Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Minimalist Challenge

Lately, I've felt pretty selfish. I evaluate my life and think that I have way too much stuff. It's hard to imagine life without most of this junk, but I think it is time to learn to let go.

It's actually a challenge I've been working on for awhile. When I planned out my latest move, I decided to get rid of over 3 bags of clothing and bedding to goodwill. I also gave away a box of books I haven't read in over a year, and threw away countless amounts of pictures of people I couldn't name. I proudly sold a clarinet and organized my sheet music down to the essentials. It felt great. Today, if I buy something, I must donate a previously owned item of equal value. It cuts my spending by making me reconsider the overall purpose of the item and I feel great donating something rarely used. But, I could do more.

Out of boredom and curiosity, I've been reading about the 100 Thing Challenge. Basically, the author of the blog and book cut down his possessed items down to a mere 100. He personalized the challenge to fit is lifestyle. For instance, underwear and socks were in one category instead of having to limit himself to a disgustingly small amount of skivvies. He also didn't count items that he didn't own or were shared in his household. Oh, and groceries and purposed goods didn't count either. Just clutter got the axe.

While I dont think I could get down to 100, and I certainly dont feel too much of a frivilous spender, I could limit what I own and donate the rest. Hence, the challenge of it all. What can I live with? And what can I look at and depreciate based on my current lifestyle. Hopefully, as I sort through it all, I can let go of my attachment with stuff. And my ownership could be more based on contentment rather than pride.

I'm going to start with a list of expendable essentials, or things I need to function daily but could part with if you paid me a gazillion dollars.

First things that come to my mind as absolutely essential are my laptop and cellphone. Like most 23 year olds, I live and die by those two gadgets. I freak out if my cell dies mid day (i.e. see Monday afternoon) and my computer brings me countless of internet memes to laugh and snark at. Plus, with the help of today's interwebz, I learned how many calories were in a krispy creame cheeseburger! I teared up from a news article on a fatal shooting. Oh, and I bought Chicago Fire tickets for the Ginger and me without having to pay for a convienance fee.

Conde and McBride say, "suck it Ticketmaster!"

More importantly, I couldn't write this post without a computer or the interwebz. And I certainly couldn't write so candidly if I relegated myself to a shared public library.

Plus, have you seen what people do on shared library computers...

As for my cell, well this is more sentimental. Yesterday, I had yet another "quiet day," meaning that I had no calls, few texts, and little interaction with my coworker (who works three feet away from me). My family calls maybe once, sometimes twice, a week and our conversations never last more than two minutes. Living alone makes this "silence" last a longer and sting a bit more.

It's needy, I know, but the internet, application, and cheap(ish) phone options make it almost a drug to be connected. Just as I cant cut my power cords and phone charger lines just yet.

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