The last six months have been extremely radically transformative. In an effort to seek clarity, I have spontaneously leaned into nearly every urge to purge possessions and routines that have been impressed upon my heart as wasteful, unnecessary, or contradictory to living the best life possible. It started as a test. What could life look like if I followed through with this philosophy? Were the items I have been holding on to actually making my life better, or were they are burden in disguise? There was only one way to find out: get rid of it and see if I looked back. The running total of items I have re-acquired or routines I have re-initiated is as follows: ZERO. Here are some items that no longer have presence in my life.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat: The fall of last year, I accepted a challenge that God impressed upon my heart: social media free 2016. This actually started three months early. Now 7 months in, I have not had any desire to return. The purpose they served in my life for so long is now unclear to me. I can’t begin to think where I would find time for these intellectual vortices. I have rediscovered an amazing device called a telephone. Yes, they still make those, for talking. One phone call or face to face meeting every quarter tells me far more about my friends than a daily selfie and political re-tweet. My “friendships” are far fewer, but far better.
90% of my Contacts List: This may sound ruthless, but it’s honest. Last football season at Arcadia Tavern, I made a list. I listed all the folks who were actively consuming time, energy, thought, or money on a regular basis. The long list demonstrated both a blessing and a curse. I have reached a lot of people, but I wasn’t reaching any of them particularly well. I shortened the list to 16 people who I would focus and spend time with on a regular basis. I then altered the visibility of my phone contact list to reflect this list. I now have to think twice to search for a name outside this list. This pause helps me to reflect whether I truly have time and energy for this, or is it just getting in the way of the others who truly matter. Plus, I have saved a lot of time not scrolling through a list of 300 people I never talk to just to find the one that matters.
64 pack of Crayola crayons: This symbolizes a series of items in my dresser that I have held on to thinking, “I like the idea of me using these again some day”. Really, these items were just getting moved from house to house, not getting used, while preventing the drawer from closing. Every time I looked into this disaster, I would think to myself, “why”? Then I would get stuck, frustrated, close the drawer, and have the same problem a week later. A week ago, I took a cold hard, objective look at each item. If I couldn’t recall the last time I used it, I had to admit to myself that I probably wouldn’t start any time soon. It went in the trash faster than I could second guess. Removing emotion in this situation was key. The next day, I immediately felt lighter. I have already forgotten what was in there.
Greeting cards: It seems harmless at the time - hold on to a few cards for sentimental value. A few years later, a “few” becomes 150 shoved in every crack and crevice. Have I ever gone back and looked at them again? Absolutely not. A clean dresser surface is far more pleasing to look at than a pile of papers, and far more structurally stable.
Coffee maker: For someone who drinks coffee every day, this seemed absurd, especially since I got a super nice one for $2.50 on clearance. I found myself throwing away a majority of the pot, or drinking far more than I should. The inability to truly see or clean the inner working of this device also led to many sleepless nights. I went the French press route and got to know my local baristas. I rediscovered a my counter top, and spend a lot less time and frustration moving shit around before chopping the essentials for the monthly raclette.
This list could go on – but I’m tired. Until next time…