18 August 2011

Advantages of the "wrong" side of 40

Recently, my Mr. Sunshine pointed something out to me. He started to say "We live like...I don't want to say poor people, but..."

I got what he was trying to say. We live in a "magic bus" in an RV park. We do not drive fancy new luxury sedans or expensive European sports cars.

Yet we don't live like poor people. Not with his massive 52" TV that we didn't charge to a credit card. Not with his truck and its maintenance expenses. His truck and its maintenance expenses look more like they belong on the books of some wealthy rancher or some shit. So I offered up an alternative to "poor" as a descriptive word for how we live. We live rather "simply".

By no means are we the Cody Lundins of the world. Yet we do live rather simply. We live in under 300 square feet of living space. My little Honda was bought used, and is paid for. We don't have movie channels, gym memberships, monthly spa or salon appointments, European vacations, or country club memberships.

Living in an RV was a very conscious, deliberate choice for us. We got tired of renting from homeowners who suddenly decided to put the house on the market (in the worst real estate environment since the Great Depression) and we decided that at least an RV would be ours and no one could take it from us.

It's not like we live in a FEMA trailer. This is a big ass bus-type RV, like rock stars or retired baby boomers tour in. It has all the comforts of a real home except it's missing a "sit down and soak" bathtub.

It is ours. And unless we miss the payment, no one can take it from us.

As we were preparing to move in, I began to panic at the thought of all the "stuff" I wouldn't be able to bring with me into our new home. After all, I had three closets and one armoire full of clothes and shoes and lots of books and CDs and DVDs and "stuffz" that I just had to have.

Turns out I don't miss that shit at all. If I haven't missed it in the year we've been living like this, I didn't need it to begin with.

I now have a lot less clothing, and yet, each piece that I have is something I love. It took some hard choices to get to this point, and a lot of people made fun of the drama I created for myself as I made those choices. Today, my Mr. Sunshine has more clothing than I do. I promise.

It all reminds me of my friend Ceci, who is definitely a bit of a social butterfly/jetsetter, and what she said to me as she was getting ready to jet off to Paris this past spring. "Don't take this the wrong way, Cindy, but your life is so much simpler than mine. I envy you that sometimes." I didn't take it the wrong way. I got what she meant.

12 step recovery has helped me understand what is really important in life. Things like self acceptance, the wisdom that comes with 40 years of life experience, living in the moment, and the joys of connecting with another human being on a heart level.

I am only thinking of all of this because I am cleaning out the closet today. It's not like I needed to clean up my shit because it was taking over the house.

More like, Mr. Sunshine's shit was taking over the house. In his defense, it's not like he is hoarding weird shit that he'll never use. It's just that his hunting gear is starting to make our magic bus look more like a hunting camp than a home.

And I can't stand that. I am the child of a compulsive cleaner. I am most decidedly not a compulsive cleaner; I'm a minimalist. The less stuff there is in a house, the less stuff there is to collect dust and therefore need to be cleaned. The less stuff there is in a house, the less stuff there is to have to organize and pick up and stow away.

In the year that we have lived here, I can't tell you how much stuff I have gotten rid of that I didn't necessarily want to get rid of. And yet, the more shit Mr. Sunshine brings into the magic bus, the less room there is in the magic bus.

This is where the 12 steps, age, wisdom, and experience come into play. This is where I notice the advantages of being on the "wrong" side of 40.

Because in the end, all that shit, all that stuffz, it isn't important. Not to me. And the more "stuffz" I get rid of, the less "stuffz" there is standing between me and myself.

So, this morning, I am trying to find a way to hide Mr. Sunshine's stuffz from view. Which means that I am cleaning out the closet a bit, because I do have quite a few shoes that could do with some hiding.

Is it unfair that I keep getting rid of my stuffz so that Mr. Sunshine can keep bringing his stuffz into the magic bus? Sure. But who the fuck ever said life was going to be fair?

And in the end, I'll know that I am continuing to lose my attachment to stuffz. Which is a pretty awesome side effect of being on the "wrong" side of 40.

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