What do you get the girl who doesn’t have much, but wants even less? When Christmas comes around, what do you do when the only items on her wish list are more than five hundred dollars? Solar panels, self-steering, anchor chain… Perhaps a basket of soaps and lotions from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. All girls like that, right?
Wrong. Not this girl.
Living on a boat has certainly taught me more about the difference between wants, needs, and really really wants, especially because to much abundance becomes a burden rather than a blessing. Before I bought my boat I lived in a small one-bedroom apartment with large closets and an attic storage space. I had a lot of stuff. Two closets of clothes, a kitchen full of Fiestaware, four shoeboxes filled with old letters, a framed painting or photo hung on every wall and more. I hadn’t bought my boat yet, but I decided to make it my goal to downsize to only an amount of stuff that would fit in my car. Backseat and trunk only (because Dory rides shotgun), no roofrack allowed. Inspired by my housefire and the following year of traveling and living out of a duffle bag, I wanted less and knew I would be happier with less.
Now, totally comfortable and living on my boat, feeling content with the “things” in my life, what did I get for Christmas that won’t end up for sale at the local thrift store?
1) Food. I simply cannot live without it. In fact, I’m snacking on some delicious holiday treats right now as I write this.
2) A Dory pillowcase. I have only one pillow, and now I have two pillowcases. But since my other pillowcase has a hole in it that I hadn’t gotten around to sewing up, the Dory pillowcase was a perfect gift.
3) I hesitate to share with you the third. This is a “simplicity” blog after all, and I’ve already been called a fraud for living on a nice boat and owning a computer when I should be spending my days fishing for food, churning butter, and weaving fabric for clothes.
But for someone who is trying to shed life’s excess, I can indulge on occasion, can’t I? Besides it was a gift….a non-returnable gift. Its not an option to exchange this for something lasting and durable like tools for my boat or even money to start a savings account. And I don’t know anyone else who would want this item and has a birthday coming up. So, this gift is mine. All mine.
I’ve been told that its my only vice. Knowing exactly what a vice is, I looked it up in the dictionary anyway, hoping to find a meaning that suits me. But all I found was “immoral or wicked behavior” and “a weakness of character or behavior.” I started writing this blog to share my exploration of simple living, sailing, and happiness and have many inspired reactions. People write to me asking for advice, telling me their story of downsizing, and being very supportive and encouraging. In that light, perhaps this is a weakness and I will disappoint those people. Or, perhaps I’m just enjoying the simple things in life like:
MUSIC THAT MAKES ME SING AND DANCE
You tell me.
I’m going to a Britney Spears concert.