We love sharing stories of regular people choosing to live a minimalist life. Recently, Robby shared his story with us through our share your story page. We hope it encourages you in your minimalist journey.
My story begins with a flood in November of 2001. I was living in Austin, TX, with my girlfriend (now my wife) when a terrible thunderstorm dropped something like a foot of rain over an hour on the city.
When I got home, the power was out and my girlfriend and I lit some candles, made a few margaritas, and played cards until we dozed off on the couch.
Depending on where you are, floods don’t happen right away. Runoff gathers into streams, streams gather into creeks, and creeks overflow their banks hours after the rain has stopped. We woke up to the sound of our neighbor pounding furiously on the door.
“The water is up to our door! We’re getting out of here!”
We both jumped up. She scooped up our dog, I grabbed the keys, and we got into her truck. The water was a few inches up the tire. I was driving and I rolled down the window as we passed the house of our next-door neighbors. They were watching the water rise with a flashlight and I asked them what they were going to do.
They said they had a second floor and were going to wait it out there but added, “We’ve lived here twenty years and we’ve never seen it this high before.” I don’t know if it was reason or panic, but I hit the gas and left our home behind.
As I turned the corner to find a street not yet covered by standing water, I realized that everything we owned was back there. The only things we could be sure would make it past the flood was the two of us, our dog, and the truck.
And it didn’t matter. Everything truly important to us was in that truck. We drove away with no reservations and no regret. There was nothing in that truck that I would trade for anything else in the world, no possession left behind for which I would risk our lives.
When we returned to the house, almost everything that was touching the ground or vulnerable to humidity was ruined. Which…was almost everything we owned.
In our case, we were fortunate. We had flood insurance and we were able to quickly (if you count six months as quickly) rebuild our home. Now we own things: clothes, furniture, electronics, kitchen utensils, etc., but nothing, no thing, has ever seemed all that important since that night.
It’s a shame that it took a natural disaster to teach me what was truly worth valuing in my life.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Robby. And for reminding us again to value the truly important things in this life.