January 11, 2011

Maybe It's Me: Purge the Nonessentials from Your Life, or, Simplify


While the concept is easy, practicing it is the difficult part.

It seems loads of people genuinely want to make their lives simpler, easier, uncomplicated, and reduced in extent. They look for answers to help them with this in the strangest of places, usually not finding what they're looking for.

That's because the answer to living a simplified life is to pursue a simplified life. One that's less crowded with stuff. One that's devoid of unnecessary noise. One where there isn't junk cluttering our physical, emotional, and mental space.

Purge the nonessentials from your life.

For material goods, keep only that which actively gets used or really means something special to you. The rest is literally clogging the arteries of your existence.

This is true for people, too. Why would we surround ourselves with people who don't make us feel good, or motivate us to be the best versions of ourselves we can be, or won't - and sometimes don't - wanna grow with us. We aren't meant to be stagnate creatures. And when we keep people around because at one point they meant something to us - just like with material possessions - were doing ourselves an injustice.

It is THAT easy to simplify our existences and to get the most out of life.

Yet the idea of lighting our loads like that seems terrifying to some people. Maybe it’s me, but I believe both people and a lot of stuff have a bad habit of out welcoming their stays in our lives.

It is up to us to be able to weed out what we need and what we don't.

Perhaps it’s odd but I like going through spells where I reevaluate what and who's important to my life. I think it’s natural. I think it’s healthy. But more than that, I think we unfortunately live in a society that prides itself on consumerism and ownership of belongings which breeds jealousy and redirects our attention from things that matter to things that don’t.

Possessions don't make us who we are. They don't make us any better as people. And they don't always contribute to or benefit our lives either.

And yet we just keep collecting more and more stuff. And for what reason? It’s not like we can take any of it with us when we die. So why do we cling to things the way we do? Don’t misunderstand, I am fully for surrounding ourselves with memories, with love – and sometimes that can be done in a physical item. I have things, I’m sure you do too, that have a unique power (which is most likely manifested in our psyche’s and not a reality at all) that uplifts, inspires, strengthens, or reminds me of a very specific moment or person that I need as part of my world.

But, if you’re looking at something you own and you can’t quite recall why you have it or what it was supposed to mean or signify to you – then it’s time to purge it. If you’ve got multiple items of the same thing– then it’s time to purge it. If you’ve had a certain belonging for years, but you’ve never used it – it’s time to purge it. If something you own is completely meaningless, you just got it to have it – then it’s time to purge it.

I believe in minimalism.

Unfortunately the idea of minimalism has received a bad reputation over the years as self-proclaimed hippes (who simply can’t afford personal belongings) or wannabe vagabonds (who do no more traveling than from one friends couch to another) abuse the beautiful concept and manipulate for their own needs to fit into a society simply loves their stuff.

Minimalism is stripping down life to its most fundamental features. It’s about having just what we need and no more. It’s about getting to the heart of life and living there, as opposed to living layers and layers away, with people and things blocking us from what is essential and what is not.

As cruel as it may seem, and as previously mentioned, all of this applies to people, too. One of the most brutally honest things you can do for yourself is accept and admit the fact that not everyone in your life was meant to go the distance with you. When you watch people destroying themselves or their opportunities, throwing away precious time on irrelevant things and people, wrecking havoc on the people they’re around – there is no reason to not purge them from your life as well.

We are infrequently real with ourselves.

We don’t want to believe that it’s okay to not have a lot of friends. We’ve been forced to believe that we have to love our family members despite how abusive or damaging they might be to us. We couldn’t fathom the idea of purging people from our worlds.

After all, people are not material goods! You can’t just throw them in a garbage bag on a whim and chuck them to the curb!

Or can you?

You would be utterly shocked at how actually very easy it is to walk away from people.

To simplify.

If there’s one thing I wish for you, it’s that you would practice in some small way the idea of living a simplified life. Of being able to experience firsthand the empowering, rejuvenating, unparalleled feeling that comes with lightening your load.