How do you want to live?

We create the person we become with each decision we make

Orchids on my dining table

Orchids on my dining table

We create the person we become with each decision we make, and in 2000 one of my decisions became to keep only what I truly need.

Having quit my NYC fashion job, I went mountain hiking in New Zealand…and was the only person who arrived on the group hike with (gasp) a suitcase. The others looked at my large suitcase with mild curiosity, but my strategy was simple: I would take what I thought I needed in my backpack and leave the rest in my suitcase in the truck.

I soon found out that what I thought I needed was far more than I really needed.

By the end of the 10-day hike I found out that all I truly needed was the clothing on my back plus the dry set of clothing and shoes in my backpack. Oh, and dental floss for oral hygiene. That’s it.

The lesson changed my life, and my rule of thumb became “I only take what I can easily carry.”

That philosophy has since been carried into my life and tells you how I live. It means I think for a long time IF I really need something before I buy it. I also think about how that item ties into the bigger experience of living in my home.

My home is minimalist…but not spartan. It reflects the uncomplicated life that I live, as I keep only the physical things I use regularly plus a few sentimental items. So few are the sentimental objects that I could carry them with me if my home were on fire and I only had a few seconds to grab them before running out. And of course, there are flowers and art in my home to provide beauty.

I consider myself the curator of what’s in my home. A curator is both a keeper and custodian. In other words, a curator both decides what is important and takes care of the maintenance. I want my life to be simple yet beautiful. Serene.

And hey, I want to live and enjoy my life...and not be surrounded by needless clutter.

Orchids on my dining table

Orchids on my dining table

The funny thing is that since adopting this way of life I get so much more enjoyment out of everything I have, even though there is so much less. Letting go of what I don’t really need has been the biggest blessing. (Kitty Izzy thinks so, too.)

Kitty Izzy relaxing on the dining table.

Kitty Izzy relaxing on the dining table.

As a longtime friend and client of my husband said about one of his North Pole expeditions:

“Think first about what you want...
to leave behind.”

So now it's your turn. What do you want your life to look like?

Here's the summary:

1. Decide your priorities.
2. Make room for the new.
3. Let go (of everything else).
4. Remember the happy parts of your life.
5. Celebrate every step.

"We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." — Joseph Campbell