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Giving It Up

I had a dream the other night that I was an old woman living out of a van, and I was perfectly happy about that. I think in my soul I am a bit of a gypsy. When I was younger I neve could stand staying in the same place for more than a six month span. I craved changed, flux. I still do, but I'm rooted now, with kids and a husband and a beautiful home. I will probably never move again, and I'm very happy about that. But about once a year my gypsy blood sings and I listen. I hunger for les stuff, less trappings, less roots. I want to pack my family into a camper and work our way across the country in campgrounds along the way. I want to disconnect from all of our de-vices and stop paying attention to the insane news channels. I want to stop seeing selfies on facebook and twitter self-promotions disguised as human interests. I want to discard everything and start over with the most basic of uniforms and housing. I want to have six sets of the same outfit so I don't have to choose what I will wear. I want to discard everything from my pantry that was processed into a cardboard box at a factory and start anew with dried beans and rice and a million spices. I want to plot out and plant my garden. I want to disconnect from the power grid and embrace my inner hippie.

Couldn't we all do with less? Absolutely. We could have many fewer clothes, many fewer possessions and I wonder if that would be the key to a calm soul. My husband and I are not in acquisistion mode, we are not adding to our collections, but we still have so much stuff. It's just amazing. I was looking for a table cloth over the weekend and in the search I opened a drawer that I haven't opened in probably a year. It was full of shirts, t-shirts with logos and slogans that I haven't thought of since I placed them there and haven't worn in even longer. I don't wear t-shirts, but there is a whole drawer in my house set aside to store them. I think that's crazy. We don't need so much stuff!

My husband took me and the girls out to dinner last night to celebrate Valentine's Day, a completely commercial holiday, designed to sell cards and flowers in the lull after Christmas, commercialism on steroids. But we have a lot of love in our home and we will celebrate love. During the conversation he asked what we were going to give up for Lent, and after the easy answers I continued thinking about that, because I am already in my gypsy mindset. What am I going to give up, truly? My weekly adult beverage? Facebook, Twitter, politics? Sure, of course, that's easy. I don't require any of that. But there is more, What could I give up, of all the stuff I've accumulated? A drawer full of unloved, unused t-shirts for a start. I asked the question on Facebook (which I'm not giving up) and one person said they were going to start a collection and add one thing every day to donate to the Salvation Army at the end. I loved that idea.

I'm going to do that, too. I'm going to start with the drawer of t-shirts and go from there. At the end of forty days I'll post a picture of all the stuff I let go of this year. I challenge each and every one of you to do the same. Release that which does not bring you joy, surround yourselves only with what you need, what makes you whole.

From my Gypsy self to yours, let it go.

income ratio for all my projects. I vow every year to make an effort toward frugality, and every year I somehow manage to fall short.

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