JOSHUA and RYAN
last wednesday night the marine and i had a lovely evening
in the presence of these two remarkable young men.
joshua . . . sitting on the left . . .
has written a book . . .
with copious footnotes by his best friend since childhood . . .
ryan . . . standing on the right.
this is a picture of their book below
‘ everything that remains ‘
a memoir by the minimalists
it’s wednesday evening.
we are in the ‘ full circle bookstore. ‘
it’s in a huge mall. and yet it feels like it’s on its own little street.
a fairly large and beautiful old fashioned store . . . not a chain.
it has two fireplaces. and a coffee bar. it’s comfortable and cozy.
just what you want in a bookstore.
we have dinner elsewhere early
then arrive in plenty of time for the boys’
talk and book signing.
there are about 60 to 70 chairs set up.
i buy my book early so i’ll be ready to meet them
and not have to stand in line at a counter to pay for it!
i’ve followed their blog since almost the beginning.
they’re well known in the minimalist world.
i am a perpetual mom you know.
they are my boys. or else of course it just feels that way.
i am so excited to see them!
and i want everyone else to be excited as well.
joshua . . . in a pensive moment.
they’ve undertaken a lot this year.
we’re the 12th stop on a 100 city tour across the country.
before they go international!
and they’re not flying over the country. they’re driving on this tour.
it must be exhausting.
it would be for me!
but then i’m not 32 years old anymore.
ryan . . . relaxing with his guitar at their cabin in montana.
they share a rustic cabin in missoula montana now.
they’re both divorced.
and through all the hard
the thing that’s always remained is their bond of childhood friendship.
joshua lost his wife to divorce
and his mother to cancer
all in the space of one month.
he traveled to florida for his mom’s final battle days with cancer.
she left three apartments’ worth of STUFF in one apartment.
he still had a wife at the time
a three bedroom house and a garage back home
all packed full of STUFF. nice stuff. but still stuff.
no room for his mother’s stuff too.
he rented a huge truck because that’s the size it was going to take.
he began packing up his mother’s things. in terrible grief.
nobody ever thinks about that part of what their leaving will mean for
the child. even the grown up child.
he called and rented the largest storage unit back in his home city.
his wife and he had no room for any of it.
nor did they really want it.
the storage unit would cost him $150 per month.
150.00 per month to keep things he would probably
never see or use.
suddenly even in his grief . . . it seemed a little preposterous.
he called and cancelled the truck and the storage space.
he took weeks . . . there alone in florida.
donating. selling. sobbing in grief.
the “three apartments full” of stuff all in one apartment . . .
but he got it done.
all he made from that he sold ~ he gave to a cancer charity.
one that helps people afford chemo therapy and radiation
who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
he gave it all in his mother’s name and in memory of her.
and that was the tiny quiet beginning of a new way of life.
though he didn’t know it yet at the time.
i sit down at the end of the second row so i’ll have a clear view.
my coat in the chair next to me to save it for the marine . . .
who is walking all over the mall . . . before it starts . . .
to “walk off his dinner.” good grief charlie brown!
i am content to just let my dinner sit right here with me.
the man in front of me to my left . . . strikes up a conversation.
he is from kiwi in new zealand.
he has sold almost everything he owns that is not necessary
and is waiting for the closing on the sale of his house.
he is moving back “home” he admits to me . . .
” with little to nothing. and it’s the greatest feeling in the world! “
by the look of him i think he is older than i am . . .
and says he is ” ready for the next adventure ” of his life.
he doesn’t say it in a weird way . . . very calmly actually.
he says for the first time in his life he feels free.
he is a minimalist. like me.
strange. i’ve been a minimalist most of my life. as you know.
until i discovered the internet and began searching a bit . . .
i never even knew there was an actual name for what i was! LOL.
i’m not into labels. i don’t like them. they separate us.
but minimalism is truly a definite and maybe an unusual way of life.
and we are not in the majority. not yet.
that’s for sure!
just look around you at what people own.
sometimes it’s even very expensive dusty stuff!
the storage business is among one the most lucrative and
fastest growing industries of all right now.
at last count over 40,000 companies were self storage facilities
in the united states alone in 2013.
people run out of attics and basements and garages and sheds of all kinds . . .
so after they have their houses and all of those other places full . . .
instead of getting rid of anything . . .
you got it!
they pay money to store it! good money.
although . . .
thanks to young people like these two boys
and yes. they’re very much ‘ boys ‘ to me!
though i guess i really should call them young men . . .
because of joshua and ryan . . . these young men . . .
and others’ communication about it . . .
minimalism is becoming more and more a world wide movement.
my goodness! it IS old bean!
it doesn’t appear to be a fad after all. many said it was apparently.
but it seems to be holding its own.
as a new and wonderful way of living a rich and satisfying life.
not a ‘things’ life. but a ‘living’ life.
that people have lost faith in that old ‘american dream ‘
if you can really call it a dream.
time. important TIME and being there while
your children or grandchildren are growing up . . .
or even without children . . .
as in joshua’s case . . . sacrificing your marriage.
that silly old dream of
you’ve got to have ever better bigger and more.
MORE and MORE of everything . . .
house tv’s toys boats cars bigger bigger better
as well as bigger debt. oh the debt. the cost of all that.
makes me tired even writing about it.
both of these boys grew up as they call it . . .
and in joshua’s case anyway . . . a very dysfunctional home.
they both for their own reasons . . . bought heavily into that dream.
by the time they were in their mid twenties they each held
‘ IMPORTANT ‘ upper management jobs
in a huge corporation making $$$,$$$ six figures a year.
they were also working 80 hours a week or usually more.
making all that money
and they weren’t 30 years old yet.
josh admits to even working on his honeymoon.
that should have told his new wife something right there!
and by the way . . .
he has only good things to say about her.
this lovely wednesday evening.
i’m getting to see the two stars of this minimalist movement.
i’m so hoping they will be well received. with lots of people!
I know i’m one of the 2 million people that read their blog.
but this is in person! and i’m hoping all these chairs fill up!
it is about 20 minutes away from starting and only the kiwi man
and myself and about two other ladies are here.
i begin to worry a little.
i think silently . . .
‘ oh i hope we make a good showing for them ‘
the marine returns and sits beside me.
ever right on time. my marine.
i hold my book and wait patiently . . .
happily seeing each person enter and take a seat.
soon i can’t keep up with all the people.
they are coming from no where and everywhere!
it turns out i needn’t have worried at all!
well. it turns out i needn’t have had any CONCERN at all.
i’m supposed to be learning not to worry! LOL.
just like i’m supposed to be learning to be more patient. LOLOL.
later it is said there are over 150 people who were there.
standing room only!
and let me tell you . . .
these boys charm the room!
with their humor and warmth.
no preaching here.
just beautiful young men telling a most unusual and inspiring story.
the question and answer period finally had to be stopped for lack of time.
it seems everyone WANTS that freedom in life.
they just don’t know how to really begin.
it all just seems too daunting and exhausting.
too much to tackle. too much
maybe they will go home with renewed vigor
the book is fantastic. it reads like a novel.
i haven’t been able to put it down. and i even know the ending!
if you get a chance to see them in your city . . . do go!
their schedule and international schedule are on their blog.
you will be totally entertained. and it could even change your life!
and if you haven’t ever visited their blog . . .
both boys are huggers.
ryan hugged me after josh.
then ryan grinned and said he wanted another hug.
” you hug good!”
” i KNOW! i give snoopy hugs!”
til soon old bean.
and here’s a heartfelt snoopy hug for you too!