When I post something of my own on social media or repost/retweet about living more simply, inevitably a few people will comment on why they like having all of their stuff.
If you're in that camp, I say, "Awesome! You keep doing you."
In fact, I used to be in that camp. I loved my stuff.
And then I got tired of all the stuff I had to dust around each week. I got tired of all the clothes, so many that I rotated between summer and winter with each season having its own tote. I got tired of so much stuff in drawers that it was easier to shove more in rather than go through it.
I simply got tired of all of it but wasn't sure what to do.
And then I started listening to this cool podcast and watched a documentary by the same name, The Minimalists. I've referred to these two friends who make up the dynamic duo, Jonathan Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, in previous posts. You can check out their story here.
I listened to their message, read about their journeys, watched their documentary, and read all three of their books. I consumed everything I could and branched out upon learning about other minimalists who are doing their thing living their lives in the way that best suits them.
And then I jumped to action. Sure, there were times when my husband worried I would purge him (he made the cut!) but minimalism isn't just about getting rid of stuff (but it is a solid starting point).
"Minimalism is not about deprivation; minimalism is about aligning your short-term actions with your long-term values." --The Minimalists
It's about getting real with yourself about what you want your life to be and then pursuing it with ridiculous and consistent passion. This is precisely why I started Everyday Life Uncluttered.
It's was about realizing that life is not a destination but a continuous journey. It's getting rid of the physical clutter that no longer serves a purpose. It's paying down debt to the point of living a life with more freedom. It's having more experiences over obtaining more possessions. It's enriching my life with more mindfulness in who I spend my time with and how I choose to spend my money.
I appreciate that my life is more about going for walks, finding the best pizza in town, reading books, writing, and spending time with my family. It's less about cleaning (we now live in a space of 835 square feet), searching for stuff, and not knowing what I do or don't have.
But as I said, it's a continuous journey. I still have too many books. I'm getting better at gifting some as I finish them (Side note: subscribe to my FREE newsletter on the home page, because I periodically give away books). I have a Kindle, but I still enjoy the feel of a book in my hands most of the time. My husband often tells me that I shouldn't buy another book until I have read the ones I currently have...and then I buy another one anyway.
I do like clothes, but I subscribe to one new item in, two existing items go out.
I need to do a better job of making sure we consume the food we have before purchasing more.
I want to be more mindful of the purchases I make. As much as possible, I buy from small independent businesses.
What often keeps me moving in the direction of keeping the stuff at bay is playing the 30-day minimalism game periodically. It's even better when friends and family join in to hold each other accountable.
So, you keep doing you, and I will keep doing me...with a lot less stuff.
"One day or day one. You decide." --Joshua Fields Millburn
Daily I remind myself I'm not in control.
I mean, I am to a certain extent but there are many areas that are out of my hands. Sometimes that can be difficult to face. This morning I was not in control of something and I put myself out of sorts. Notice I didn't say the EVENT PUT ME OUT OF SORTS.
We always have a choice to make on how we react to happenings around us that may have an effect on us indirectly or directly. Generally, I try to ask myself these questions when I notice my level of "snarkiness" start to rise:
1. In the big picture, is it worth me being in a negative state of mind?
2. Will being out of sorts solve anything?
3. What choice can I make to change the mood I'm currently feeling?
Then I look down at my newly purchased ring that says KARMA on it. Whatever I put out into the world is going to come back to me. When I spread positive vibes, well wishes, and happy thoughts to others, they will come back to me.
It reminds me of a video one of my 4th grade students shared with me a few years ago.
Whatever we put out into the world comes back to us eventually. I don't know about you, but I would rather it be something positive than negative.
That I can control.
Do you ever have those days where you get really zoned in for the day, and you get a ton done?
Yep, I had one of those days today and it was fabulous!
I didn't make a to-do list, and yet I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I went from one item to the next and it was as if I built on the momentum of the previous thing that propelled me on to the next one.
I get to the evening hours and wonder how I can harness that kind of energy on a daily basis, and I came to the conclusion that I have to stop overthinking it.
For example, I've been putting off the editing, revising, and rewriting parts of my book. My editor got the draft to me, and I've had it for almost a month. I told her today I kind of felt paralyzed. By what I'm not sure. Maybe it's the fear of failure or the potential fear of success that scared me. I also felt like I needed to have a big chunk of time set aside to work on it.
Today I didn't worry about it. I simply sat down and got to work. Before I knew it, I had 10 pages revised. I didn't worry about putting in a certain amount of time or making sure I rewrote a certain number of pages. Instead, I put my butt in the chair. I did, however, give myself a deadline to getting the second draft to her by the end of September, and I think it helped me buckle down and focus.
Sometimes we are paralyzed with inaction, because we think we need everything to be absolutely perfect. The thing is, 99.9 percent of the time it isn't. If we keep waiting, we'll never do it.
