TBT: Good Old Days

This week I’m spending time with fabulous people I’ve known for a long time, some more than a dozen years.  We’ve got a lot of history together, some good, some bad, some funny, some embarrassing.  When we first meet up, we catch up on what’s new in everyone’s lives, what their families are up to, all the pertinent details. Once we’ve worked through all that, we start reminiscing about the past, sharing stories, maybe a little trash talking, and hilarity ensues.  We remember those times fondly, with a sort of wistfulness, because things are so different today then they were then.

We often look back on the past with affection, things were simpler then, better, not the way they are today.  Yet it’s only the passing of time that gives us that perspective – in reality, those good old days really weren’t that good, at least not in the way it seems at this moment. 

A wise counselor once told me – as I was lamenting that I just wanted things to go back the way they used to be – that she doesn’t help people go back, she only helps them move forward.  At the time, those words really irritated me, how could she not understand that I was happy back then and I wanted that feeling back?!  Again, it’s only the perspective of time that has made me realize that the life I wanted back was not without issues or problems, it’s simply that they were familiar and I had built coping mechanisms for them that were comfortable. I didn’t have that same luxury with the current problems and issues I was facing. 

It’s these realizations that illustrate so clearly to me how nothing has changed since Biblical times.  God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt – they were free!  But were they thankful for their freedom? 

Numbers 11:4 – 6. . . the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

In addition to their freedom, all of their physical needs are met.  They have silver and gold that was given to them by their Egyptian neighbors.  But they are wailing because things just aren’t the way they used to be.  They’d forgotten their harsh treatment as slaves, how the king had ordered the murder of all of their sons – they only remembered the free food from the all-you-can-eat buffet. 

So it is with me.  I tend to want to go back to what was before because it’s much more comfortable than the hard thing I’m going through or the uncertainty of what might happen in the future.  I want what’s familiar because I’m under the delusion that in this familiarity I might have some semblance of control.

It’s been great to be able to relive the history of my relationship with these fine people, but what I’ve enjoyed even more are the new memories that we’ve made together this week.  We can’t go back to what we had before, but we can forge ahead and create a new thing.

Do you find yourself wishing you could go back to a certain point in time and stay there?  Maybe it’s time to walk away from the past and venture into the unknown that just might be the promised land. 

The 20 Best List

Last week I talked about the top ten things we should change if we want to become conscious consumers.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to the 20 Best Companies based on overall social and environmental records.  If you already use these products, the earth and its inhabitants thank you!  If not, please consider making a change today.

  12. CLIF BAR
  15. DANSKO

Minimalist Bloggers

Not so long ago, everything I owned fit into a Town and Country minivan.  That’s a story for another time, but in just a few short months I filled a one bedroom, then a two bedroom home, with a few things stashed in a storage shed.  Yes, I probably needed some of those things, but certainly not all of them, in fact, some of them remained unused for quite some time. 

The past several months I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about minimalism and how people are choosing to have fewer material goods, the results of which are spending less money, less maintenance, less cleaning, and more time for the things that are truly important.  You can read a little about what I’ve been up to here.

Let me introduce you to a few of the folks who inspire me.

Leo Babauta: Zen Habits

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.

It also happens to be one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world, with more than a million monthly readers, and is uncopyrighted. Zen Habits features a couple powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus: The Minimalists

New to minimalism? New to our website? Welcome aboard! There’s a lot of info here, and you certainly don’t have to read it all at once, but here’s the order we suggest for beginners. Start below, find topics that add value to your life, and take your time. There’s nothing wrong with moving slowly.

Joshua Becker: Becoming Minimalist

Welcome to Becoming Minimalist. If you are new, welcome! We are honored to have hundreds of thousands of regular readers, and brand new readers every day. If that’s you, welcome. I’d love to make your experience here as comfortable as possible.

Rachel Jonat: Minimalist Mom

The Minimalist Mom started as a place for me to document my family’s journey to a minimalist lifestyle. Fed up with clutter stealing our dollars and time, I took the plunge in September of 2010 and donated, sold and recycled five car loads worth of house wares, electronics, clothing and furniture. Months later my husband was offered an overseas job opportunity. We sold all of our furniture and donated another car load of belongings before moving.