I haven’t written in a while. My life has been busy. Before you let me off the hook for a lame excuse, you should know that I hate the idea of “busy.” Since I made the move to Florida from South Carolina, I’ve been trying to figure life out. There have been many changes and not all of them for the better. Some aspects of life have been stressful.
I used to be forced to live minimally – I lived in a 900 square ft apartment with another person and I was freelancing just enough to pay my bills. I didn’t need much, life was simpler. Since I moved, I am making a steady income and I now have a larger place all to myself. By most accounts, I have more now than I did a year and a half ago.
But, I don’t want more. I want a life of less. One of my favorite quotes, a quote I try to live by, is by an industrial designer named Dieter Rams:
“Less but better.”
A few weeks ago I started realizing that I had too much: too much stuff, too many people, too many obligations, too many aspirations. I remembered my life of less and I became nostalgic for a life more simple.
30 Days of Less
I’m not a big “30 day challenge” guy. I believe those are fads and fads are like diets: band-aids on ax wounds. Core issues usually aren’t addressed, symptoms often are. They’re fun, but long-term change is hard to make.
Then I started thinking about getting rid of a few things in my life. I started thinking about all the things I could, in theory, remove to simplify. It seemed like a monumental list of clothes, trinkets, tools, awards, people, books, and more. If I tried to get rid of it all over a single weekend, I’d go crazy. But, if I got rid of a little every day, I would probably end up removing more than I thought conceivable.
I prefer systems to goals anyway. Systems will last longer and there’s no stopping point or “done” as there is with a goal. Instead of a goal to simplify my life (hard to measure), 30 Days of Less became a system in my head (something easily measured).
If I got rid of something every day for 30 days, I could create a system for my life. I would give myself the freedom to live with less. The freedom to say no to new things because I know that they’ll get tossed soon anyway. The freedom to go back to living minimally. It will take discipline, but that’s okay, I could use some practice right now.
These simple rules formed:
- Remove something from your life every day
- Do not look to replace what was removed
- Repeat steps one and two for 30 days
Technically, I’ve already started my 30 Days of Less. It started simply with some desk clutter, clothes, and a social media purge. I feel lighter already 🙂
I want to gain a simpler life out of this. I want less stuff to worry about, less people who want my attention, and less distractions from social media. In short, I want less stress and more life. My hypothesis is that 30 Days of Less will help me get a little closer to that.
I am also hoping that at the end of my 30 days, this will become a habit. I will consciously look at things before I bring them into my life and objectively question whether or not I need them. As the guys in this documentary on Minimalism said they ask themselves, “Do I need this? Or does it bring me happiness?” If something doesn’t do either, I won’t keep it.
I’m not completely sure what will come of this, but I’m excited to push myself in a new way. At the end of 30 days I will recap my experience, I hope you’ll follow along.