Over Thanksgiving I spent some time thinking of all the things I’m thankful for. As I did, a lifetime of wonderful memories began to flood in. I remembered vacations to visit my grandparents. I remembered trips with my family to new and exciting places. Boat rides and fishing trips. Camping in tents and camping in an RV. I remember traveling to Disney with my parents and grandparents. I remember my very first time sledding in the snow. Trips to the beach, swimming, snorkeling, or looking for shells.
After a short time of thinking about my very best memories, I very quickly realized that all these memories are activities, events, or experiences. Experiences created a lifetime of wonderful memories. I can’t think of a single instance where a thing, and item, or some stuff created any memory that even comes close in comparison.
Last night, I watched “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Wowee, that thing was a tear jerker. I suspected it was a chick flick, but the whole time travel thing sucked me in. I mean, what guy doesn’t like time travel. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet, but it got me thinking about my family. I suppose tear jerkers are meant to do that.
I considered what things would be like if I were no longer here. Either due to zipping off through time, getting abducted by aliens, or by death. I’m not afraid of any of these things, and of these things the only certainty is death. I’m not afraid to die, but I am afraid of all the experiences my daughter would miss out on. I hate to think that an untimely death could easily whisk away many of the experiences our family has in store. I can’t bear the thought of her missing out on sharing experiences with me or my wife.
Rolling together the most important memories in my own life and the thought of the relatively short time we have in life, I’m reassured that we are on the right track. To purge useless things from our live to make more room for experiences. To move from our house into a smaller and more affordable apartment so that we can free up time and money for more experiences.
As my daughter grows up, I don’t want her only memories to be of a house we lived in and a car we drove. She won’t remember a fancy TV or beautiful furniture. She won’t even remember most of the toys she played with.
As my daughter grows up, she will remember the experiences we created together as a family. She’ll remember our vacations, trips to theme parks and beaches, cruises to exotic locations, and trips by plane, train, or car. These will be the memories that stick with her.
While we continue to purge and work towards our goal of reducing our stuff to fit into an apartment, I know we’re on the right track. I know that all our stuff will eventually be forgotten and all the only memories that will remain are those surrounding experiences and adventures. This is what I want from a minimalistic life. I want minimalism to grant me a greater ability to create memories and experiences.