Lewis 2.0 – The Mandatory Upgrade

We are moving from our house to a 2 bedroom apartment and for me it’s a bit of a deep dive about what I want out of life and why I’m here on the planet. A lot of people I know are wondering why — insanity, mid life crisis? Perhaps,  but I believe it is a continuing invention of self, a new vision, an update.  Lewis 2.0.

Lewis 2.0 is step one in a probable series of downgrades. Sage and I are of the age where we are supposed to increase our footprint on the earth.  We’re supposed to make more money, have more kids, move into a bigger house, remodel it, buy a dog and sit still for 20 years.

Well, we’ve talked about it and it’s just not our thing.  Nothing wrong with it, mind you, it’s just going to slowly suffocate us. We’ve isolated what brings us joy and it is the idea of personal freedom – freedom to be spontaneous, free time to think, free time to experience new places and ideas.  Even if freedom is an illusion, we are most content when our lives are flexible.

We cannot experience this freedom if we’re tied to our stuff. We are on a mission to unload. This means saying goodbye to lots of things that have emotional attachment. That, for me, has been spiritual work, but it is dealing with Indy that has brought out the real tough stuff.

Most notably: How dare I?  How dare I impose my bizarre material downsizing agenda on a kid? We all do it, this agenda on kid thing, but when the agenda goes against the grain instead of with it, it can seem unfair. Making a child’s life too different, on purpose, is viewed as irresponsible.

So what do you think?  As Sage and I pursue our dreams to live free from material things and stay flexible to travel, etc., are we denying Indy essential normalcy of childhood?  Is normalcy a gift? A right? A curse? When is a human allowed to choose their own agenda?  Am I denying Indy his freedom to obtain my own? And on what grounds do I impose this change, this minimization, in Indy’s life? Religious zealots can say it’s God’s will, but this is my will, plain and simple.

See you in my new location.

10 Comments

  1. Wow Deb, thanks! Okay, I will share the “whys” with him. Great advice.

  2. For people of your generation and especially for your children, objects are print-outs. They’re best understood as print-outs. They’re not treasures, they’re not things you want, they’re not things to stockpile, they’re not material wealth, they’re basically frozen social relationships. That’s what these chairs are, and this building, and that duct tape and the rest of it.

    Now, you’re going to have a lot fewer things, but the actual quality of your life will skyrocket! If you have real shoes. Real underwear. Women, if you use actual cosmetics instead of shoplifting cheap cosmetics, because you’re deeply conflicted about your impulses. Go ahead, it’s on your lips, it’s on your eyelids, get real cosmetics.

    I’m going to explain to you how you do this, because it’s a hard karma. I’ve done it three times, I’m an author, I’m pursued by books, things accumulate. Periodically I have to scrape the barnacles off, but it’s doable. It’s doable and it’s very hackerly.

    First you need to make lists. Hackers love lists. A chart. You can make a flowchart. Flowchart it if it makes you any happier.

    Four variety of items: Beautiful things; emotionally important things; tools, devices and appliances that efficiently perform some useful function; and category four, everything else.

    Transcript. Video.

  3. I think it’s totally fair. You’re not doing anything that could *hurt* him. You’re specializing–making your family’s life into the life you want your family to have. That’s what all families should strive to do together. So many people do what’s “normal” because they either have never thought to think beyond it, to question which parts of it they like vs. don’t like, or because they’re afraid of taking the risks involved in deviating, even if they know what they don’t like. I agree with your friend who said the important thing is to keep him included in your thinking. When he’s older, he might want to make some different choices, and then it’ll be up to your family as a group of 3 decision-makers to re-assess and decide what works best for all of you then, but right now, he’s still pretty small, and he’s mostly learning the world through his parents still, which means it’s not only your right, it’s your JOB to do your best to show him the world as you honestly see it.

  4. Have I ever told you how peculiar I felt as a child because my parents made our sandwiches on wheat bread instead of white, we took violin lessons on Saturday morning instead of soccer, we didn’t wear name brand jeans, we camped instead of Disneying, and we even (gasp) experimented with carob in lieu of sugar? My parents were living out their values and the only mistake they made was not imparting the “why” behind those decisions to us. Had they done so, I’m guessing I would have felt way better about our circumstances. Way better.

    You, too, are living out your values. Based on my experience, you don’t need to apologize to him or question whether you are denying him something– you simply need to talk regularly about the “why” behind your decisions. In doing so, you will impart your values to him and doing him a tremendous service. Cause no doubt, my friend, your values rock.

  5. I’ve thought a lot about what you’ve said here, Jennifer.

    The suffering that is on the planet this very moment is incomprehensible. It’s so many millions of people that it becomes impossible to even make a dent in it. Not to mention a logistical nightmare with warlords who steal aid that should go to their people.

    That said, I often wonder what one of these young people talks about at night with their friends. Do they talk about America? Do they talk about what they would do if they lived in America? I bet some of them do.

    I think they might say things like: I’d get a big car. I’d eat so much until I threw up and then I’d eat some more. I’d go to Disney World. I’d live in a house that I couldn’t even stay in all the rooms. I’d play video games. I’d surf the Internet all day.

    In a certain way, I believe by taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities America gives us, we are honoring those dreams.

    We should help the poor. But we can’t even help all the poor in our own city, much less the entire world.

    Living a big life with big things is a way of honoring those who can’t and the world which made it possible. And for the religious of you… it is honoring what God has given you.

  6. And the Memorial Day weekend garage sale is going to be off the HOOK! Just sayin’
    🙂

  7. Thanks Heidi! You make perfect sense. I do hope he still feels grounded. And doesn’t hate me forever for condensing his little life.

  8. 3 cheers to you guys! I think you are freeing yourselves and Indy from the grips of our society and opening up doors and avenues (and freeing up time) that would otherwise not be there if you are slaving to maintain a house filled with stuff. A home is just a rock to keep you centered and it can certainly be in an apartment that’s for sure! There is no right or wrong way – you are maintaining your values and staying true to yourself and that is important for Indy as well as showing him love and giving him a framework/guidelines for existence.
    Hope I didn’t ramble myself into complete misunderstanding!?

  9. Thanks for weighing in Jennifer. Yes, “normal,” in America is not really what the world’s poor needs, is it? Not what our spirits need. And perhaps, not what my son needs. Thanks again.

  10. Bravo! And to the rest of us climbing and striving, ESPECIALLY those who claim Christ, how dare we train materialism, spending our money on a bigger house, larger wardrobe, larger television sets, while millions starve or are sold into sex trafficking. How dare we isolate our children, telling them life is all about them–their joy, their comfort, their ease, when other people watch their children die from lack of clean water and medical care?

    We look at America today, corporate greed, etc, and yet, we often train the same mentality that leads to that greed, starting at such a young age, in our children.

    What if we trained service instead of a “serve-me” attitude? What if we trained contenment instead of discontent and a constant desire for more? What if we trained generosity instead of greed and materialism? Are our children, those sipping hot cocoa and eating their name brand cereals truly more important than those spending eight to ten hours as field laborers?

    Is God really pleased with our ten percent giving when so many of His children cry out to Him night and day asking for aid … and we, the affluent, have the means to help, but would rather buy a fancy coffee or get our nails done?

    And yes, I am talking to myself. Speaking to my materialism, to my deception, my selfishness.

Submit a comment