The New Retirement Lifestyle: Minimalizing

Do you really need that big house in the suburbs? If you expect visits from multiple children and grandchildren, for the few times they visit, wouldn’t it be more practical if they all stayed in a nearby hotel? Maybe a small apartment in a city where you can walk to the bank, the post office, cafes, restaurants, theaters and shops provides a better lifestyle.

How much of that stuff you have accumulated do you really need or want? How often do you use or even see it? Consider changes that reduce stress and expense, making more
time and money to follow your passion and enjoy life. There is no reason to live the same way you have been living for the past 40 years. You have to make your own decision, but make sure it is your decision and not just society or your past telling you what to do.

What about mementos, stuff that has sentimental value because it reminds you of a loved one or pleasant memories of my past? Much of it, if not monetarily valuable, is irreplaceable. Right? Your little league baseball glove, your Barbie Dolls, doilies your mother crocheted, your soccer trophy, your family photo albums. We can’t get rid of that stuff. I saw those things as the memories of life, but are they? How often do I look at that

Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus make an appealing argument by asking these questions? Do you need to keep your mother’s doily to remember her? Is it her old stuff that makes you remember her? Do you need the soccer trophy to remember that championship game? The answers are, “No.” Our memories are not material things. They are in our minds, and we don’t need stuff to remind us. Despite these persuasive points, I have not thrown away all of my mementos. I have thrown away some, but my mother’s crocheted bedspread that she worked on for 2 years when I was little? I just can’t throw or give that away! Those precious family photos: I am going to have those professionally scanned and copied to a disk that I can view on a computer––as soon as I get around to it.

I kept my Little League glove, convincing myself that I would use it for catching foul balls when I attend a game, but I continually consider how much stuff I really need to keep. How much clutter can each of us remove to simplify our lives and leave more time for living?

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  1. 1st wife of someone: Your comment is a good example of judging someone without knowing the facts. First, I paid alimony to both my second and third wives and had not developed my minimalizing lifestyle until well afterwards. (My first wife earned more than I did at the time and had no need for alimony). It is not that I want nothing. The concept is minimalizing, not nothing. It has been 18 years since my divorce from my third wife, and I recognized that I had a problem with relationships. My memoir, “Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages” is about my journey to understand my role in the failure of those marriages. In writing that memoir I learned a lot about my failures in those relationships. I hope those who have read it have been helped by my mistakes. All of us humans have faults and frailties, including you, 1st wife of someone, but since I don’t know you, I certainly would not comment on what they are.

  2. Thank you for writing this, I am in the process of downsizing my life and needed some extra inspiration to load up stuff I have kept for years and so was looking for a story of someone else, and yours came up. I also used to live in Paso Robles, but ended up moving to Arkansas for the last 10 years with a big house I hardly ever see because I am working most of the time, with retirement a few years away I realized I had worked for nothing important instead gave up the last 17 years of my life for stuff which I never really needed. But it is hard to let go at times. So I appreciate your story and will continue to load stuff up and give away…Salvation Army here has been loving me of late LOL!!!! When I have time I will have to look up your book and read it I always love stories of people who look inside themselves…not an easy task for any of us myself included. Thanks again for sharing. Have a great day.

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