After my husband and I finished our big trip around the world, we settled down in the San Francisco area, a very expensive place to live. My husband had decided to change to a new line of work, so the pressure was on for me to find a position that would cover our costs until he got established.
As I started sending out resumes / CVs, I received a lot of feedback that I shouldn’t mention our 3 years away. That it would diminish my job opportunities. Confusingly enough, I also received feedback that I needed to address the three-year gap in my resume. The San Francisco tech market was super competitive at that time, so I began to fear I’d never find a job that would come close to covering our expenses.
I decided that worrying wouldn’t land me that perfect job, so I did everything I could to shush the nagging voice in my head and got creative. I looked at all kinds of positions. I ended up finding a temporary position where they were looking for my exact set of experiences. They didn’t care about the three-year gap in the least. When that position finished, I found another, and eventually I found the position I held for five years before taking up travel full time again.
My biggest learning was to ignore that voice in my head and plow forward, one step at a time. Once I did that, all the pieces started falling into place. I learned sometimes I just have to believe and step into the darkness, knowing all would work out in the end.
What about you? What fears have you overcome? What helped you overcome that fear?
8 years ago we decided to relocate and downsize from a 4 bedroom house to a small 2 bedroom apartment with very limited storage space. We sold or gave away more than 75% of our belongings. Very scary at the start with “what if we need that…?”. We haven’t missed any of our “stuff” and feel so much lighter and free. We channeled The Minimalists and Marie Kondo!
The scariest part was destroying all of our boxes of photos after we had scanned and saved them to the cloud and a digital photo frame. We even ripped apart our very expensive 30 year old wedding album to scan the photos then dumped the lot! We hadn’t looked at those photos for for more than 10 years as they had been packed in boxes, stored in a cupboard. Now we see them every day on the digital photo frame! It brings us daily joy.
A very good idea to scan all your photos @Crookie. I must do that when I return to my home as I’ve got loads of photo albums. If I could scan all my books then convert them back into a proper book one at a time that would clear about 12 boxes! I did upload a lot of my cds onto a desktop computer once but then couldn’t bear to get rid of the cds!
@Smiley it’s amazing how emotionally attached we are to our material stuff. People say “but they are our memories”. But no, our memories are in our heads and hearts, not in the material baggage we carry around for our whole lives. Imagine, if we lost all our possessions in a fire or natural distaster, we wouldn’t lose our memories as they are safely kept inside of us. We don’t need to hump around all our stuff! It’s so liberating to off load most of it!
Thank you @Smiley and @Crookie! Releasing things accumulated over the years can be an intimidating task, especially old pictures. But, as you said @Crookie, the freedom it creates can be amazing. I love that not only did you not lose your memories, but you actually gained the ability to see them whenever and wherever you want. That’s wonderful!
Couldn’t agree more. We down sized from six bedroomed detached house to two bedroom cottage to 40 foot boat. All my memories (along with a lot of clothes) are locked inside a double wardrobe in our now two bedroom flat which is let out.
I miss nothing. I gave away all my “heirlooms “ to the people who would have gotten them anyway
@Debbie-L it’s not hard when you re-shape your thinking. For me, it wasn’t about destroying photos but making hidden photos more accessible. After we were married and went on our honeymoon we never got our wedding album and honeymoon photos out and looked at them, ever (we’d been married 28 years when we downsized). Now we see them nearly every day on rhe digital frame. It stops us as we walk past and we marvel at them. It made the photo destruction very easy!
Another fun way to get rid of stuff is to play The Minimalists’ 30 day minimalism game. Partner up with someone, pick a month and on the 1st day of the month throw out or donate or gift 1 thing. Easy peasy! On the 2nd get rid of 2 things, on the 3rd 3 things and so on each day until you get to the 30th of the month. You have to choose a time of the day when the things must be out of your house by. By mid month it starts getting hard, 15 things on the 15th, 20 things on the 20th. Whoever gets the furthest wins. It’s amazing how much stuff you get rid of if you make it to the 30th!
@Crookie I love the idea of the Minimalist Game. It would in many ways be easier to do it the other way around (30 items day 1, 29 on day 2,…), but I know that’s not the point. The question is, did you make it all the way through day 30? Did your “opponent”?
@Karen_E I did make it all the way through. I had a box that I through things in to as I came across them during the 30 day challenge. For instance, if it was the 5th of the month and I had more than 5 items I wanted to get rid of, then I threw the extras in to the box. This helped for later in the month when the bigger numbers were required. I made it to the end by being very ruthless by asking myself “is it useful?”, if yes then “had I used it in the last 2 years?”. If the thing didn’t get 2 yeses it was out the door. I’ve done the challenge twice over the last 5 years and made it to the end both times. I didn’t have a competitor, I just stayed true to myself. It’s amazing how much stuff still gets squirrelled away “just in case” and then never gets used!
1.) I was a little more scared of falling into a too-restrictive comfort zone. Nothing overtly wrong with sticking with what you’re truly comfortable with after having tried a lot of things, but I didn’t think I gave dog-sitting enough of a chance before saying it wasn’t for me. I had only minimal experience with it and didn’t find it that pleasant before and even horrible one time with two small dogs who were very aggressive on walks towards other animals. I am glad I gave it another chance with a good experience, even though I still very much lean towards cats and perhaps other indoor or on-property pets to suit my lifestyle and preferences.
2.) The owners assured me how chill the dogs were, even on walks.
3.) Only needing to walk the dogs once a day with them at most was something that put me at ease as opposed to 3-4x a day.
I’ve downsized in stages and I’ve gained more confidence to follow a minimalist path. I’m now down to a car, full of boxes of ‘stuff’ I need and a storage shed with less and less being stored. I house sit full time and love the freedom of not being hindered by ‘stuff’. I’m now sorting photos and digitising the ones I want to keep.
@crookie - I did the same thing November/December last year. I either sold or gave away everything & was left with 4 bags. 2 are back in Aus with a friend with the important stuff (photos I haven’t got around scanning yet & travel momentos) & 2 I started traveling with. A backpack & medium wheelie bag of what I thought I couldn’t live without & now I’m down to a small wheelie bag & backpack, as even that was too much! Atleast my luggage will never be lost as they are both carry on size! It’s the most liberating feeling giving away & being free of all that stuff. I didn’t have a lot to begin with, so it wasn’t too hard for me & I recommend everybody to do it atleast once or downsize.