You Have Core Essentials Worth Keeping


In the 1970s, when I was in my rebellious 20s, there were certain things I thought I couldn’t live without. That was when I was very active in historical re-enactment, and there were never enough Tudor court gowns, never enough matching jewelry sets, never enough events at which to be seen. I also had to look like I was better off financially than anyone else, even though I wasn’t. So I gave lavish gifts, and I always picked up the tab at restaurants. My family had always been about “keeping up with the Joneses” as the old saying goes, and I accepted that line of thought for myself without flinching.

All those things cost a lot of money, and I was only making $11,000 a year as a secretary. As you can imagine, that complete disconnect between what I wanted and what my circumstances truly allowed for set me on a disastrous road.   It took years to stop drowning in debt from that period of misunderstanding what “I need” was really about.

Today, those in a position to buy a house are doing the same thing. If it’s bigger, it must be better. There’s no waiting until the money is there, or selecting a house that fits their family’s immediate needs. Let’s get it all now!   Is it any wonder that so many lost their houses to foreclosure in the last big recession?

By any measure you choose, the world’s landscape has changed drastically in 2016. There is more uncertainty in the world than ever before. And we are once again faced with understanding what are necessities and essentials, and what are things that we merely trip over in our search for a calmer, clearer life.

There are certain questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity in your search for those core essentials:

If I had a year to live, what would be important to me?

What do I find myself doing or using most often?

What do I surround myself with that has ceased to matter?

What have I gone unconscious about?

What benefits other people in the house, not just me?

What intangible clutter do I have?

You see, the idea of essentials isn’t just about what you can hold in your hand or touch. It’s about all those ideas, suppositions, choices and beliefs that won’t support you as you move forward in the months and years ahead, but which you still insist on keeping.

When you are willing to put everything on your mental table, honestly examining what you have, you’ll quickly recognize things were important months or years ago, but are not now. You’ll acknowledge where you have been basing your actions on beliefs you no longer hold. And you’ll discover that there are gorgeous new parts of your life that have been buried under those old “must haves.”

Today, spend a little time thinking about who you are now.  Adopt the short list of what you would take into the world if you had to walk away from your current life. And burnish bright those fundamental parts of yourself that have come forward, so that they are always in view and ready to hand as you walk into your future.

“Look at life as a Tiny House…you have core essentials worth keeping, allowing everything else to be up for discussion.” Corbie Mitleid