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For as long as I could remember, I have been the ultimate consumer.

I bought a full wardrobe each season…I couldn’t get enough shoes, handbags, or jewelry. To say that shopping was a way of life for me is an understatement.

Lately, I’m feeling different.

I’ve been on the journey to a more minimalist lifestyle and found a voice in one of the most unlikely places–Douglas Coupland.

I loved reading Generation X when I was in high school. I was born near the end of the X generation…and his wry sense of humor regarding consumption and the rejection of all things our predecessors held dear spoke to me.

“After you’re dead and buried and floating around whatever place we go to, what’s going to be your best memory of earth? What one moment for you defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet. What’s your takeaway? Fake yuppie experiences that you had to spend money on, like white water rafting or elephant rides in Thailand don’t count. I want to hear some small moment from your life that proves you’re really alive.”
Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

My close friends would put a cool hand to my forehead and ask if I have lost my mind. It’s possible that I might have actually found it.

I grew up with little and made my way through college only to blow my salary on cars and clothes…everything was rapid consumption. Fast…Faster…More.

I married a guy that could not care less for material items and even though it took over  a decade of him loving me to feel like a real person instead of a clothes rack…I am getting there.

Where is there?

“There” is feeling defined by more than “stuff”. It’s learning to do something besides shop and to rediscover my mind. Being a custodian of “stuff” robs you of time doing better things.

I find more pleasure in reading, writing, drawing, taking as long as I want to look at nature…or feel the sleepy breath of my children as they drowse off beside me.

Joy means taking a hike with the kids on a weekend and being so far away from technology that we spend our silence on a sun warmed rock listening to crickets. The Japanese have a word for it shinrin-yoku–or forest bathing. There is a definite healing property to being outside, under a canopy of trees that brings peace to our over stimulated souls.

I leave you with Thoreau: It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.