My New Year’s Lessolution

Is there an App for this?

Is there an App for this?

Since it’s already January 20th, maybe “Do not procrastinate” would be a more suitable New Year’s Resolution, but it’s too late and I’ve decided that I can  put off that resolution until next year!…

Instead, my resolution for this year is to consume less.  In fact, I want to see how little I can consume and still maintain a life that seems complete and fulfilled.  And it’s not about sticking to a budget, correcting some obsession, or achieving some savings goal, it’s really about making my life simple and not too complicated.

As these workers in Bangkok know, things get complicated…enough that you often need to have a few extra sets of hands to get the job done.  And with four daughters and now a dog in the family,  until some genius invents an App to manage my life, my wish is to minimize the burdens that come with owning stuff.

Anyone who has put their belongings in storage to take an extended trip knows what I’m talking about.  As soon as you return and get your belongings out of storage, you realize how much crap you actually own.  And by most Western standards, my family is the exception and not the norm when it comes to owning stuff… we’re a family of 6 whose entire life of physical possessions fit into a   10-15′ storage unit!  After living out of a few bags for 9 months you realize that’s nearly everything you really need.  Sure it’s nice to have a little more sometimes, but the benefits and joys of more stuff are fleeting.

Before, life was good, it was simple, it was stress-free.  Now I look at my closet and have to match my shirts with my pants and think about which socks to wear.  Life was easier when my choices were limited and when what I chose to really didn’t matter to anyone as long as it was practical and got the job done.

And this was one of the lessons that I really wanted to teach my daughters on our trip…to show them that so many of the physical things that are “fashionable” or “cool” are neither important nor necessary to enjoy life.  I think they truly understand that now, and thankfully I believe that they embrace the idea that less is more, even as some of their peers remain in awe of the latest electronic accessory or fashion trend.  Truth be told that if I can walk into the H & M store on Michigan Avenue with my four daughters and walk out with a bill under $10, and without having to negotiate or say “no” , I  must be doing something right.  They seem to realize that they already have more than they need in the clothes department and another impulse buy doesn’t move the dial for them like it does for other people.

So my own goal is to see if I can get through a whole year without buying a single piece of clothing this year.  It’s not that I’m a clothes horse or have a shopping problem, but I had to pick something, and it seems to make sense.  I made it around the World with 2 shorts, 2 pants, and a half dozen shirts.  And though my wardrobe is by no means extensive, I just don’t need another shirt or another pair of jeans, or  (God willing) another suit!

That’s my New Year’s Lessolution!


6 responses to “My New Year’s Lessolution

  1. I am really excited about your next year´s report. What about Vivian´s “lessolution”, is it the same?

  2. Good thing Vivian bought you new jackets last year to keep you warm this year! Well said. You should run for government or at least convince them of the ‘less is more’ approach. It could work for a lot of things:taxes, subsidies, agencies,etc. Ok, maybe that’s a little different. Anyways Happy Birthday and Bundle up -it looks like a cold winter!

  3. I love the “More With Less” oulook. Did you know there is a cookbook called “More With Less” by a Mennonite author. I myself am a Mennonite and have always tried to live my life that way but it is a constant struggle to remind myself that I really do not need that. BTW I bought your coffee machine before the move to Berlin

    • I’ll let my wife know about the book. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen short of my resolution and ended up buying some clothes this year, but only because clothes in Germany are really expensive compared to in the U.S. Enjoy the coffee machine…it will be missed.

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