Midlife Simplicity

A journey from more to less.

Month: May 2014

Walkin’ the dog, walkin’ the dog …

un site de rencontre sans inscription charlie

premiere rencontre entre beaux parents Moving out of the big house with a good size yard did change one critical part of my life. When living in the house, Charlie, my 13-year-old mutt, was able to hang out in the yard whenever I left. At night all he had to do was walk over to the door and stand, knowing I’d eventually notice and let him outside to do his business. In the morning, the first thing I’d do when we woke up would be to let him out, fill is food bowl, and often,  I’d climb back into bed as he seemed to like to wake up with the sun no matter how late I’d been out the night before. He could then chill in the back yard, bark at squirrel or even once in a while play games with the magpies that would fly through teasing him.

original site All of that has changed.

site rencontre femmes togolaises Now we have developed new rituals over the last week. Now, the first thing I do in the morning is go for a walk. We’ve developed a nice little downtown loop that offers Charlie many things to sniff, grass to walk on and lots of things to lift his leg upon. I don’t know how dogs do it, but they seem to keep just enough pee handy to piss on about 10 things after they’ve had the serious relieving of themselves.

websites At night we do the same thing. My last activity, whether it is 10 pm or 1:30 am is a lap around the block. It is actually quite enjoyable and, while it is not strenuous exercise, it is more than I got by simply opening a door.

helpful resources We’ve also taken to walking to work every day where he gets to hang out. It’s about .8 of a mile each way through pretty sketchy neighborhood. Charlie is a very friendly and social dog and is met with smiles most of the way. At 13, I think he’s spent plenty of lonely days just hanging out in the backyard listening for the car to come down the driveway. I don’t know how many more years he’s got in him, but I hoping he gets to spend most of that time with people rather than waiting for me to get home.

http://www.cordes-beregnung.de/pinochet/4179 You never know what a dog is thinking, but I think he’s liking the change.

site de rencontre quebec canada charlie (1)

site rencontres activités That’s my dog. And now we must go walk.

28 days later

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It’s official. I have simplified. I have moved.

As the first evening sun began to set, I opened the french doors of the new place and the sounds of Robbie Kapp playing harmonica at the Lighthouse Lounge drifted across 25th street filling my living room with Sunday afternoon blues. It was surprisingly loud, yet welcomed.

I started this blog with a full house and a full garage. (see original post) Now the said house is empty and left behind for a new family to fill up. And the garage, well, 99.9 % of the belongs I had are gone.

Through the process of selling, giving away stuff and throwing things in garbage I’ve squeezed five bedrooms and a two-car garage into a two-bedroom, no-car garage condo.

Four trips to St. Anne’s homeless shelter. Two trips to Deseret Industries charities. Three trips to the waste transfer station. Multiple trips to friend’s houses with items. So on and so forth.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t minimized. I have simplified. I still have a lot of stuff, it seems.

I have sore legs from climbing stairs while moving it all in to prove it. Lesson learned: Don’t pack the ibuprofen too early in the move. I would estimate I have gotten rid of about 65% of my possessions. Including about 75% of my clothes. I have also learned that 35% of a lot of stuff is still quite a bit of boxes and furniture.

I’m still settling, but I have to admit, the transition feels weird. Not bad, just weird. I feel like I’m on vacation.

Houses on the walk to the office.

Houses on the walk to the office.

I am able to walk to the restaurants I used to have to find a parking space to go to. My office is a quick 15 minute walk away. People yell at me from the sidewalk and I’m able to go down a flight of stairs, cross the street and have a beer with them. It’s almost like being in a hotel that has a bar in a lobby. I promise I have had to walk further in Las Vegas to get a beer. Fresh coffee in six doors down. People stream through on their way to bikram yoga above the coffee shop. In the evening people lazily wander down the street, sometime there’s a hoot or holler of someone letting loose.

Evening is the best. The sun transitions to neon lights, couples wander the street and, this week, the cool, evening air flows through the doors and windows. Sometimes people crazily pound on the piano that resides on the sidewalk across the street, other times you hear someone thoughtful playing a tune.

Most of the noise are fine. I can close the windows and all but the loudest of them go away at anytime.

