Most people have much more than we’ll ever need. Closets are full of clothes hardly worn, kitchen filled with gadgets rarely used, and our walking shoes left with many miles left on the tread.
I think it will be interesting to see the underlying themes I live my life by, both known and unknown. A few of them have already been rather consistent in the short time I’ve sat down to write AND post every day.
One theme is minimalism.
Since leaving Southern California in August of 2017, I have slowly let go of items that didn’t directly bring me joy and those I seldom used. This was certainly a must when I decided to live out of my truck as I was traveling so much I couldn’t justify paying rent on a place I was never at.
So, I posted my TV on the LetGo app, sold it a few days later. I donated most of my furniture, kitchen supplies, etc. to a local charity/church group. I immediately started downsizing everything.
I had clothes that I wore for work which I wore about 75% of the time. Other clothes were gym clothes, beachwear, and clothes just for hanging out (which I didn’t do much of). My gym clothes could double as ‘hanging out clothes’ if necessary.
I would rent a small 5 x 5 storage unit for the things I wasn’t quite ready to part with but didn’t have the room to take with me. Whenever I needed something, I would swing by the unit and grab what I needed.
Let me be real clear, this was not a glamorous van-life stage of my life. I spent way too many nights in Starbucks, drank way too much coffee, and ate like a complete asshole. I think I was depressed.
I found myself feasting at all you can eat sushi places, going into Walmart each night after work to buy a dozen of cookies and the hot and ready pizza. I found comfort in food and I felt safe in my truck.
I had probably adopted the minimalistic life in the most rudimentary fashion possible. I think the stress of the job was getting to me; although it really wasn’t that high stress. I was so motivated to do a good job that it consumed me.
I felt like I would be letting my whole team down but, for my sake, I needed out.
For two and half months, I lived and worked from my truck, traveling all over Southern California. I slept in gym parking lots, Walmart parking lots, pretty much anywhere I could find that didn’t have a ‘no overnight parking sign.’ But, I sometimes did that too.
I saved my money for a mini-retirement to Colorado. [I’ll be discussing mini-retirements in an upcoming post] The first part of August I called my boss and had one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever had; I would be parting ways.
It was a surprise to them and I felt awful for having to do it. But, I knew that it was the move I had to make.
Sometimes we’ve got to cut our losses and make the right move for us. “Cutting the Fat” is a great expression. When it comes to the human body, excess fat is detrimental. It disrupts how we think, move, and feel. However, there is a healthy amount of fat that’s needed.
From time to time, I find myself with too much ‘fat.’ Not necessarily body fat (although right now I have few pounds to lose) but, for lack of a better term, life fat. I’ve taken on too many projects, I have too many things that I don’t use, etc.
You see, in my life simple and happy have a unique relationship. I have found that the simpler my life becomes the happier I am. Now, of course, there are times where things are much simpler than others resulting in different levels of happiness.
My goal is to find the mode of operation (MO) that simplifies my life more frequently. This MO includes questions to ask myself when decision making,
I am fascinated with questions and learning how to ask unique and thought-provoking questions, even questions that have their own story.
Is this something I will be proud of years down the road?
How does this help me get to my ultimate goal?
Is this a distraction? A sheep disguised in wolves’ clothing?
Is this mutually beneficial to both parties?
Do I have the proper skills to bring enough value?
Will I mostly enjoy this experience?
These among others are what I have come up with to help direct my path of a fulfilling existence. I feel like I excel with ‘big picture’ stuff. Though, I’m far from perfect, as my record will show, I think I’ve done a good job of analyzing the decisions and making the one I thought was best.
However, I’ve never been afraid to admit I was wrong, jump ship, and get the hell out. Things can change rapidly and the best decision today may not be the best 2 months from now. Having that intuition and gut-feeling that you need to make a move is important to listen to.
I’ve been proud of the things I’ve turned down, almost as much as the things I’ve accomplished. Remember…
“What you don’t do
determines what you can do.”
It’s a slow process and by no means will it happen over night. Don’t expect it to. It took me months to pull the trigger and move from Southern California. It also took me months to make the decision AND execute the move to Southern California.
Start small but start today.
Start with your closet. I can guarantee you that you probably wear only 30% of what’s in there, if that! Leave a few items that you like to wear for work, a few things for activities, a few things for lounging around the house. Everything else put into boxes.
Put the boxes in a room that you don’t frequently use. If you actually need something out of the boxes, go and get it. You’ll quickly realize that the majority of those clothes just took up space in the closet and actually distracted you from finding the items that you wanted.
This saves you time and mental energy when waking up in the morning as you’re not going through everything trying to find something to wear. And, who cares if you wear the same thing multiple times per week. I guarantee you that nobody will even realize it.
Trust me 😉
I would bet (and yes, I am a betting man) that this simple task alone would make you feel better. It’s these little wins that we need on a daily basis to really turn our life in the direction our hearts long for.