Friday, October 23, 2009

"I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately..."

" front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

In July of 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into his self-built one room cabin to begin his experiment in simplicity, Many thought that Thoreau was taking a tremendous step backward in doing so, leaving behind the comforts and conveniences of life at the time, but it was through the experiment that Thoreau was really able to live his Transcendental ideals. Thoreau is the father of American conservationism, a philospher, a naturalist--and all of these roles came to him largely because of the voice he found in his time at Walden.

Well, we too are now embarking on a little experiment of our own. It may seem like a big step backward, but we hope it will give us the perspective we need to find the right way to do things--we are sort of hitting the reset button on our lives. Today, we moved back in with my parents. Yep, a couple of twenty-somethings with two kids and we are back in with mom and dad for the next few weeks. There are some other reasons for this, but suffice it to say that we needed the distance from our own home to decide what stuff we need, and what stuff we need to let go of.

Today we packed up the things that we knew were absolute necessities to get us through the next weeks--beds, clothes, toiletries, etc, and we moved into my parents' guest room. We have been planning this for a couple of months, but when we walked into our home today with the real intent of only taking our most basic necessities, I was surprised at how much our perspective had already changed. It's remarkable what can happen when you get a new perspective; it really is like getting a fresh pair of eyes.  As we moved from room to room, gathering essentials, it was almost surreal to move among the many piles and boxes of stored up junk, knowing that we would be leaving them behind--and even more, it didn't bother me one bit.

Last night, after the babies were safely tucked away in bed at my parents' house, my husband and I went home to start separating out the junk. We decided it would be best to tackle one room at a time, moving from one side to the other and sorting things into three piles: toss, keep, and sell/donate. We managed to get the living room done--all 15x12 feet of it. And we hauled away 4 bags of garbage--four industrial sized bags of garbage. I don't even know how that happens. I don't even know where it all came from. But I know that I am OVER it. I know that every bag of trash thrown out, or every box of items to donate, lifts a weight off my shoulders I didn't even know was there. We still have a long way to go (and another huge yard sale coming up, if you need anything...), but we are slowly plodding along.

I took some pictures yesterday. My husband, who generally tends to shy away from influencing the blog in anyway said sharply as I was doing so, "You better not stick these on the internet." We'll see if I get brave enough. But either way, I will keep them and they will serve as a reminder to me to NEVER get back to this place again.

So, just as Thoreau required separation to live out his life in the order he craved, we are doing the same. I find his statement fits us in just the same way: We went back home because we wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if we could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when we came to die, discover that we had not lived.


  1. I just wanted to let you know that I'm following your blog, you've inspired me to get Walden out of the bookcase, and our garage is rapidly filling with garage sale items. I found you on TBW :).

  2. Thank you so much for your comment! I am so glad to hear that I have helped at least a little! Let me know how your garage sale goes!


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