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Tag: minimalism

A Well-Curated Life

With the turn of the year I’ve been considering the concept of the well-curated life. For most of my time on this earth, I have simply adapted to whatever was thrust upon me. Now that I have a little financial freedom and my life is more stable, I find the idea of a life that is built from things I value to be very attractive.

For me this starts with examining the physical environment and removing all the things that do not add joy or value to my everyday life. It’s a big task…truthfully…it never ends. The questioning, “What do I really need? What value will this thing add?” is constant, but the plus side is that I buy much less than I used to. I look for quality over a sale price, I look for things that will last over temporary fixes. And I do without.

I try to keep my needs small, but honest.

I look at what I value: reading, education, nature, my relationships with others, and try to increase time spent on those things by eliminating time-eaters. I curate my time.

It is very much a work in progress, but I find this mindful consideration to be helpful. I feel lighter when I let go of something I thought I had to have. I feel anchors dropping away. I save money. I enjoy my time more. I can focus on the things that really matter.

The idea that we can choose what we want in our lives and what we do not is a powerful one. It has limits (try to stop the rain, for example), but when it comes to man-made and some societal things, we have a lot of power to determine just what we want to allow to influence us, and what we do not.

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So You’re a Minimalist. Now What? – LifeEdited

“Minimalism can be described in two ways: negatively and positively. The negative description is that minimalism is a life free of unnecessary stuff. A minimalist doesn’t get rid of that 10 year old iPod rotting away in a closet, nor does she move out of that big house with a formal living room she never uses because these are the things minimalists do. She gets rid of these things because, at the end of the day, these things aren’t needed, and when lives are filled with lots of unnecessary things, it tends to distract us from the necessary ones.

This leads to the positive description of minimalism: it’s a life filled with the necessary. In its highest state, minimalism is about living a life where every possession, every square foot occupied, every activity, every everything is used and practiced with intention and appreciation.”

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Holiday gift-giving between adults is a needless, consumerist chore – Quartz

“”Nevertheless, we partake in the grand charade every year. Unwanted gifts are exchanged, Academy Award-worthy shows of thanks are displayed, somebody balls up the wrapping paper and gives it to the dog to systematically devour, we brunch, the dog quietly passes gas in the corner, we nap off the brunch, we dim the lights on the Christmas tree, we pack it all up for next year.””

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Minimalism: Where It’s Been, Where It’s Going | Dru Pagliassotti

“Over the years, the minimalist lifestyle blogosphere has also engaged in healthy self-reflection, some of it occurring early but more kick-started by Everett Bogue’s infamous 2011 “Fuck Minimalism” post. Various writers, minimalist or not, have noted that obsessing about stuff is in itself a form of materialism, and that minimalism may be counterproductive for the creative. “

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The Dishonest Library

“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” -Roger Zelazny

When I moved into the first house I owned, I had forty boxes of books. When I moved to Los Angeles, necessity forced me to trim that number to twenty boxes. Moving back to Cleveland, I cut it to twelve. When I moved to where I am now, I cut it back to nine.

I understand loving your library. I enjoy running my eyes and fingertips over the spines, remember the pleasure each book brought me, recalling why each is special.

When they are special, that is. As a younger man, I owned a lot of books I never read. They were the showcase books; the books that projected the image I wanted to foster. I wanted people who came to my house to believe that I was the sort of person who reads those sorts of books. When I bought them, I intended to read them…and never did.

How badly did I want to read them, then? Not very, it turns out.

You may think that those were the first books to go. No…the first were the books I’d read and knew I would never read again. Next were the books that meant little to me beyond some passing academic interest. Next were the old paperbacks I knew friends would enjoy. It wasn’t until the fourth pass that I got rid of my Let’s-Pretend section of books, and it was a hard thing to do.

Giving up that section of books showed me that I was not yet the person I wanted to be, but also that I had not become the person I thought I would be. When I got rid of them, it was a release of personal expectation, there came a freedom to not be bound to what had come before.

As I write this, I’m looking bookshelves that are full of computer programming manuals that either I have not read in years, have never read, or, in the minority, some that are well worn and time honored. I’ll keep the latter. It is time to get rid of the former two.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their library, and I believe that is true. But I also know that you cannot tell a book by its cover, and while stocking all these extra titles might bolster the self esteem, it’s possible the spines have never been cracked. At that point, are we fooling our visitors or ourselves?

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