Each day I will post at least one time with something that inspires me. It could be a song, a quote, a blog post, a video... Doesn't matter the format. The inspiration is the point.
I thought I'd kick things off with a blog that inspired me at a really difficult time in my life.
It was 2009. The night after our big "Freeing-Up Sale" where we attempted to sell EVERYTHING. Our house was suddenly bare. Our things no longer inhabited our space. The space. The space that was only ours to inhabit for a couple more weeks. Until the closing. Then no more.
The couch was gone. The chairs were gone. All of the furniture from the guest room. The dressers, the bed, the lamps. The floor lamp, the dining room table, the chairs, the bookcases were all gone. The pots and pans, the white dishes, the washer/dryer, the Danish sideboard were gone. The XBox, Guitar Hero, board games and books. Even Big Boy was gone.
I remember this moment so clearly. I was sitting at my laptop in my favorite place in the house-- at our kitchen counter in one of my beloved Eames fiberglass stools (that we still hadn't sold.) I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to imagine our future beyond my parents' basement. Where would we eventually land? If this was no longer our home, where would our home be?
I needed to sleep. But I couldn't. My mind was on a familiar loop:
Must. Make. Something. Happen. Must. Make. Something. Happen. Must. Make. Something. Happen.
And in that state, sleep wasn't an option. So I surfed the web. And I somehow (through Twitter) landed on a blog I had never heard of before:
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
I was drawn to the title. And especially the subtitle:
Unconventional Strategies for Life, Work & Travel
Yes. That's what we need. That's what we've been out to create. An unconventional strategy! Fate brought me to this blog at just the right moment. Now, who is this Chris Guillebeau? I quickly learn that he's no slouch and has this ridiculously amazing and inspiring goal to visit every country in the world. Every. Country. In. The. World. No joke.
On his About Page, he writes about his philosophy:
The essence of my philosophy is this:
1. You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.
2. You can do good things for yourself and help other people at the same time.
3. If you don’t decide for yourself what you want to get out of life, someone else will probably end up deciding for you.
4. There is usually more than one way to accomplish something.
YES! Right?! Doesn't that make you want to read more? It made me want to read more. The post from that day, June 15, 2009 was SUFFICIENCY.
Here's what Chris says about sufficiency:
As I see it, sufficiency simply means enough. It means having everything you need and not lacking for anything.
How this translated to me in that moment: We truly can be content in the face of "losing" everything. In fact, let's stop talking about how we're "losing" things. And let's keep talking about how to be truly happy with what you have. Chris was speaking directly to me.
And it just got better. He writes:
For me, the most important principle of personal finance is self-awareness. The values of frugality and generosity are also important to me, but I don’t think either can be consistently practiced without first being self-aware. Both frugality and generosity have to be related to a deeper value of clearly understanding how we think about money.
To become self-aware, it helps to know exactly what sufficiency looks like for you. How much money do you really need to a) meet your basic obligations, and b) do the things you want to do?
Valuing experiences more than possessions?! YES! That's WHY we were selling all our stuff. Because, as Bob said, "I want to acquire experiences, not things." I was so inspired by Chris' post and his manifesto.
Once you have that amount, you have the walk-away number. That’s the number with which you can comfortably walk away from any commitment that is incompatible with who you are and what you really want. You can start to focus on building a life more than building a bank account. You learn to value experiences (things you do) more than possessions (things you own).
Towards the end of the post, Chris writes:
One of the best feelings in the world comes from the awareness that everything will be okay.
And that's so true. That feeling, by the way, does not come from having tons of money. Money has nothing to do with it. Things have nothing to do with it. And that's a wonderful thing.
Without further ado, I send you over to The Art of Non-Conformity to read SUFFICIENCY and discover more inspiration than you might be able to handle at Chris' site.
After reading his post (and after inevitably joining him on Facebook, following him on Twitter and delving into the archives,) come back here and share with us what you took from it.
And I'm taking suggestions for inspiring posts. If you'd like to share something that inspires you - be it a person, an image, a poem, a story - write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or just share it in the comments below. Either way works!
Thank you! And I hope you're inspired!