ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Trial by fire: A personal story of minimalism…

Updated on August 8, 2012

For many years I have looked with awe upon those brave individuals attempting to simplify life through what is called minimalism. Over the years I have read countless books and watched numerous documentaries extolling the benefits of purging our life of material items and in turn distractions and conveniences of life that detract from what is really important. Although fascinated with the concept and practice I shelved the dedicated practice as one I could not afford to investigate at the present time. As a single mother attending college at 47 with 3 teens still at home I figured my life was simply complicated enough without out stirring the pot. Additionally, given the fact that we live on an income of under $ 800 a month how much more could we really cut. However there are those times the universe steps in and allows you to investigate options you may have been afraid to try before. This is the case for me and my family

It all started three months ago one balmy, summer day.


A fire of undetermined origin started under the deck of the rental trailer I’d moved to when returning to college. Dry conditions from the lack of rain in the Midwest sparked a fire of unknown origin driven by 45 mile an hour winds the side of the house went up in less than 5 minutes. In the house at the time we barely escaped with our lives. The fire was devastating in its destruction of our personal property, destroying everything we owned through either the heat or smoke damage. I and my children escaped with the clothes on our backs, and a laptop but most importantly our lives. After a crisis of this magnitude one finds themselves reassessing life. The source of the fire was never determined insurance pay outs stalled and forced to move into 2 bedroom trailer we had no choice but to judge every item with a critical eye. Personally, I realized how many of the possessions we owned were inconsequential to my daily life and how much easier life actually is without them. From dishes to clothing I ruthlessly judged each new item brought into the house with an eye to storage and usefulness.

Given the lack of options interest in “Minimalistic living “was not only renewed but pursued at a near maniacal sense of need, I rediscovered the creative spark of ingenuity nurtured over the years as a mother of 6 proving the old adage: “necessity is the mother of invention”. I have redefined my definition of necessary and found ways to economize, and save I’d never considered. I have given up my high tech cell phone for a simpler model, unhooked the internet, switched to a grey water system, and made my own soap. I cut not only our monthly expenses to under $ 500 a month but learned the benefits of a simpler life.

Minimalism may not be for everyone, for instance my 3 grown children and teens think I am insane or at the very least going through some sort of post traumatic psychosis. However, I am finding that the simpler I make my life in the little ways, the more energy I have to devote to other pursuits. I find myself writing more, exercising more, spending more time with my family and friends. Additionally, my house is cleaner and more organized as is my life, hell my grades even improved. In fact, life has changed so dramatically for the better my devotion to minimalism has become a passion.

In the end, as with many major crisis’ in life , there can be found an equal measure of good and bad in any experience , if we look hard enough and accept the big and little disasters of life. Opportunities sometimes may only be considered when all other options are cut off. Lessons that allow us to view ourselves and the world in new and exciting ways that ultimately carry with it the hope of expanding our viewpoint to include options we may have not considered before.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      6 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and thanks for sharing .

      I now look forward to many more to come by you.

      Eddy.

    • diplorging profile image

      diplorging 

      6 years ago from Serbia

      Congratulations for your positive attitude. One of the greatest gifts in the world is to be able to look everything from the brighter side. I will also move to the smaller appartmant soon, and I'm working on my minimalisam habits. I wish you all the best and hope I will be like you soon.

    • wendi_w profile imageAUTHOR

      wendi_w 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Taleb80, trying to see the brighter side is an important life skill . Honestly with 6 children and the chaos that comes along with them , there are times it was all I had ! I hope I continue to be able to entertain

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      6 years ago

      Sure, I will be interested to read more about your experience.

      You have a nice way to turn a negativity into a positivity.

      Thanks

    • wendi_w profile imageAUTHOR

      wendi_w 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you billy, although the fire was an experience I don't want to repeat anytime in the near future .. or ever. I believe that sometimes experiences come into our lives at just the right time and in this case I think it is giving me the opportunity to refashion my life more in line with my ideals. Sometimes you just need that little push and for me that is exactly what the fire did.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, you are speaking my language here! I loved this hub and although I'm sorry about the fire I love the way you handled things.

    • wendi_w profile imageAUTHOR

      wendi_w 

      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Taleb80 I appreciate not only the feedback but the sharing. If you are interested I intend to do a few more articles along this theme, such as How to help a friend or loved one after disaster , and a few more on the simple living theme that will include how and what I did as well as the money earned.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your braveness & wisdom through this tragedy so much.

      You encouraged me to do many corrections in my life.

      I tweeted it & shared with followers & voting Up and more.

      You are a great Mom, your children should be proud of you.

      Thanks

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)