Thursday, February 23, 2012

There is a Pickle in my Sticky Wicket!

Due perhaps to boredom, encroaching age, boredom, and the need to live a little more creatively *outside* the proverbial box ... I'm stuck at some kind of weird crossroads and cannot make up my mind about which way to *play* the game called Life.

And trust me, this is bigger than mere menopausal angst. Maybe it's because I'm full blooded Irish and probably crazy to boot, but my mind is exploding with all these fabulous ideas - most of which are ridiculously inappropriate and probably impossible to implement.

Before I elaborate, here's the thing: Most of us live our lives in accordance with certain unspoken but rather mundane agreements such as: sofas belong in the living room, bathrooms do not contain an espresso maker, and garages are not to be painted gold. Or, when dining out, one may not order dessert prior to the entree.

Silly little ruts that deserve to be broken.

Which is why, with rare exception, I'm the kind of person who hits the dessert bar FIRST and the salad last [just because]. And I've further been known to shave only one leg per bath because it's my way of flouting convention ... plus I wanted to see exactly how fast those damn leg hairs were growing so I needed a *test/control* leg.

So while I've always been a tad eccentric [read *crazy*], often just for fun, I'm also changing and growing in earnest, and taking a long, hard look at how I want my *later* years to play out.

I've briefly mentioned this before, but here once again I want to say that the idea of minimalism absolutely fascinates me. I've visited countless minimalist blogs, read articles, pared down my own possessions, but there is a persistent pickle in my wicket that keeps urging me to step it up a notch or three.

I know it sounds outlandish, but a part of me is simply chomping at the bit to cast possessions to the wind and ensconce myself in an adorable, itsy-bitsy 200 sq ft tiny house, to grow my own organic/heirloom vegetables and to spend my evenings comfortably perched at a weathered, cast-off tiny table & chair, complete with a cracked vase stuffed with wild daisies, whilst I sip sun-brewed tea and subsequently pen the next *Harry Potter* series. Or something along those lines.

And as I'm semi-single [the leg-hair test is not always appreciated for it's contribution to science, it seems], living on my own so to speak, there is a possibility I could actually pull this one off.

You know, I've been both [semi] rich and [semi] poor. I've lived in a beautiful 2700 ft split level, and a 480 ft mobile home. Both had their charms and one is no more desirable than the other. But it's not just about space, or money, or possessions that I am brooding over.

My conundrum is larger than an amusing whim, or so I have reason to believe.

Again, quite possibly, it's an age thing. Another passage on the road to God Knows What. But I've become increasingly disenchanted with material goods, big box stores, the rising [and rising AND still-no-end-in-sight] cost of necessities such as food, clothing, heating, and shelter. Not to mention being taxed to death and beyond.

See, we each play our parts. From the child who grows up to marry, raise children, carpool in the minivans, home ownership, and on and on until it is time for the next generation to continue the cycle.

Well, I've completed that cycle and I'm ready for a change. At MY age [54.5] I'm able to look back, to observe the mistakes & successes and better evaluate my life's choices. And even though I can see more clearly how the world keeps on a spinnin', I'm bored and frankly disenchanted by the thought of more of the same. My priorities and ideals have changed and I'd like my life style to reflect this.

Plus I'm sick to death with being a *consumer*. Other than my dearly beloved books, all the rest can go hang for all I care. Besides, everyone keeps insisting that you *can't take it with you*, so what's the point in even trying?

I've also beat this drum a few times, so forgive the redundancy, but being an avid purveyor of estate sales, I cannot emphasize this enough that there is little sadder than granny's decades' worth of porcelain figurines hitting the auction block. We save and collect and gather and hoard ... to what end? To fill an endless emotional void or to saddle subsequent generations with so much crap to dispose of?

And, I want to say this as respectfully as possible, but it's somewhat selfish to burden future generations with endless stuff which they must in turn sell, keep or otherwise dispose of. Not only does this set a poor example for responsible consumerism, but ... think about what I'm saying ... how much nicer it would have been if instead of mother or grandmother stuffing their homes with countless *collectibles*, some of that money had been invested into CD's, savings bonds, etc etc. Then instead of [guiltily I might add] selling granny's salt and pepper shaker collection in order to buy little Suzy a new pair of glasses, or to provide young Tommy his first year of college.

Things that freaking matter.

Instead of the endless parade of lives and homes cluttered with worthless stuff that lost any perceived value roughly 5 minutes after the initial purchase.

End of rant.

So back to my conundrum. Instead of seeing myself grow enfeebled surrounded by dusty knick knacks in a large & lonely house, I see myself puttering about a bed of strawberries, teaching my daughter how to make freezer jelly, writing children's stories that my grandchildren will likely be the only ones to read. I'm feeding birds, squirrels, cats ... any hungry creature that happens to stop by.

Maybe I'll learn how to braid rugs, or spend my winter painting gourds grown with my own two hands. In this fantasy I see myself taking off on my old-lady bicycle, on a little mini-tour for a day or a week and snapping photographs of stray sneakers abandoned by a corn field or sturdy young dandelions braving the crisp days of March.

Isn't that poetic? I might be full of shit, or not. It's hard to tell from where I sit.

But if I could make it happen I'd surely like to try. The problem is I have no idea how. It's hard enough to whittle down my beloved books [my personal achilles heel][although my most beloved blog buddy in the entire solar system surprised me with a Kindle for Christmas so I can *store* all the books I'll eventually desire].

So even though I'm torn between the pillars of my status quo and throwing caution to the wind to fashion my own *little house on the prairie*, even though I'm eager to more fully embrace minimalism and say fare-thee-well to any pre-scripted sort of middle aged ideal, EVEN though I'm wanting so badly to [brace yourself for ultra cheesiness!] become more *one with nature*, to ponder my belly button or the meaning of life ... the truth is I'm also scared, nervous, hesitant to do so.

SO then. If anyone [God Bless You, brave and tireless soul] has read all of the above and managed to stay with me so far ... what are your thoughts?

Have YOU ever been tempted/desired to chuck it all, to purge the excess out of your life? Or do you know any die-hard minimalist who has? Maybe you, yourself, are reading this from the cozy comfiture of your own tiny home.

What do you think? I'd really like to know :)


  1. You should try to get hold of the BBC series River Cottage. It's about a top chef who decides to move to a small cottage in the country and tries to become completely self reliant by growing his own food and such. I think you might find it interesting.

  2. I feel ya.
    Been struggling with the eternal career question, what to do? I was revert to wanting to own a book store. But this time around, one that was event driven like my blog. Basically, I want to be able to book blog all day and sell books on the side with author events in the evenings.

    In regards to food, I am leaning more towards organic food and less meat in the diet. Started juicing last month and have done a fresh pressed juice at least once a day. Yum.

    Doing lots of yoga has helped me clear the head and rid of toxins in the body.

    More to tell, but should probably do it via private email ;-D

  3. @ Sully - *River Cottage* sounds wonderful, am definitely going to check it out :D

    @Vii - The book store idea sounds like something you could really make a success of! You do so beautifully managing events on your blog that I can only *imagine* how amazing you'd do within a *physical* setting [GO FOR IT if you are able to!]