Living With Less (Becoming A Minimalist)

Remember that “2nd ever” timotheories interview I did with Andrew Wedman a while back?

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about Andrew’s outlook on life and business. His attitude is pretty straightforward – do more with less. As we make our way through this stressful season, it occurs to me that a lot of my normal stress revolves around managing the stuff in my life VS the people in my life VS the pursuits of my life. Christmas just escalates it.

Each of these areas can be managed, thus today’s post is in dedication of the pursuit of purity!

We are all faced with the challenge of whether to pursue more material and social wealth than we currently have. The challenge isn’t openly shared, as this topic isn’t the right type of macabre for most and the simplest truths are often the most difficult to see. Simply put, if we made this widely known, retailers and publications would be bad at their jobs.

People only really learn when they are ready to. I can say this confidently from personal experience.

As Art Buchwald once said,

The best things in life are not things.

Or to put it more bluntly, Tyler Durden said,

We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.

Let me elaborate.

I was fortunate to grow up with the environment and opportunities I did. We all choose to either blame others or our situation for our stock in life OR we accept our beginnings and work to change what is possible, accepting responsibility for our own life.

For instance, I learned some interesting things when I was growing up. Because my parents determined that one of them should stay at home during the day while my sister, two brothers and I all made our way through primary education, I learned that there was a difference between material wants and basic needs of life. This was because while my parents owned their home outright, and we had enough to cover food, utilities and school costs, there wasn’t a lot of money in the bank for extras.

That didn’t mean I missed out on simple pleasures, but I simply had a stronger appreciation of them when I did have sweets and toys. Now what I didn’t immediately realize as a youth, but figured out years later was that it may well have hurt my pride and felt embarrassing when we couldn’t afford to go on trips or we didn’t have a collection of stuff to entertain ourselves with and had to interact with those who did (and judged), but there is an incredible burden that comes with having too many objects in your life.

I learned this by the process of moving away when I was 23. I first moved from home with my family of 6 to 1 bedroom apartment with my girlfriend at the time, then moving into a larger 3 bedroom a couple of years later with my girlfriend and sister, then having more room after my sister moved out.

Where the lesson came in was when I lost my job, and decided to move back home.

I had a lot of stuff at that point. A whole house of stuff. While my sister and one brother didn’t live there any more, moving home with enough stuff to fill a 15′ x 25′ room was tough. And that was after I got rid of a dining table, a living room suite, a bedroom suite, lots of old art, and countless trinkets.

Sharing space with people while having personal objects to watch out for is problematic. You’ve invested money into those possessions and you have to protect your investment, but who really has time to enjoy and manage 1000s of objects, no matter what they are?

It becomes a burden.

This is why it is important to define your space and dedicate your efforts to a specific area of life. As soon as you do this, you realize what is important to you, and having hot topic technology or whatever doesn’t pull at you as easily.

Heck, I collect movies, music, and books, and people sometimes question my collection. That’s a good thing. No one in their right mind should collect as much of that stuff as I do. I do it because I need to to accomplish my goals. The truth is this, of course I cannot possibly look at all of these things simultaneously or even regularly, but I’ve set up my space so that those objects serve as a directory of ideas and reference for my art. Because those objects fuel my life purpose they provide value for me. But if I started collecting trinkets, kitchenware, clothes and sports equipment (for example), then I would lose my focus.

Check out this article from the blog Becoming Minimalist for more information on the concept.

Thus end’s today’s post on managing objects. Do you think you too much stuff? Is your stuff preventing you from making your art? Leave some comments and let me know what you think of this theory.




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