Minimizing (More) & Moving

If there’s one thing that we learned from staying at home over these past few months, it’s this – you don’t have to love your home but you should at least like it.

When we moved into our current apartment in 2016, it was one of only 3 options available in our area. We never loved it but we found it suitable for our needs and managed to convince ourselves that the “amenities” made up for its shortcomings. Among those shortcomings – maintenance is always hit or miss, and by that I mean, they always come to fix the problem but their solution is sometimes lacking. When they fixed the leak from the upstairs apartment that came through our ceiling, they conveniently neglected to paint over the water spots. We’ve lived with that for 2 years now. They fixed the stove by bringing us a really, really used one to replace the brand new one that we paid extra to get. And most recently, they fixed our wasp problem by bringing us a can of Raid (I kid you not).

Our town has grown exponentially over the past four years (thanks in large part to our awesome mayor and the implementation of our first ever citywide strategic plan). Amid the growth, our quaint downtown area with its local shops, restaurants, and Farmer’s Market is thriving. We have more tech jobs now (instead of just factory jobs), more recreational spaces, and a brand new college campus. Now, make no mistake, we are happy with the direction that the town is heading because there’s more opportunity for folks to find something to love right here locally but we still don’t see ourselves living here forever.

With that being said, we decided (much on a whim) that we would move to a new apartment. During the last few years, more than a half dozen new apartment complexes have sprung up to accommodate the influx of folks wanting to live “near Nashville”. A lot of these places are really luxurious (with elevators and coffee bars) and way out of our price range but a few are within just a few dollars of what we are paying now.

When we knew we wanted to move, we had a dilemma of a different sort to contend with. How does one qualify for an apartment without a “real” income?? Turns out it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be. Though I compiled an extensive list of my varying income sources, it was our credit score and rental history that sealed the deal. I’m proud to say that all the frugal financial finagling that we’ve done these past few years paid off and we we got the highest possible score in our screening process (whatever that means exactly).

We’re silly excited about this whole thing and not just because we’re moving somewhere new but because it’s a chance to reboot our minimalist life. I’m not sure how, but along the way we’ve acquired a lot of stuff again. Okay, not as much stuff as some of the folks we see moving in/out of here but for us…it’s a lot of stuff. We have dumpster furniture that we just couldn’t let go to landfill, a plethora of flower pots on a patio that despite our best intentions, won’t grow a weed much less a plant, and so many other things, I can’t think of them all.

Our new space is a blank canvas just waiting NOT TO BE CLUTTERED. We’re moving in 2 weeks so we’ve already started selling off a lot of our stuff. Bulky living room suite – gone!

Cabinets, tables, and storage drawers we found in the dumpster – gone!

Angie even parted with her paddleboard that took up the biggest part of one closet, reasoning that if she wanted to use one, rentals are only $8/hour at our local park.

As of right now, we’ve made $785 getting rid of stuff – a lot of it stuff that someone else once threw in the garbage. But more importantly, we’re reducing our possessions (again) and finding new homes for still useful things.

Mad at the World

I’m kind of mad at the world right now and I’m beginning to question its sanity. Have we lost all sense of what it means to be kind, decent, and respectable human beings and given into throwing the type of tantrums and fits that even my 4-year-old niece knows better than to do in public??

We’ve all spent the past 3 months worried about a virus, to the point that life has been disrupted in a way that may never return to the “real normal”. We debate and even hate on one another for opting to wear a mask or not wear a mask in public, as if this single act alone is going to save our lives. We act out in the grocery store when we run into neighbors and acquaintances we once would have taken a moment to speak to, all because they fall on the opposite side of our stand on social distancing etiquette. And if you think this is not true, come with me when I go to work my merchandising gig sometime. Just last week, I witnessed nearly a dozen incidents in which one person was being mean to another – all over a piece a cloth!

Given all this, there is no wonder then that folks are burning courthouses and vandalizing Target stores too. Life as we know it is already in a state of chaos so why not just add to the madness!

What happened to George Floyd and all the other people of color who we aren’t hearing about on the news is unacceptable. It is wrong. It is outrageous. It is serious. It needs to stop. But folks, it’s not going to. Why? Because we hate each other over the stupidest of things!

I fully understand that not all people are acting badly, not all cops are corrupt, and not everyone is berating their neighbor over a face mask. But even if we aren’t being outwardly hateful, all of us carry our own set of prejudices. And what is prejudice exactly? I had to look this up myself because I was a bit confused. My family (misguidedly) taught me that prejudice could be good in some instances – such as when it keeps you from making a bad choice. For example, when you don’t go to McDonald’s because you “hate” how they are killing people every day with their food.  This is not prejudice though – this is called being discerning. One is acceptable, the other is not.

Prejudice is having a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice is when we think the black man who has picked up our trash for the last 25 years is somehow less of a person because of the color of his skin. Prejudice is telling your gay relative that she’s going to hell because she “made a choice that no one else agrees with”. But prejudice is also thinking it’s “us vs. them” in every single situation, from how we react to senseless tragedies to how to fight a virus.

Every argument, every feud, and every war was started by the “us vs. them” mindset. Isn’t it time we changed that? All lives matter and despite what we have been taught to believe, people have way more in common with one another than they have differences – starting with the fact that we all live on the same planet, bleed the same color blood, die of the same diseases, and have the same choices when it comes to treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

Yes, I’m mad at the world right now. I’m mad at my own family, my neighbors, and my community for being mean to one another when we should all be trying to lift one another up. Life is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to fuel the hatred and indecency just because we can. So here’s what I’m going to do about it…

I love you all. I respect your choice to wear a mask or not wear a mask, because only you know how you have been affected in this pandemic. I respect your political choice, whether you are Democrat, Republican, or in-between. I share your outrage at the senseless death and destruction that has become the sad hallmark of our country and I stand with you in peaceful protest, hoping one day soon this will change. While I will always be discerning in my own choices, I vow to no longer let the “us vs. them” mentality creep into my life and above all, I will not pass down any prejudices I may have learned in my lifetime to anyone that I love.