I’m not a disorganized person. I’m generally pretty tidy and have minimal clutter around my house. I’m not a collector.
I’m a single person who works from home. I have complete control over my calendar, my priorities and my remote.
I rarely watch TV, don’t own an Xbox and go to about two movies per year.
My life is overcrowded with things that don’t matter, habits that impede progress, and thoughts that chase themselves in circles. I find myself making excuses for not exercising or incurring debt or over-scheduling.
It’s all nonsense.
I have time, resources and abilities. I’m just not employing them very well.
There’s a different way to live. And I’d like to find it.
Fifteen months ago, I took a deep dive into mindfulness. Then I spent much of 2013 cleaning out closets and bookshelves and computer files – a process I likened to “editing.” Those paths led me to an entirely new idea: minimalism.
I resisted the idea for quite some time, turning up my nose at the image of bare concrete floors, white walls and miles of stainless steel. Modern architecture makes me cringe. The thought of a 30 item wardrobe when one lives in a climate that can vary by 70 degrees in a single day left me cold. (Literally.)
After reading several very helpful blogs and books though, I began to realize that minimalism isn’t only about getting rid of stuff. It’s about focusing your time, attention and resources on things that matter. That list will vary from person to person, but by letting go of what doesn’t add value to your life, you open up much more than closet space.
I ache to say yes to adventure without automatically worrying about my physical or fiscal strength.
I want to savor novels again rather than just skimming blogs and social media posts on a smartphone screen.
I’m committed to creating space in my life for another, to be open in heart and home to sharing my life.
I’m uninterested in keeping up with the Joneses, the Kardashians or anyone else. I have no interest in must have accessories or new pop sensations. I’m now officially at that stage of life where trendiness is simply annoying.
I started this blog with the intention to see, observe and understand. I’ve worked on my photography skills and practiced noticing things about day to day life. Those observations have led me to this place of discontent. My lifestyle is getting in the way of who I want to be and the impact I want to have.
There’s nothing for it. I have to change.
So I begin. At first I thought to wait until May 1, wanting the symbolism of the start of a new month. Then I thought I should perhaps create a schedule of changes, but I wasn’t sure how long they’d take or what the best order would be. Fittingly, the first thing I’m eliminating are expectations about how the process should look. I’m beginning in the middle, not waiting for a milestone or a new year or anyone’s permission. It will unfold as it should.
That being said, I have identified a number of efforts I’d like to make, including:
- Abandon multitasking
- Detach from my iPhone
- Drastically reduce the paper that comes into my home
- Cultivate daily practices to clear the dreck from my mind
- Dump any remaining debt
- Rethink how I schedule my time
- Create smoother transitions between work life and home life
- Simplify/Detoxify food
- Make exercise automatic
- Continue to streamline possessions
- Experiment to see how long I can go without purchasing things
- Explore the practice of keeping Sabbath
- Become more comfortable with silence
There will still be photos and travel stories and other random observations on this blog. I’m not interested in chronicling every detail of every experiment. I will share what I learn, however, because I know that for so long I thought I was the weird one for not taking joy in Christmas presents, for despairing in the middle of Target, for wondering why owning a house seems more a burden than a joy. It was such a profound relief to read of others who felt the same dissatisfaction. I’ve learned so much from their stories.
So, this is mine. Take of it what you will. May it help you lighten your load and open up room to think, encouraging you on your way as you, too, begin in the middle.
All photos taken by me, with an iPhone.
As fits this post, I’m reusing some photos from the past year that never made it on the blog.