In 2012, as the holiday season was approaching, I gave myself a huge gift… I let go of something I once loved, yet was now weighing me down.
I woke up and broke free of the constraints of an illusion I had allowed myself to believe in. I’ve become more and more free since.
Ten years earlier, in 2002, I bought a home… all on my own… and I was sooooo proud of myself. I did lots of improvement projects myself and it underwent a great deal of transformation. It was my home and I loved it!
When the housing market took a plunge, of course, the value dropped drastically. I still had projects I wanted to do, except I wondered if it was worth putting any more money into the house. Making payments on a loan that was over double the value of the house became a struggle and the projects I was once excited about, seemed endless and pointless, not worth the effort or money.
Instead of loving my home, it began to feel like an anchor, weighing me down and keeping me stuck. I couldn’t sell it for a profit… nor even enough to pay off the loan. It was draining me in every way.
Like many people, I looked into short selling it. I hadn’t considered that as a real option before because it didn’t feel right to me. It felt like I was cheating in some way, as well as admitting defeat and giving up something I had worked so hard for.
I finally decided to at least look into options and told my real estate agent friend I wanted to talk to her. Three days later I had an offer! It was a done deal (aside from logistics that needed to be handled).
Once that decision was made, I felt a huge burden lifted and my thinking shifted even more. It occurred to me the typical idea of the “American Dream” is a huge sham. That’s all about consumerism and perpetual debt. I see “owning” a home (that is really bank owned) as an illusion that had kept me trapped.
It was this change in my thinking that was the huge gift. I had been holding onto something that was weighing me down because of some illusion that home ownership was the American dream. When I realized MY American dream can be anything I choose, I instantly felt free and light. MY American dream is to live a fuller life with less “stuff”.
Now, I have no regrets about buying the house in the first place… How else would my eyes have opened the way they are now? It served it’s purpose in my life at the time and I loved it while it lasted. Now it’s time for a new way of living. Letting that “anchor” go felt so freeing. I’m no longer stuck in one place. I can go anywhere and do anything.
I didn’t know exactly where I was going. I DID know I was ready to have a lot less “stuff”!!! I had lived in this house for 10 years. It was time for a HUGE purge.
As I sorted through the items I had accumulated over the past decade, I wondered about the decisions I had made. I found myself asking over and over, “Why do I have this?” and “Why did I even buy this?”
I’m not into throwing usable items out, so I educated myself on ebay and started listing items. I started out slow to make sure I knew what I was doing. I listed larger items on craigslist and set aside less valuable pieces for a garage sale. I ended up having 3 huge garage sales. Within 2-3 months, I pared my belongings down to a fraction of what I started with. That was even more freeing than deciding to sell the house!
I came to realize material wealth is not the path to freedom at all. The beautiful truth is that once you have what you truly need for basic survival and comfort, any material items beyond this only begin to weigh you down.
How can you truly have freedom with so many items to take care of?
That was 3 years ago. I moved from my house, with my bf, into a 2 bedroom condo with a 2 car garage… still quite a bit of space and still quite a bit of stuff. I went more minimal than I had been, although I had a long way to go. It really is a process.