Tag Archives: Minimalism

Encore Quotes – The Joy of Life

I truly believe in the motto, “Life is about collecting experiences, not stuff!” We’ve been off in the last couple of weeks collecting our experiences in sunny Arizona. It seems I always try to have our next adventure somewhere in the planning stages. (Next month – Kauai!)

But new experiences don’t necessarily need to come from travel. Sometimes those experiences can be found in our own backyards. There are a million things around here to try! Just this morning I saw a “glass fusion” class advertised on Groupon! Our city has a rich community education program, or perhaps we might just check out the winter landscapes in one of our beautiful parks.

So how about you, fellow voyagers? Where will you locate your next “changing horizon?”

Lynn

The New Year’s Paper Work Flood!

Some people start diets, some people make resolutions to get fit, to eat right, to save more money.  I don’t know what happens to me, but I become a paperwork fiend!

I must admit that I am an organizational guru!  If you were to blindfold me, stand me at my front door, and ask me to put my hands on pretty much anything in my home, I’d be able to find it…unless it is made of paper.

I think it happens as a result of preparing for the next tax year.  Time to file the remainder of the last year’s bill statements, and purge the files to prepare for 2018.  But one thing always leads to another.  I start filing one thing, and then end up cleaning out another storage box.  That, in turn, leads to cleaning out the top drawer of my desk – gotta organize those paper clips, ya know – which leads to cleaning out the other desk drawers.

Wait…what is on all of these flash drives?  I certainly don’t need to keep student data from 10 years ago, and hey – this one is full of photographs!  Yikes – They need to be backed up to the cloud!  Guess what I’m doing right this minute!

And now that I think about it, what is in all of these computer files?  Time to do some deleting…and what about Dropbox – there’s lots of stuff in Dropbox that I surely no longer need, just taking up space…and One Note – what about that?!!!

By the time I’m done, I’ll have this place will be ship-shape.  But did I mention that I have not yet taken my Christmas decorations down?

Lynn

The Best Things About the Voyage!

Good morning!  If you’ve popped over here to check out An Encore Voyage, there’s a really good chance that you were directed here by Donna over at Retirement Reflections!  You see, Donna does a weekly Sunday Guest Post series, and for reasons that completely befuddle the mind, she asked me to participate!  How cool is that!

If this is your first time visiting here, WELCOME!  We are on an Encore Voyage because, after long-time careers, we sort of got thrown into the deep end ———– um…we found ourselves both unemployed!  Or as hubs likes to describe it,

“We were given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves!”

And so we entered the early retirement group – even though we weren’t planning on it!

Since this voyage began, we’ve learned a great deal!

We’ve learned that sometimes being together 24/7 can be a bit of a challenge.  But guess what?  It’s really a lot of fun if you follow some simple advice.

Admittedly, we needed to do some simplifying and minimizing to maintain our lifestyle.  But in the end, it has brought us a clearer focus about what’s really important.

We started up our Encore Career – We didn’t want to be just “finished,” but we didn’t want to start over from scratch either.  So we reinvented ourselves and created a business that we can be passionate about – and we do it from home and on our own schedules!

And we’ve learned that this type of “retirement” is a total blast!  It doesn’t look anything like the things we feared retirement might be.  And there are lots of things that make this encore gig of ours a delightful experience.

One of those is the time I now have to be creative on this blog, and to engage with others in the blogging community.  It’s a little weird that in just a few short months, I have developed on-screen relationships with so many other bloggers.  It’s like we’ve gotten to know each other.  And as I said earlier, one of my very favorite virtual friends is Donna at Retirement Reflections.  Donna is my neighbor to the north – She and her husband are from Vancouver Island, British Columbia…(Lucky ducks!)  Donna is adventuresome, organized, just a tiny bit nerdy like me – and a fabulous writer!  So if you haven’t gotten the chance, be sure to click on over and check her out!  She’s awesome-sauce!

And thanks again, Donna, for inviting me to participate in your Sunday Guest Post series!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – The Art of Being Happy

It’s taken us a the better part of a lifetime to figure out that what makes us happy is not how much stuff we have.  I read somewhere that we spend the first 2/3 of our lives accumulating possessions, and the last 1/3 getting rid of those possessions!  So take some time and evaluate what really makes you HAPPY and have a fabulous weekend!

~ Lynn

How Much is Enough? 8 Things We’ve Learned

When we first found ourselves both unemployed seven years ago, my younger sister posed a very simple yet important question:

How much do you really need?

At first, it calmed our fears.  We had saved up plenty to survive while we decided our next steps.  But more importantly, it started us on a journey to sort of pseudo-minimalism.  We lightened our load, examined our stuff, started conversations about our values, and took a hard look at what is really important to us.  We started designing our lives on this Encore Voyage with much more intention.

Examining ‘Enough’

In the early days, hubs would spend sleepless nights trying to answer the question, “Am I doing the right things?”  “Am I taking the right jobs?”  Am I taking all the steps I need for us to be successful.”  At first, those were questions born of fear and uncertainty.

The same questions are true for anyone entering retirement.  Have we saved enough?  Are we prepared both financially and emotionally?  Do we need to do more? Are we ready to take the leap?

Well, it’s taken us a few years, but we have finally learned to stop and take some very deep breaths.  And we’ve learned some things about “Enough.”

