I am going to head outdoors with my cup of coffee to listen to the night creep in over the stream. First, a confession.
I paused for a moment, considering the hypocrisy of writing about minimalism from my vacation home. Hesitated, for a few months, because I am here while my first home is having a total kitchen renovation done.
How could I pretend having two homes is somehow justifiable? Hypocrite.
While I may work toward minimalism, I am not in a minimalist family. Like any good business partnership, marriage works best when the pair head off in the same general direction- in this case, I am content with my husband taking the lead of our little family, and enjoy the projects we find ourselves in.
A tiny home is not in the cards for us- At 6′ tall, he has spent a good part of his career in small bunks on tugboats or work trailers- so when he is Home, it is not and cannot be a tiny place. Home is a place to stretch out comfortably in all directions. A room for laundry, separate from the office, a distance from the kitchen; then down the stairs to exercise equipment, and so on.
The vacation home was my primary residence up until our marriage- a Cape Cod style on the banks of a creek, tucked away in some pines. Not tiny as HGTV would have you think- but snug, cozy, in all ways “hygge”.
And so, in guilt, I was reluctant to write- because isn’t the Tenants of Minimalism to downsize in all things?
If I were single, in my 20’s, then yes- But the reality is I am a very happily remarried 39 year old mother of two- and part of that happiness is seeing my husband pleased with his surroundings.
I minimize the other parts of life. I use 3 pairs of shoes instead of the old way of dozens kicking around the house. My makeup bag (singular) has only what it can fit- if I purchase something new, something must get recycled or passed on to my sister.
Our daughter plays with an assortment of her brother’s recycled 7 year old toys that I kept (intuition and blind hope told me not to get rid of his things even after my divorce).
Summer vacation was at the vacation home this year. But the vacation was the experiences of sharing my corner of the world with my out of town husband, and our kids- Little day trips to a butterfly garden, a local aquarium, out for pizza, or just playing ball in the yard- That was the priceless joy that Minimalism helps achieve, at fraction of the costs of an exotic (Disney) trip this year.
So I release my guilt now, and follow what parts of the minimalist movement I can- and look with a more gentle gaze on fellow Minimalists at whatever path they choose to walk.