It’s an interesting change and I’m curious to find out how long it takes for it to feel normal. Perhaps once I get rid of all the boxes and all remaining boxed things are in their places … r gone.

Speaking of things. I am going to do my best to keep simplifying. I’m not sure I’m going to reach the point of being a minimalist, but over the next couple of months I want to try to get rid of at least one thing each day. That should be easy over the next few days as I unpack things. I have yet to decide what today’s discarded thing will be, but I have a feeling it will be something, or a lot of things, from the box labeled “bathroom.”

This task will probably a little harder once I feel settled. but right now I’m still pissed from carrying it all up the stairs!

 

How it all began …

Back Camera My Dad – Summer 2010

 

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a several people look ask me, “Is everything ok?” “What’s going on?” So on and so forth. I thought it would be good to share the origins of my current mind-set that have actually been in motion for a bit over three years.

My dad in his new wife decided to spend the summer of 2010 traveling the West in their truck and trailer. During their travels they came to  Ogden, Utah to visit – twice. During each of their stays their stories of the road and their answers to my questions regarding their experience rattling around my mind. It seemed like such a carefree easy manner in which to live your life.

As my dad and I sat at a campground on the shores of the Great Salt Lake on a cool summer evening with a brilliant red sunset bouncing off of the Wasatch Mountains  we chatted about the experiences he had for a large portion of the summer. It seemed to me that he was happier that I ever remembered him being.  It was a lovely night and I couldn’t help but think that in their travels my dad, and his wife, had experienced something as lovely nearly every day.

“Dad,” I began my question, “why do you have to wait until you’re 65 to live in a manner that is obviously so enjoyable?” My dad’s expression changed to an almost childlike giddiness and he replied. “You don’t.”

On my 10 mile drive home I thought about the campground hosts who were living in their at the campground for the summer. Rather than residing in their home located eight miles way, they  chose to live on the shores of the Great Salt Lake next to a freeway instead of the house that many years prior had represent all of their hopes and dreams for the future. I pondered, “How could that be?” It was on that drive I actually began to formulate a plan that would allow me to make a dramatic change in my own lifestyle.

As I began to consider this plan, I really began to dissect my current situation. In order to get a feel for where I’m coming from and to contrast it with where I am going, allow me to spend a few minutes describing where I found myself at the beginning of this journey.

The best way I can describe where I was in my life is to say that I was doing all the things that I thought I should. Granted being a single guy with no children allowed me options that most 44-year-old guys might not get to consider. Yet upon reflection I would have to say my lifestyle wasn’t all that unpredictable. I would have to say I lived like many single guys would. I owned a motorcycle, a Porsche, a truck, jet skis and a 3500 square-foot home. My home had more than enough room for me and my dog Charlie. We had two rooms with nothing in them. Yet somehow I managed to justify the need for six flat-screen television sets throughout the house. Charlie didn’t even watch TV. I was definitely a consumer. I like to buy things and I liked to buy the best. The person who came up with the name Best Buy definitely had me in mind.

Before I get too deep into this I want to be clear that this isn’t the story about someone who woke up one day and looked around and saw all the things they had yet was still unhappy. I’m not even sure that this is a story about happiness. I can honestly say that I enjoyed having things. I enjoyed being able to go into six different rooms and watch TV. I enjoy movies on demand in the theater room. Driving a Porsche is fun. Jet skiing on the lake after work was quite enjoyable. Cooking dinner on a Wolf commercial grade stove is a much better experience than using a hot plate. I’m not here to say that having things or having toys is a bad thing.

What I’m examining is the difference in lifestyle that your choices bring when you decide to let go of things. I’ll never tell one that their possessions are bad, I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing inherently good or bad about anything – especially physical objects. It’s our reaction to those items and how we let them affect us in our daily lives that truly make the difference.

For instance if one chooses to simplify their life chances are they are not going to get rid of all  possessions. They are going to hold on to something. Whether it be  clothing, a book, toothbrush or car, they are keeping something. That is their choice. If someone chose to simplify to the point of living in 1000 ft.² home over a 5000 ft.² home or someone else decides to live in a 500 square-foot home I see nothing inherently better in either choice.

