It's easy to forget how lucky we are especially when we're under stress. Overall our minimal move was much harder and more stressful than we expected. Prior to our move we took a general inventory of our household items and counted up 300 things. But we didn't consider volume. Our bulk food and water containers took up a lot more space than we expected. In a lot of ways, I feel like my life is filled with plastic bottles and that doesn't make me happy. Thanks to No Impact Man, I've been purchasing less plastic but it's still a part of my life. Seeing so much plastic and extra stuff in the house made me feel uncomfortable and a failure in my goal of minimalism and small living. As a I pointed out earlier this week, being uncomfortable leads to growth and happiness.
Lessons in Gratitude
I learned a number of lessons as a result of our minimal move. One of the biggest lessons was on the importance of showing gratitude to your loved ones and community. Life is never boring and I'm grateful to be living a simple, happy life. I'm able to focus on the big picture of accomplishing good work, being a supportive partner, and community member.
Below are a few things I'm grateful to have in my life. In addition, I've included a few micro-actions for you to work on this weekend. The secret to living a simple and happy life is about gratitude.
1. I'm grateful to be part of an amazing online community.
RowdyReaders - thank you for your kind messages, comments, and tweets during our minimal move. They helped me get through the stress and remember what's important in life.
Micro-action: Do you have an online tribe? If so, say "thank you" to a person who changed your perspective.
2. I'm grateful to have so many amazing family members and close friends.
Without the help of family and friends this move would have been extremely difficult. My parents moved us up in their monster truck and my in-laws loaned us an extra car. I didn't want to drive an extra car up, but it turned out 2 cats and 4 people would not fit into the truck cab.
Having so much stuff made me cranky, but moving with family helped. My mom and dad were extremely understanding and my mom helped us pack up a lot of our household items.
Micro-action: Write your parents a letter and tell them how much you appreciate them.
3. I'm grateful for Logan, my best friend and partner.
Predicting the what the futures holds is impossible. When Logan told me a few weeks ago that he'd be moving me up to Portland and then returning temporarily to California to finish his work, I was sad and angry. Why? Because it wasn't part of the well crafted plan I'd laid out in my mind.
I'm sad that Logan isn't in Portland. But I think this is a good opportunity for both of us to grow and focus on the good things in life. I'm incredibly lucky to have a life partner. Rather than pouting that he isn't with me I've been focusing on amazing projects and meeting new friends in the city of bikes. Life is good and there are so many things to be incredibly thankful for.
Micro-action: Do something special for a person you're close to. Make them a simple meal, take a walk in the park and don't forget to tell that person how much you love and appreciate them.
4. I'm grateful to have a safe, beautiful apartment to call home.
Since the beginning of the recession many cities have seen a substantial increase in homelessness. There is a shortage of shelter beds for single adults and the cold weather has exacerbated this problem.
I'm so grateful and privileged to have a beautiful little apartment to call home.
Micro-action: Have you considered donating money or time to your local homeless shelter?