Changing Your Life

Is Minimalizing the Key?

When 2016 rolled around, Shannon and I were considering a move and buying a home in Hawaii. That’s a mouthful because homes are anything but cheap across the Pacific. However, with my father now residing at the Veteran’s Hospital in Hilo, we wanted to be close. The good news was that the Big Island is where you can buy a more moderately-priced home on the islands.

My parents were always my best friends. I could call them, or visit, and talk about any problems and get sound advice. Or we would sit on the deck and eat cashews and drink soda. Whatever.

We lost my mom in what seemed like a heartbeat. She had cancer but was doing better after surgery, so instead of spending all my time with her, I selfishly did as I always did: a visit here, a phone call there. And then she was gone.

I didn’t want that to happen with my Dad. He was a fascinating guy, very bright (Naval officer, Master’s Degree), and always positive and generous. After he retired, he learned the names of hundreds of plants at Kauai’s Allerton Garden, the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai’s South Shore. It’s a fantastic place, and he volunteered there and gave 1.5-mile guided tours around the grounds. He studied, he walked, he still got whacked by Alzheimer’s.

I hated to think about him alone on Hawaii Island. He had earned more than I was giving and he didn’t deserve to be alone in a VA home. It’s never too late to be a better friend, and although I loved my job, it was just time. The girls all agreed to a move to the islands.

Aside from any ideas about keeping our jobs on the mainland (or finding a way to work in Hawaii), the logistical problems of getting to the islands with all our stuff were daunting. How do you pack and move a household of memories across the ocean? We got a quote on a 40-foot cargo container: $7900. Yikes.

Yes, we had some issues: too much junk and clutter.

We spent our lives believing we needed all this stuff; and if we didn’t have it, we should get it. The pictures show just a few of our “things.” And what about the piano, the yard furniture, washer and dryer, etc.? A ship would probably sink with all our junk. So, with the options of sink or swim, we decided to minimalize, which is also known as the old cut-and-run. Time to unload.

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