The decision is theirs and how it works in their life. What makes it good or bad is how well it is working for them. Someone could choose one book over another to keep as a possession. One might say the Bible is better than Moby Dick. Another might say they’re both fiction. Yet a third person might say they are just paper with ink bound together because that person can’t read and they need it for toilet paper.

My point is this: I am not doing any of this to make a judgmental statement about the choices that everyone else makes. It is up to them, and you, to make up minds about what is necessary.

I’ll be the first to admit that being single with no children gives me the opportunity to explore this dramatic shift in a way that many people could not. The choices others have made may have created situations that require them to take consideration of many others in a manner that I don’t have to.

My goal is to let you know how my choices affect me and what it might mean to you as you make choices in the future. I feel lucky to be able to add this exercise as one of the life experiences that I can add to my list of experiences. One day I’ll probably look at  friend and say, “Remember that year I got rid of all my stuff? That was pretty crazy huh?”

Yard/Garage/Estate Sale

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God bless my friends. First of all Brooke Wadman who was kind enough to come help me out with my sale! She ran the inside while I worked the garage.

This set up was great because items of most sentimental value probably resided in the house. Her being detached a bit more from the items than I would have been probably served me well. She did get upset with me for selling a chair too cheaply though! I’ve known and worked with Brooke for many, many years and over those years she’s become like family. Having her there to help out was perfect and so much appreciated.

It was amusing through the day as people who would come out the garage to “check” on me to make sure I was “ok” as stuff was leaving my house. I was. I kept reminding them that I was doing this by choice and that every item that left the property was actually making me increasingly happy. It was uplifting to know they cared, but also reassuring that I’m going the right direction.

It was also work. A long, tiring day. I will try to remember this day each and every time I consider buying something. I don’t look forward to repeating the process. I’m thinking once I am in the new pad, I’m going to implement a “new item in, old item out policy.” It will be interesting to see if I can do it. It will make me think about the items I own and the value they bring to my life. The goal will to be to only have items of high value. Judging from what I have left from my yard sale, I’ll have some low value things left that can be traded up.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Melody Pulisipher who actually brought something to the garage sale! The mid-day margaritas were perfect fuel for the last couple of hours. Enjoy your PIMP glass Melody!

If you are one of the folks who came by and bought something, thanks for being part of my journey.

Now begins a week of donating, dumping and moving!

 

 

B double-E double-R-you in?

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Growing up in a very small town in Northern Minnesota from the age of eight until halfway through my 15th year, has proven to be a time I developed a lot of habits.

One of the things that living in a small town on the shore of Lake Superior afforded me was the freedom to roam around at what I think would be considered a very young age now.

For one thing, we walked to school. From 3rd grade through high school. It snowed like a christmas snow globe but was only uphill one way. Walking to school gave us the freedom to wander through the woods, play in the creek,  sneak down alleyways, etc. as long as we made it home in a reasonable amount of time.

Then I was in the door, yelling, “Mom I’m going down to the Johnson’s!” or “Mom, I’m going across the street to play football!”  With a crack of the screen door slamming behind me, I was off – only required to be home for dinner or darkness depending on the time of year.

Many of my friends families had snowmobiles and I have fond memories of hoping on the back and being gone for hours on the snowmobile trails that ran through the forests. It was an ideal place as kid who had a license to roam. With the exception of sub-zero temperatures from Christmas through St. Patrick’s day, it really couldn’t have been a better place to grow up.

I’m not sure if it was the cold temperatures or what that seemed to keep beer cans preserved in nice little piles throughout the Superior National Forest, but they were easy to fin Beer can collecting became a favorite pastimes of me and my friends.

As a kid I wondered, “How the heck did all of these piles get made of tens if not hundreds of beer cans  the forest?”

In my head, I’d imagine a group of people sitting out in the woods drinking beer and building a nice little pile of empties. I mean, that’s what happened at our house when beer drinking was taking place. I’ve since gotten a little smarter and realized these were just little garbage dumps. They where all over the place. We’d be on a little adventure and find a place to cut off the trail that looked promising and search around and inevitably we’d find a pile of cans. The same thing with old abandon structures.

