Looking Ahead at Right Now

wpid-leaves-7883As I turned 50 years old I really started embracing the minimalist lifestyle for many reasons. One of those reasons is that of self preservation. I started to realize that I have but a short 15 years to try to set things right. What I mean by this is that I see too many people move into the age of social security with nothing but a monthly social security check to live on. Meanwhile they are still living with a monthly mortgage payment, credit card bills and car payments they are obligated to pay each month. I quickly realized that I had to make certain changes and I had to make them quickly. The vision I see and I am sure most folks see in retirement is that of a less stressful life, quiet days spent doing things of pleasure, not pain.

Making a choice to retire should be a choice but I see too many working way past an age that is comfortable to work. There are many who simply love their jobs and are just not ready to retire at 65 and usually push for the age of 70, but there are far too many others who simply do not have that choice and have to continue to work to make ends meet.

There are other’s who have done all of the right things to prepare, but have had some type of life changing event that caused them to lose everything or just about everything like an expensive medical procedure or the lose of employment. My heart goes out to them as I do understand that there really is no guarantee’s in life. But for the majority who find themselves in a situation where retirement is just not possible because of certain life choices that they have made like overspending, living a life of thrift or gambling I am less sympathetic to them but more sympathetic to their children who will have to bear the expense of these circumstances.

At the average age of just around 45 most families are setting there children out into the world, trying to pay for college and thinking about downsizing there homes. It can be an exciting time of life while at the same time their parents are reaching or have reached the age of retirement. Many complain of having there children living at home too long after they should be ready to move out into the world, but there are also too many who are having their parents move in with them because of the heart felt obligation of caring for them. Personally, as a parent I never want to be in a situation that would add this type of burden on my children.

At 55 years old I have made a significant amount of changes in my life through the adoption of minimalism and/or living a simply life. Financially life has turned around in just 5 short years and I am heading in a positive direction towards a life of retirement. Many of the sacrifices that I have made turned out to not be sacrifices at all. I concentrate of paying off debt while putting away enough money for the future. I shop very little and only do it to obtain things that I really need rather than things that I want. Cooking at home over going out to eat has increased my level of appreciation for the foods I eat, while gardening and providing fresh foods for my home has given way to an appreciation for nature. Most of the time the food I eat at lunchtime is leftovers from the night before.

Every single dollar I earn and spend has a certain value to it now that it didn’t have before. I no longer collect things and find greater value in collecting dollars that I know will help me out greatly later in life.

As I set out to make changes in my life for reasons of self preservation I discovered these same changes truly enhanced my life right now. Without many of the stresses like trying to put on a show for the Jones’s I have learned that living a simpler life also brings about a greater sense of happiness and joy. Besides, it won’t be long before the Jones’s find themselves in bankruptcy court. I have found that one of the greatest benefits I have discovered is that of lost time. While I was spinning my wheels to try to keep up with the latest fashions and trends it seemed that time was getting away from me. There never seemed to be any time to really do the things in life that I really enjoy doing. Today I have time to read, time to relax and time to spend in nature. Rather than an expensive outing I now prefer a quiet day at the beach or in the mountains. Even a quiet day at home is not a burden.

live-small-to-live-big_final_72At the age of 50 discovering the simple life was the greatest thing to ever happen to me later in life. I wish I had known more about this at a younger age, but life is what it is and we are where we are for whatever reasons. I am now a minimalist for life and these lessons I have learned will also give way to a lifestyle I will lead in retirement. Peace.

About SimpleLivingOver50

At 53 years old I am starting to realize how life changes both physically and emotionally. I strive for a life of simplicity. I am winning the battle with type II diabetes, created a plan to have all debt paid off in 4 years including the house, taking advantage of every opportunity to live life to it's fullest through adventures in nature, hiking, biking, loving and learning.
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25 Responses to Looking Ahead at Right Now

  1. I have never in my life set out to impress the Joneses – and my choice of how I conduct my professional life (people more important than profits) – has forced me to live extremely close to the bone almost every single day since I became a coach. I have always given away *at least* as much time and expertise as I have sold.

    Like you, I reuse and “recycle,” eat at home, recombine leftovers for additional meals, waste nothing, rarely engage in “retail therapy” – and then only with a careful eye on costs. I have no credit cards and have never been able to qualify for a mortgage. For many years now I have driven an old van that was a gift from the family of a woman who entered a nursing home as the result of a stroke; I sold my former second-hand car to be able to purchase a new computer – now aging rapidly. I have never been able to justify the cost of a brand new vehicle.

    While nobody truly needs *new* clothing, I find it encouraging every once in while to purchase something for which I have been longing, during rare times when I can manage the expense. I still have and wear a great many items I have owned for well over 25-30 years and take good care of them. More than a few were hand-me-downs or gifts originally, 99% of the remainder were purchased on sale. I see no reason to cull my wardrobe for the sake of some minimalist ideal. Most things come back in style, and some things I like wearing regardless of what’s in style. I only get rid of things I know I’ll never wear again (like “corporate drag” from the days when I went into an office occasionally).

    I still have the couch I purchased new 35 years ago – subsequently slipcovered as a barter for my services from fabric that I purchased on sale. Most of the rest of my furnishings were thrift store etc. purchases, or cobbled together personally from lumber left-over from construction sites. There are no children who will have to bear the brunt of my life choices as I age.

    I believe there are more people like me than you (and many others who are more financially fortunate) seem to understand. Our “things” are uplifting for us, even if they are not what anyone else might consider fine or worth keeping – they hold our histories. Neither do we care to throw away anything we might have to purchase at greater expense down the road. THAT is what we consider wasteful.

