Moving + Minimalism

Part 4: Reevaluate the people and activities in your life

This post is part of a series on 8 ways moving helps the pursuit of a simple life. Click here to learn more.

I haven’t posted this according to the schedule I set for myself, and frankly, it’s because I needed to do some personal work on today’s topic, which boils down to deciding what immaterial things are important to you. And in my delight at moving, I kind of forgot to be considerate to one of the most important people in my life: my husband.

See, he’s moving to my hometown, which puts him 2,000 miles from his hometown. It’s the first time ever that he won’t be less than a day’s drive from home. He’s also much more nervous than I am about things ‘working out’ when we get there. And most importantly, although we agreed to sell off a lot of furniture, I don’t think he anticipated how hard that would be on him. He worked very hard to buy the furniture in our living and dining room (we already had the bedroom set) and is proud of his achievement—and really bummed that we’re going to lose money on it.

We had a small argument about the furniture the other night when people started showing interest in our bedframe, which I had listed too cheaply. After he went to bed, I stayed up to do some thinking and talk to a friend of mine, who happens to have moved recently to her fiance’s hometown—in Hawaii, a six-hour flight from her home. And I realized that it’s true: I have been doggedly focused on the minimalist challenge and paring down and less focused on how that affects my fella.

I thought I was helping my husband, who always worries about money, because it is cheaper to re-buy furniture than to move it. But I understand now that even if I’m right about that, selling his furniture is stripping another layer of stability and familiarity from his life, which is about to change dramatically. And I realized that I need to focus less on my fun and more on his comfort.

The only simple life worth living is one that you share with the people you love.

So we’re compromising: I’m letting go of my arguments against dragging a trailer, and that means we may get to keep a couple of pieces of furniture, including the bedframe (broken down). Meanwhile, I’m happy to see our second dresser and our washer and dryer go out the door today.

Anyway, on to what I had planned for the day!

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It’s a fact of life that when you move, you lose touch with people. I’m sure that on our high school graduation day, I swore to remain friends with lots of my classmates, and six years later I communicate regularly with maybe two or three. People move elsewhere, grow up at different speeds, and develop independent interests and friends that their old group isn’t a part of. Maybe it’s a little sad, but it happens.

Frankly, sometimes it’s a good thing to get some distance and think critically about who is in your life. Moving is a great chance to be honest with yourself and acknowledge which relationships are built to last—and if you even want them to last. Distance gives you a great excuse to excise any toxic people from the simple, serene life you’re trying to cultivate. Having fewer, carefully chosen friends isn’t a bad thing, and losing touch with people when you move isn’t necessarily bad either. Instead, think of it like Marie Kondo would. Acknowledge the role each person has had in your life; thank them (mentally) for teaching you whatever they taught you, whether it’s “Thank you for helping me conquer a half-marathon” or “Thank you for teaching me that I’m not a nice person when I’m around someone who likes to gossip.” Then, them having served a purpose in your life, let them go.

While you’re at it, take stock of your activities, too. If you’re like me, looking forward to your destination means making grand plans for all the things you’re going to do when you get there. I want to do more hiking! Try rowing and Krav Maga! Join a badminton club! Attend open mics! Eat all the pho! And, in the background of my excitement, I can hear my rational self saying, “Sloooooow your roll.”

It’s fun to try new activities, but in order to do that, you need to prioritize. Evaluate the activities you’re already doing. Maybe you currently do Pilates, whittle tiny flutes, have a weekly lunch date, visit a boxing gym, take a Spanish class, play the saxophone, and host a weekly book club in between all your kids’ extracurriculars. That’s a lot!

In the pursuit of a simple life, we need to ensure that doing things we like isn’t standing in the way of becoming our best selves. Too much of any good thing becomes exhausting, and if you’re also planning on trying out the activities du jour in your new home, it would be a good idea to determine which of your current activities are necessary for you to have a full, rewarding life—and which you could probably drop.

Remember that the only part of life we can never get back is time. Honor yourself by making time for yourself. Choose to stop making being busy something to be proud of, and you’ll enjoy your curated relationships and activities—and the relaxing time between sthem—even more than you do now.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting some Links I’m Loving, but this series will resume on Sunday. Happy weekend!

 

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