you embrace, can be just as rut-producing or life- draining as all the stuff we have or constant hours we work to pay for all this stuff.

For me, looking at my bucket list was overwhelming.  Maybe that is where I am at right now.  Starting over and no money and no time and two young children makes my bucket list look daunting.  In many ways, I am now looking at a lot of things in my life through a new lens and have come to feel that so many things that were important…is really no longer important.  

For most of us, our bucket lists have probably changed…..add something here, take something off here…not as important and bucket lists change obviously, as you accomplish your goals.  

I plan on revamping my bucket list.  Minimalizing it.  The purpose behind that is to take some of the pressure off me to get so many things done or accomplish all these tasks and the work that it takes to accomplish all these tasks. That somehow by attaining certain fitness levels or looking a certain way or having traveled to numerous places will make me happier so I can show people how well traveled I am or how fit I am or how well rounded I am, so how happy I am.  Perhaps by minimizing my bucket list, I can learn to better enjoy the moment I am in…find some sense of peace or joy in what I am currently doing.  Make my home, my kids, my place in the world, a place I want to be….savor the moments.  Live in the moment.  Live in the now. 

 

Look at me! Pay attention to me!

I was married for 17 years.  It was during this time that I started becoming interested in minimalism.  It was at this time that I started giving stuff away.  I would give away dishes.  I would give away curtains.  Pillows.  Throws.  Christmas decorations.  Rugs.  Dining room sets.  I even gave away my mom and dad’s couches.  

I threw away clothes and shoes and belts and purses.  I tossed all my high school dance pictures.  I chucked all my yearbooks.  In childhood and throughout those years, I often would write in a journal.  Those are gone too.  I tore them up and dumped them into the garbage.  In fact even today…I will write in my journal…get all my thoughts out.  Then….a few days later, I will tear those pages out and get rid of them.

It is very possible that this blog will cease to exist in about 3 months.  

Why?

Whenever I look back on what I wrote…I am always embarrassed.  I am embarrassed that I cared about this thing or fretted over that thing.  I am embarrassed to have felt this way or that way…to have been excited about something or the other.   I am embarrassed and ashamed of me. 

So, I toss things that are…..part of….created by…..purchased by…..written by….me. 

I don’t have yearbooks because I am a minimalist.  I am a minimalist because I get rid of things because I am ashamed.  

So during my 17 years of marriage.  I changed my rooms around weekly.  I tossed out things and gave things away.  

My husband, on the other hand, would buy things.  He accumulated stuff.  Not hoarding, not even clutter, but stuff that took all his time to maintain and care for them.

A boat

A sailboat

4 wheelers

Dirt bike

Dirt bikes for the kids

Snowmobile

A big yard for his riding mower…a riding mower that had snow blowing attachments.  A riding mower/snowblower that he loved to use to help all 10 houses on our street with their grass/driveways each weekend. 

A big garden with lots of fresh vegetables that he was constantly weeding

Tools (he bought some new tool almost every week) to maintain all the aforementioned stuf and putter around our big yard and garden and the yards and gardens of our neighbors. 

All this time, I would ask my husband to stop buying stuff.  I would ask him to stop fixing stuff.  I would ask him to stop puttering.  I would ask him to come inside and sit down and talk to me.  Just visit.  Current events, debate, people, plan vacations…anything.  Talk about anything.  

But he was always too busy with his stuff.

So…I started getting rid of stuff. 

Mind you…I never got rid of his stuff.  It was his…it belonged to him.

I got rid of “my” stuff.  

I started changing rooms around every week.  Always trying to make the room look better.  Different.  Because it wasn’t right.  Then I started taking away accessories.  Who needs a vase?  Or moss balls in a bowl?  Just more stuff to dust.  Then I started taking away lamps.  There was an overhead light and a window.  That was enough light.  Then rugs.  There was a floor underneath that I had to keep clean too.

I started getting rid of stuff.  All this stuff until all the rooms of my house had just the bare basics.  A bed to sleep on in the bedroom and maybe an end table.

A couch and chair in the living room

A dining table.

I kept getting rid of stuff.

Do you know why I kept getting rid of stuff? 

Because if everything was gone, the only thing left in the room would be me.  

He would have to notice me then, wouldn’t he?

He would have to pay attention to me then. 

If there is no chair, at least he would ask me where he was going to sit. 

If there is nothing in the room….then he would look at me.  He would pay attention to me. 

So am I truly a minimalist?  Did I find the minimalist lifestyle because it is the lifestyle that spoke most to my soul?

Probably not.  It is the lifestyle that found me…it is probably the only way I feel I can exist…be seen….if there is absolutely nothing else around me.

 

Maybe Minimalism Isn’t Such a Good Idea….???

So….I am buying a house.

Not a house, a townhouse. 

It has 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths.  Get that!!  Not 2 baths, but 1.5.   That means no master bath.  Myself and my two kids will share a bathroom and the half bath is downstairs.  That is going to be the poop bathroom.

The townhouse is 1330 square feet.  I had read somewhere that you could figure 400 square feet per person and then 200 square feet per pet.  Something like that.

So with me and the two munchkins plus pooch….we are following those “rules”.

Want to see some pictures?

End unit.  Yes it is.  I have a “side yard” that I don’t care for and maintain.  However….no garage.   But what did I use a garage for?  Well, to keep my car in and out of the elements.  I do have a carport that will cover my car so it will be protected from snow and sun.  A garage never really protects cars from the temperatures so…..a carport should be sufficient.  

