My life is getting very tiny. And, I like it. The transformation has been a long time coming, but well worth it.

Years ago, I was well-intentioned to acquire as many materialistic signs of success as possible such as a nice house, cars, credit cards, jewelry.

But, I didnít think of the repercussions of such a pursuit: debt.

Sadly, I thought it was all right to walk into a hardware store and purchase a lawn mower on credit, or to walk into a clothing store and buy an entire winter wardrobe. Thought nothing of it, really.

Yet, over time, Iíve realized that possessions donít make me happy. They donít fill that void that hangs around my life like fog settling on a winterís day.

The void came from having low self-esteem, not valuing myself in comparison to others, thinking I was less than. It came from not pursuing my dreams and from living a mediocre life. A pair of pants or a new dress couldnít fix that.

Instead, I had to step outside my comfort zone. I had to pursue the possibility of becoming a reporter, which was as easy as earning a journalism degree. After studying at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, I was hired at the Fayetteville Observer, where I spent two years writing obituaries before being promoted to metro/local reporting.

Being surrounded by a Family of reporters, of those who shared like-minded interest and a love for writing, I began to find an identity outside of material possessions.

I found that I am an introvert-extrovert, which means that Iím outspoken about reading books to populations of people who love reading books. Iím not the type to attend a party, but Iíll gladly go to a poetry reading with a friend.

Slowly, Iíve begun to give away some of the stuff I acquired in those years of excess spending ó clothes, shoes, and even books. Now, I donít buy on credit. I pay cash for whatever I need, whether itís a car, TV, clothes, or furniture, and the older I get, Iím finding that I need less.

Except for Facebook ďfriends,Ē I have gone, as well, back to the friends of my youth. So, my circle is primarily composed of people who have known me the longest and who know me best.

I owe this transformation in belief to my husband winning his battle with cancer a few years ago. It was then that I realized that life isnít about physical assets. Itís about those assets which one cannot measure ó love of Family, quality time with Family, an evening of solitude to regroup or silence the business of everyday life. Itís about chasing dreams and bringing those dreams into fruition.

My life is getting very tiny, but the beauty of it all is that Iím still growing.