What's stopping you from accomplishing something or making it become a reality? Are you paralyzed by inaction? Do you think the circumstances need to be perfect? If you don't have a set amount of time, do you tell yourself you can't start working on it now?
I discovered today I've been getting in my own way from getting my book to completion. And you know what I did?
I removed the obstacle, and that obstacle was me.
Yesterday my husband was driving home from playing golf on a two-lane highway. There was one car ahead of him and then a semi in front of it. The car in front of him kept swinging out to see when there was a good time to pass.
On this particular stretch of road, there is no good time but this car was having none of that. The driver kept swinging out and back and then finally saw the opportunity and went.
What that driver didn't see and what my husband could see being a little further back were two cars coming from the opposite direction. As he said to me as he relayed the story, it was like watching a horrendous accident about to unfold and there was not one thing he could do about it. He was preparing himself for the aftermath.
At the last second, the semi swerved to the shoulder on one side, the two oncoming cars swerved to the shoulder on their side, and the driver who was in such a hurry managed to continue on his/her way. Because those other drivers made quick decisions and maneuvers, an accident was avoided.
Why are people in such a hurry?
The driver who narrowly avoided causing lives to be changed forever due to the quick actions of others probably saved a mere few minutes to get to the desired destination. Are a few minutes really that important versus the potential lives that could have been lost?
So, I repeat, why are people in such a hurry?
I don't get it. I picture that driver rushing to the next destination and then rushing on to the next, and then...well, you get it. When there's no slowing down, there's no enjoyment.
When we're in a hurry, we miss out on more. We lose out on opportunities to connect and relate to others. We lose the chance to enjoy experiences.
So, slow down for pete's sake!
*When you're behind a slow driver, use it as a chance to send positive thoughts to loved ones in our mind by saying each of their names and why we're grateful for them.
*When you're waiting in a long line at the grocery store, strike up a conversation with the person behind you.
*When you're sitting in the pouring rain waiting for it to subside, make a list of things you plan to do when it stops.
*Instead of always feeling like you have to be doing something, do nothing. Sit in silence. Take deep breaths.
*Have a conversation with someone without thinking about what you're going to say next, without your phone by your side, and without looking around you. Focus on that person in that moment.
And these ideas are just the beginning. I think about all the senseless tragedies and time lost when we get in such a hurry. It just doesn't seem worth it to me. Do you?
I was inspired to ponder the days of the week after reading Gary Vaynerchuk's Medium article, "I F*cking Hate Friday." If you're interested, you can read it here. He's blunt and there's language, but his message makes you rethink Friday.
After I finished the article, I started thinking about all the days of the week, and here are my thoughts on each one:
Monday: Generally, it's the despised day of the week. I mean, how would you like to be the day of the week that comes after two glorious days off? People drag themselves out of bed on Mondays. The snooze button is hit more often, and coffee intake is dramatically increased.
Tuesday: The day of the week that seems to get the least attention. No one really cares about Tuesday. It's just there.
Wednesday: Proverbial hump day. Two days down before it and two days left after it. It's the halfway point where people either have the attitude of the glass is half full or the glass is half empty. There seems to be a love/hate relationship with Wednesday.
Thursday: Kind of getting the reputation of a party day. Thirsty Thursday sound familiar? It's a party day, because the end of the week is almost here and you can get through Friday with a hangover since there's only one more work day left. Plus, a lot of people get paid on Thursday. It's a favorite day in some circles: payday and party day.
Friday: We love Friday. It signifies the end of the work week. It's the day everyone has been waiting for all week long. And. It's. Finally. Here. It seemed like it took forever to arrive. Not a lot gets accomplished on this day. I mean, why work so hard when the weekend is almost here? You can't do much until Monday anyway, so it's a throw away day.
Saturday: The "love to sleep in, stay in bed because I'm hungover day." The greatest part about Saturday is that you can be hungover a majority of the day and recover just in time to go out again that night. It's the day where you can do just about anything. It's the middle of the weekend and there is still one more day. Throw caution to the wind, my friend.
Sunday: Tricky Sunday. It's marvelous, because you can still sleep in and have a relaxing day. However, suddenly there's the alarm that goes off in your head at some point in the late afternoon or early evening. It's the "oh sh*t, I have to work tomorrow" alarm. It's the panic button of getting everything done that you should have done yesterday but put off.
I'm sure you have your own spin to each day of the week, but face it. We think of each day differently, and each one has its own connotation.
What if we thought differently though?
What if we treated each day the same, like it's the most amazing day ever? Because, honestly, it is. Each day is an absolute gift. We get the same 86,400 seconds with no more or no less. What if we cherished that day with no thought to what day of the week it was? We just enjoyed it for what it was, a day to make of it what we want? No guilt and no regrets.
Here's your challenge if you choose to accept it: Starting tomorrow, reframe each day. Look at that day and enjoy it for what it is. Don't attach a connotation to it. Wake up in the morning and say, "Hello, day! I'm glad you're here." Then get after it and make it rock!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.