What else did I use a garage for.  Oh that is right!  To keep my garden tools and lawnmower in there.  

Well…no need for that.  No yard.  Well…kind of have a “side yard” but the HOA takes care of that.  

Cool.  I do need a garage for the bikes and scooters and balls and rollerblades and….and….and….

Hmm, well the town house has a little enclosed patio with shed!

The shed can hold the toys and balls and rollerblades and sleds and tubes, etc.  

But what about bikes?  

It turns out, I need a garage unless I can compromise on bikes. 

Here is the compromise:

Cover that with a tarp and put it next to the shed.  Problem solved.  

No need for a garage!

But what about a backyard?  

Did I mention that my townhouse has a park behind my patio?

I don’t have to maintain it.  The neighborhood is full of kids for my kids, we are a couple blocks from a grocery store and the movies.  We are also a couple blocks from other parks and the middle school.  

So far, so good.  The best part is that my mortgage and insurance is $380 for a unit in a nice neighborhood built in 2003.  (I used the equity from the house from my divorce for a nice down payment)  I really minimalized my potential expenditures.  

I’m very excited.  

I hope my kids will like it.  They lived in a 3500 square feet house with their mom and dad together.  It had a couple family rooms, a huge TV and air hockey table.  It had an office and a large kitchen.  It had a master bath attached to the master bedroom…..

I hope they can be happy in this smaller home…..without a garage.  Without their own bathroom.  Without a full time dad.  With just a mom.

We have minimalized our family in some ways, I guess.  

Not what I wanted.  Not what minimalism is about.  This isn’t how I wanted my life to be.  This isn’t what I wanted my kids life to be.  The stuff….that is easy.  Or is it? If you minimalize the stuff, do you minimalize all the memories?   The family….we have minimalized that…that is not so easy.  Not so good….

Maybe minimalism isn’t such a good idea….???

Unless we can find a way to minimalize my pain.

 

 

 

Hard parts and easy parts….

It has been a few days since I last posted….

A lot has happened……

A LOT!

I found a townhouse for me and the two munchkins and pooch.  Made an offer, made a counter offer, and went under contract.  I will do a post on that, I think.

I also took a small road trip by myself….minimalist style….I think.

I also finished and turned in my application for nursing school.

But the thing I have done the past three days that is most relevant to minimalism is……

Drum roll please

 

 

My ex and I have been squabbling and haggling over the division of assets.

What, from the marital home, will I take with me and what will he keep?

I have a 1300 square foot townhouse I am purchasing for 3 people and a dog.

It is empty and I will be filling it up.

Reverse minimalism….amirite???

So, the question is………….what do I choose to fill my home with?  What do I need?  What do I want?  What will I use?  What won’t I use?

Isn’t this a minimalist’s dream come true?!?

Isn’t this the best way to jumpstart your minimalist beginnings?  Instead of clearing out and junking and decluttering, I have an empty canvas with which to work.

So, let’s get to work:

So the Tornado (this is what I call my ex….do you want to guess why?) and I had 4 couches in our 3500 square foot home.  For the family room, the living room, and the office.

I get two.  But do I need two?

We have two beds.  The king in our bedroom and the queen in the guest room.

I opted for the queen….but do I need a bed?

I will take the dining set while he keeps the office shelving and desk units

But….will the dining table even fit in the eating space of my condo?  Can I make the dining space serve multiple functions?

Then there is the issue of the piano.

Will that fit?  Do I want it?  Should I bring it?  My munchkins hate their piano lessons and I haven’t played in ages.  Do I sell?  Or do I persist in lessons and try and reengage in playing myself?

WWTMD?  (What would The Minimalists Do?)

This is what I have spent the past three days doing…haggling and arguing and negotiating and whining and crying and bickering about stuff and why I should have that and why he should have this.  Each conversation about assets becomes a conversation on who’s fault the destruction of our marriage it is.  Who is to blame?  Who was the worst spouse?  Who deserves to suffer the most…rot in hell for the pain the other has caused.

Not only that, everyone I know and speak with has an opinion on what I should get….

“Listen honey, you need to be sure you get all your Christmas decorations.  That new wife of his will have her own….”

“If I were you, I would take him for all he has got!  Get the boat!  Get the 4-wheelers.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you are moving into a condo, but don’t let him get away with what he did to you!”

“Don’t get even; get everything!”

 

I have come to this conclusion:  it is so much easier to be in your home, look at all your stuff and determine what you use and don’t use and get rid accordingly.   Sitting eyeball high in stuff that you are going to clean out is so much more appealing than being stuffed to the gills with painful, emotional drama that you have to deal with and process.

To start your life over after nearly 2 years of intense and mind-cluttering drama filled with pain, betrayal, crying, agony, anxiety, fights, therapy, fear, uncertainty, sadness….every minute consumed with putting out the emotional fires all around you…your ex, your kids, your parents, your family and friends, yourself!! as everyone processes the cheating, the separation, the divorce.

I am wondering if it isn’t just easier to bring all the my stuff….my half of the stuff….. into my new home.  Nevermind what I will use or not use or worrying about whether this is minimalist or not, whether it will fit or not, whether we will use it or not….

I am thinking the first priority is to minimalize the drama, the anxiety, the fires, the pain.  It is time to emotionally minimalize.   It is time to be happy again.  It is time to be free and at peace.

Then..I can do the easy part, getting rid of/selling  the stuff I don’t need or use, decluttering, minimalizing….