  1. We do not need to fill every hour of every day.  Down time is now cherished! We are mindful about doing “enough.”
  2. We do not need to exist on the 8 to 5 schedule of the working world.  It’s OK for us to skip out in the middle of the afternoon or to work on a weekend. We get to decide what to make of the day, and no longer feel guilty for not doing “enough.”
  3. We don’t need to buy much more “stuff.”  We want the items we own to be useful, meaningful or beautiful.  Generally speaking, we own “enough.”
  4. Taking time in the middle of the afternoon to read a book or pursue a hobby is quite OK.  You can never have “enough” curiosity or interests.
  5. We travel lightly.  I’ve studied up on many travel blogs, and it really is quite possible to go anywhere in a 22 inch carry-on and a backpack. Just “enough” is waaayyyy better when traveling than too much!
  6. Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid.  They are broke!  Our “enough” is not for anyone else to judge.
  7. You can never have “enough” meaningful relationships.  They are far more important than the things you own!
  8. There will NEVER be “enough” time for us to love each other and be together.  We need to take advantage of every moment we’re given in this life.

So how about it…What’s “enough” for you?  Any important things I’ve left off the list?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Lynn

 

 

Photo credit: Patrick Fore ~ Unsplash

Yet Another List – Needs vs. Wants

Recently, Kathy Merlino over at Kathy’s Retirement Blog, wrote a post called What Is Your Relationship with Money?  It seems that some folks really took exception to Kathy’s use of the term ‘Blow Money’ for that money which has been earmarked for “discretionary spending.”  She and her hubs allot a certain amount each month to spend as they see fit – without questions!  I think it’s great – It’s not “Money Blown” as her next post suggests, but rather money which is spent making their lives wonderful!  Yep, actual money for LIVING!

Hubs and I use a similar but slightly different “strategy.”  We keep what we call the Needs and Wants List:

Our Needs-Wants List

On the Needs side, we list things that are going to REQUIRE upcoming expenditures:  A new roof.  Tires for the car.  On the Wants side, we list things that come up that we would like to purchase, but are not actual necessities:  New tile in the guest bath, refacing the kitchen cabinets, those diamond encrusted wine glasses (OK…. Not really…. surely you know me better than that by now!)

The point is that the list accomplishes two things for us:

  • First, by putting an item on the list, we are forced to analyze our motives.  Is this something we really need, or is it something we’d just like to have?
  • Second, putting items on one list or the other allows us to prioritize our spending, while slowing down impulse buying (at least on larger items.)  Have you ever stopped to think something through like this – “Which would be more important to us…a new toilet or new carpet in the family room?”

The list is generally for bigger ticket items.  We have always had a shared bank account, and because we both have similar financial values, we don’t get crazy on the day to day splurges.  (Yep, occasional quilt fabric counts as day to day spending.)  Neither of us is a compulsive shopper – I repeatedly remind him that he is a lucky man, because clothes shopping is just not in my wheelhouse!  Our Needs and Wants list helps us to think about the question, “What do we need to save for, and what should we “blow money” on?”  In either case,  we believe that as long as it’s thoughtful, deliberate, and within the retirement budget, none of that money is actually “blown.”

Your Prized Possessions – Do You Know What They Are?

I told you in an earlier post about Our Minimalist Epiphany, right?  In a moment of particular clarity, Hubs and I realized that we had way too much stuff, and that it was stealing our joy.  Now, we are not what you would call “hard-core” minimalists, getting rid of all but the bare necessities.  Rather, we trying to be more intentional about what we own.  Borrowing a phrase I saw on the blog Simple Living

Minimalism is living with what you NEED,
and what you LOVE…That’s it
.

I’ve thumbed through Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, where she speaks of the items that you own “sparking joy.” You should handle each and every item in your home, and decide if that thing gives you joy.  If it does not, thank it for its service, and get rid of it (in a nutshell).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going around my house touching all my stuff or talking to it.  I am, however, looking at our possessions with a different eye.  Have you ever just stood in a room in your home, looked around, and thought:

“Is this something I really love, or is it just junk.”

Or

“Is this something that is regularly used, or is it just taking up space?”

I’ve been doing just that lately.  I ran across a blog called The Burning House.  The premise of this photographic blog – If your house were on fire, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s valuable, practical and sentimental.  This exercise has caused two things:

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff that doesn’t really matter, and as a result, our home feels like it’s filled with the items that truly reflect our personalities.

I’ve settled on some Non-negotiable, You’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead, hands, Prized Possessions:

  • My mother in law’s little tin knife: Back when we were dating, I would sit in the kitchen watching her cut up vegetables with so much love.
  • My little glass chicken – given to me by the best man at our wedding (there’s a story there.)
  • A hundred plus year old Dresden plate quilt, hand pieced and quilted by his grandma.
  • My original Dick, Jane and Sally print
  • My mom’s cross

Prized Posessions

These are the things that are the first to be saved in the event of a fire.  Oh, of course I’ll try to grab the file box with all of our records in it, and it would be nice to grab some photos, but in reality most of those have been safely stored in the cloud. And yes, I would probably grab our portable hard drive on which we back up both of our computers.  But the reality of it is, in true minimalist fashion, much of the stuff in our house is just stuff!  The prized possessions have become crystal clear!

Lynn