The best life is a simple life.

That is my opinion. Less truly is more for me. I have the least amount of stuff that I have ever had, and I will say, I am perfectly content. I want for nothing. Yes, everything I own is in a 10 x 10 storage unit and I was quite shocked that all of it fit there. It is literally stacked to the roof! Stuff was put in stuff, over stuff and stuffed in every crack and cranny! It has been said that people who put ALL of their belongings in storage usually never come back to get them. Time will tell. And, did you know that there are more self storage facilities in the United States than there are McDonald’s? We all have too much stuff!

A few years ago a long-time client of mine came in my store. As we stood talking at the counter, she kept turning to look out into the parking lot. After the fourth or fifth time she did this I asked if everything were OK. She said, “I bought a new Lexus convertible a couple of weeks ago and I’m afraid someone is going to do something to it.” I continued to look at her as she looked out to the place where she parked this precious piece of plastic, and asked her if this vehicle was worth all of the apparent stress it was putting on her. She looked at me quizzically and with no clue as to what I was talking about.

I find that we tend to put more effort and money into material things, when the simple, free things get the least attention. By this, I mean our family and friends. We are constantly striving to have bigger and better and for what? What are we trying to prove and to whom are we trying to prove this to? I have said this before, enjoy the LITTLE things now, in the end you will realize they were the BIG things.

Here are a few ideas to help simplify your life:

• Get rid of the clutter. This won’t be easy, so I will suggest you start in your closet. If you haven’t worn it this year, get rid of it. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Don’t sit there and think, “I will keep this for when I lose some weight.” It ain’t happening! When you lose the weight, you will want something different, so get rid of it.

• Slow down! I can’t say this enough, slow everything down. I use to ALWAYS be in a hurry, often doing two things at a time. I am more productive now that I have slowed down, and I am doing that one thing well.

• Make today important. You are given this moment, and that is it. I would not stop planning for tomorrow, but enjoy today. Make the most of what you have.

• Appreciate what you have. You might not have everything you want, and most of us don’t but, you do have everything you need. Learn to appreciate it. The “Jones’s” will never be satisfied. You know that temporary “happiness” you get when you buy something? It’s temporary. Now, you have something that you don’t need but, you wanted. This is something that was hard for me to learn. I wanted a lot but, I didn’t need it, and I will have to admit, I no longer have the majority of the stuff. Another huge waste of my money.

• Learn to say NO! I use to be the volunteer queen at church. I was spending anywhere from 24 – 28 hours a month volunteering my time and services. It was stressing me out because I was constantly on the go, and it got to the point where I was being asked to do everything. I continued to say yes because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. After two or three years of that, I’m back to doing one thing, and I enjoy it much better. If I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna. Do not be afraid to say no.

• Learn to enjoy the little things. Some of the little things for me that make me smile are, the sound of a distant train, a baby’s laugh, holding a child’s hand, smelling an apple pie in the oven, laughing until tears are running down my face, hearing my boys laughs, the way the sky looks at dawn and dusk, the smell of fresh-cut grass, red cheeks from the cold, talking to an old friend, doing something nice for someone without them knowing. I could go on and on but, you get the idea. They are all little things that don’t cost a dime. Find the things that mean something to you, things that make you smile.

Life is a journey meant to be enjoyed. It’s not a journey without rocky roads and hard times, and these hard times are usually because of choices and decisions we have made. Work hard for the little things and leave the big things alone. You can’t take it with you and trust me; your kids don’t want it.

This is my journey…

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