    Minimalism may work for some people. To me it would feel like punishment to force myself to “make do” more than I have already – and the life of leisure you find so relaxing does not appeal to my sensibilities. I certainly wish I had the economic choice to retire, but if I did I would keep doing what I do for as long as possible, and give even more of my time away than I can afford to do now. Different strokes for different folks.

    I keep reading here to see if there is some part of minimalism I might embrace, but so far I haven’t caught the fever. It’s nice to hear that it works for you, but I hope this comment will encourage you to be careful when you make assumptions about those of us for whom it does not.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • I appears you have lived a responsible life and a well balanced one at that. I am certainly not pointing a finger at anyone as I am describing the fact that we are all responsible for our own lives and with careful planning and sacrifice the possibility of reaching a point where we must choose to retire can be a joyful experience because of the choices we made to prepare for it. If I offended you in any way with this article I certainly apologize as it is not my intension of offending anyone.

      • Thanks. I was not offended, as much as disturbed. We who are “stuff” people attract a great deal of judgment from minimalists, and today seems to be my day to stick up for us all.

        We certainly agree on the importance of planning. Thank you for your considerate reply – and I apologize if I offended YOU.
        xx,
        mgh

      • I believe that there may be more to these feeling that I don’t quite understand. As we try to make our way through this crazy world we all have different opinions on subjects that are near and dear to our hearts. We are all on different paths and I try to express those things that work well in my life. This does not mean that the path I choose is the same path that fits into other’s lives. I simply like to express myself as to what I believe helps me along this path I walk. We all have choices that we make each day, some good and some not so good. Based on past choices that I have made that I felt were not so good I try to learn new ways of thinking about things through different approaches. Minimalism works well for me and living a life as my Great Grandparents did so many years ago has sparked something inside of me that I find to precious. I rarely get offended I appreciate your response to my post as I enjoy reading different reactions to the words I write. I don’t disagree with anyone living a life with “stuff” as it is what makes them happy. In the end it is that happiness we all seek in any form we discover or practice.

      • We are definitely on the same page here! xx, mgh

      • LOL. Yes we are. 🙂

  2. At 48, I am in exactly the same spot you were 5 years ago. I love your posts, agree wholeheartedly and continue my journey toward minimizing many areas of my life. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks Jackie, life can certainly be a wonderful experience when we discover the things that really make us happy. The one thing we can count on never changing is the fact that things are constantly changing and we can all be OK when we learn to adapt. You are on a great path. 🙂

  3. I love this! Im learning peace and joy from having less, and every day I find one more thing I dont need and help it to find its way to the donation box. Its bliss…pure bliss! Im refocusing financials, too. Please share more on that. Im all ears.

  4. webbermd says:

    I have minimized, now I am in the expansion phase again. I hope to possibly build a pole barn to house my vehicles, tools, and relocate my wife’s candle business there. Once the barn/shop is built, I will go through the minimizing phase again as I empty the storage shed. I agree keeping up with the Jones is the lie of the 20th century, now the Jones will read here and begin to minimize too, which is a good thing. Keep up the great work SimpleLiving you will reach your goals soon.

  5. pruninglife says:

    You have such great posts. Very nice read, thanks for sharing your insights with us all!

  6. I really enjoy your blogs x I’m a few years from 50 yet but the sentiment still rings true with how I want to live x

  7. I’ve never really been one that have tried to keep up with the Joneses, but even so, I sure have spent a bit on things that I today just shake my head over.

    Like you, I wish I had started on this path when I was younger, I know I would have been in a much better financial state (even though I’m in a absolutely ok place now).

    A remember a time when I could hardly keep afloat from month to month (even though that’s a very long time ago) and I don’t envy people that are in those predicament, and I can’t imagine the pain of spending retirement that way.

    Even though I’ve been a bit “late” to the real minimalist party, I still think I’ve always had a mini minimalist in the making in me. Especially when I look at some of the choices I’ve made over the years. I just wished I had been more aware like I am now. I have found that the idea of minimalism feeds my soul 😀

  8. Pingback: Looking Ahead at Right Now | Simple Things

  9. Terri says:

    I so agree…I’m not 50 yet, but have realized life is very short, and you never know when your end may come. I have an older brother who is 55, and still has young kids, due to his having them later in life. He doesn’t regret having a family, but he still has a lot of those expenses you mention.

    When I moved cross country last year, I realized just how little stuff was important. Figuring out what would make the cut and go in my car – I asked myself, is it really that important? Would I still have room for my pets if I include this or that? And nowadays, that is how I figure out if I buy something or not. Do I want to move it in my car? Usually the answer is no.

    Like you, though, I wish I had come across minimalism earlier too. 🙂

    • I have the same story. Moved from NJ to Oregon. Ended up getting rid of almost three quarters of stuff that we thought was so important. Thus minimalism starts as we discover those things that are really important and actually make us happy.

  10. Anna says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I was lucky enough to discover the benefits of simple living earlier in life, but it’s an ongoing journey.

  11. New Journey says:

    I am with you….I am happy that the only burden I will leave my kids to deal with is what I have in the here and now….they can light a match as far as I am concerned…sell it…do with it as they please… and then they can empty what little we leave in the bank….LOL I love living the less is best mantra…enjoyed your post…..are you getting rain..??? I see Seattle and the Northwest is getting some…its cloudy here…hope we get a little tomorrow….kat

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