.After going through the rusted cans on top we’d sometimes find something we’d never seen before or a better conditioned can that a previous find. Or perhaps a different design of a Pabst Blue Ribbon,  or a Schimdt with a fish flying across it. There were 100’s of different brands, Hamm’s, Schlitz, Grain Belt, Stroh, Pfeiffer, Fitgers, Andy’s Beer, North Star, Goetz, Old Milwaukee, Schells, Olde English, etc. Just to name a few.  Not only where there many brands to be discovered, but many of them had many redesigns on their packaging. PBR cans have changed a lot over the years. Google it.

Now that I live in Ogden, I often wonder if we found the long-gone Becker’s Best that was made here. I can’t say for sure.

My parents wouldn’t let me keep the old cans in our house, but my friend Steve Johnson lived 3 doors down and his parents were fine with it and in his room will filled one of the wall solid with the finds we’d made. It was quite the collection that I wish I had a picture of, but it looked a lot like this:

Example, not my image.

The whole exercise was as much about the adventure and discovery as it was collecting beer cans and every abandoned shack or old campsite became exciting. My guess is we were probably in 5th or 6th grade.

Somewhere along the line, as an adult, I started bringing full beer cans back from overseas trips and buying shot glasses to commemorate my visits to touristy destinations.  I have about 25 shot glasses that I rarely use, they aren’t on display or anything. They just sit in a cabinet much like the beer cans at the beginning of the post. Still unopened and unused.

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I’ve come to learn that collections of stuff mean very little to me. I appreciate the memories, but as time goes by, the actual item has very little specific value to me.

Sure, it’s great to have a shot glass around when you need it (which is quite rare in my house). Unopened cans of beer that are 20+ years old, that’s certainly questionable – as is my desire to open it and try one now. It’s easy to see how clutter builds up when you act as if your memories are tied to objects. As I’ve mentioned before, they serve as great memory joggers for me, but even that become less effective.  Besides, who need to live in the past.

Maybe I can coax one of my younger friends into trying one of these beers and then after that send them on a beer run for something a bit fresher.

Heavy Lifting

fire

 

I’ve been away from posting for a bit as I’ve been busy getting rid of things! It turns out that lightening up requires a bit of heavy lifting.

Over the past five days I’ve taken boxes of the few things I plan to hang on to into the new pad. Climbing to the third floor with boxes of CDs and photos to be scanned at a later date proved to be a lot of work.

The boxes of clothes and other things hauled to Deseret Industries, a local charity, seemed light as a feather. Not only did the boxes seem light in comparison to the densely packed boxes carried up the stairs, but the feeling after dropping them off lightened my spirits. The feeling of progress, of less stuff, of not missing anything was, to a degree, freeing.  The stuff I’ve thrown in the garbage over the last few weeks has felt the same. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter to me where it goes, it’s just good to be gone.

Right now with all that I have left I am trying to access each item’s potential value to someone else. Would someone pay for it? Quickly? Or is it better to just donate it and let someone else make some money from it? Or is it best just best to be thrown out and not dealt with.

For one group of boxes there was no debating. My past client files all needed to be destroyed in a secure manner. To make this fun, I thought, why not have a bonfire and burn file after file after file. Well take it from me, two-inch thick files of bound paper does not burn as easily as one might imagine. The work to continually stir a blazing hot fire to get all of the pages of paper to separate so they would burn proved to be too much. After burning about eight 35-pound boxes in four hours, I was forced to give up.

The next morning I load the 17 remaining boxes and headed to the shredder. A fine surprise for the pregnant woman at the little shredding office first thing Monday morning. After unloading 658 pounds of paper and writing a nice little check, I headed back to my house a little bit lighter than I’d been a few hours before.

A couple of hours later, someone came for some of my furniture. Ah momentum!

Hopefully the garage sale this weekend will make the rest of the sorting easy. People will buy what is of value to them, the rest will be taken to Deseret Industries or go into the garbage.

I’m glad I’m being forced by the calendar to take action quickly. I think the desire to accumulate is so strong that without a firm date to have to have all of this wrapped up by, I’d lose the momentum that I’ve had over the last couple weeks. It would be easy to straighten up and continue the same path I’ve been on for so many years.  It all started when I bought a house, but I’ll get into that later. Back to sorting.

Anyone need a Wii? Xbox 360? DVD players? Stereo receiver? Softball bat? Bike seats? Book Shelves? Chair? Table? Picture frames ….

living

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