Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Appreciating what I have

"Changes in life must come from a conscience that cannot bear it any other way, not mental resolution to try a new form of life"
-Leo Tolstoy

"I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community... I'm in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life," 
-Mark Zuckerberg on why he wears the same outfit every day

I have been focused on decluttering my life for the past month or two. The obvious manifestation of this has been getting more organized and getting rid of unnecessary possessions which have led to piles of things I've sent to Salvation Army, but it's also played out in how I use my time and focus my energy. I like being around people and as a result I'd invited in a lot of people who weren't helping me grow and were leading to frustration and anxiety. I deleted numbers and unfollowed people on social networks and I breathe a lot easier. In the same way that it's now easier to find something to wear, my relationships are also better.  

I appreciate what I have more.  I actually iron my clothes. I EVEN USE STARCH! They are placed neatly in drawers. My friends now receive letters and I try to call/visit more. 

I made the comment to my friend at work that I was trying to be a minimalist and favor quality over quantity and he said 'Oh, like the opposite of your dating life" with a wry grin. It was true. That's cleaned up too. 

It's been kind of strange for me though. I walk in to my house and it's all just open and clean and clutter free. I change into some comfortable sweat pants and just enjoy the space. I think having lots of unorganized crap in a room promotes lots of disorganized thoughts. Every drawer I opened was a reminded I needed to do or read. Now everything is neatly laid out and I know where it is.  I also don't have an overwhelming desire to always be doing something. I enjoy what I have and that's at least temporarily satisfying. 

The oddest thing happened the other night as a result of this. I was going to go make myself work out and run some errands and instead I just let myself rest, and I had the most amazing sleep and the happiest dreams. I have been riding myself too hard and searching to hard and only after creating a nice quiet simple place have I been able to see that I have been mentally/emotionally/physically running around like a squirrel in traffic. 

Perhaps it's also because I just turned 30. I feel like this is the year I transition to manhood (whatever that means). I am setting aside so many things from my youth lately. I don't know what this means, but my thoughts do feel like they are solidifying and that also means I am getting mentally closer to a stable longer relationship. I have always been so reluctant to date (but always wanting to) because I didn't know where I was going to be or what I was going to be like in 5 years. I still don't know but I don't suspect it will be terribly different from what I am now. In the past I have also just been willing to take whatever I can get and now I feel like I am more discriminating about what I want. I am tired of pointless relationships. 

I think this goes back to one sentence I saw in an article on decluttering/minimalism. One of the authors said do not buy anything that does not "spark joy." I think it's a good universal rule for things beyond household possessions. I think the lesson is slowing permeating.   

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