As much as I love my collections of clothes, books, CDs, photos and colored Sharpies, I often find myself craving a simpler existence. Between moving several times in a few short years and ultimately ending up with a tiny closet, I’ve become fairly skilled at paring down when the clutter gets to be too much, particularly in the wardrobe department. (Gotta make room for those newer, cuter clothes, you know?) But the more I edit myself in this way, the more I notice other things that I’ve let fall by the wayside… AND the more I notice the effects they have on me that seem insignificant until I find myself with more than I can handle.Sarah from Yes and Yes posted a link to an article from Gala Darling that basically says that too many options actually make us miserable. That might seem counterintuitive given the fact that we’re all rather obsessed with our smartphones (er, I don’t have one) that make it easy to text, listen to music, shop online, and pin our wishlists on Pinterest all at the same time, but I feel like that could be hitting the overkill mark. This is coming from a person who’s in the market for a new phone (the buttons… don’t work) and is fully aware that if she were to enter the iPhone world, she would probably be doing all of these things simultaneously, PLUS harassing her boyfriend via Facetime. (“Do I look cute from this angle?”) But knowing this is why I hesitate to enter the iPhone world. That, and I don’t want to spend iPhone money every month. See how the minor detail of needing a new phone sends me to this place of inner conflict?!
Not that my inevitable new phone has to be an iPhone. (Anything that holds a charge will do.) But my eventual new computer–which will be a reality soon–will be a Macbook. It’s a purchase I look forward to because it will simplify my writing experience. Not having my Internet freeze up or my PC overheat in the middle of an assignment will be a blessing, but the $1,800 dollar blow to my bank account will be less than so. I mean, I can handle it–it’s an investment. But we all know that it’s when we make purchases like this that our cars also end up needing $3,000 repairs. I was much less of a self-imposed killjoy whilst saving up for my first two laptops when all I did was obsess over which song lyrics to put in my AIM profile.
Of course, this principle that too much of a good thing can be bad for us doesn’t just apply to stuff. Simplicity is a mindset–a way of living. Some people come by it naturally: Minimalists at the core, they’re able to filter out (or better yet, avoid altogether) the clutter associated with overbearing media, work and personal calendars that have no real distinction from one another, and all the little distractions that keep us from doing what it is we really want to do. I certainly idealize things in a minimalist fashion. (That is, when I’m not coveting Free People ANYTHING.) Just recently, I was drooling over Amy from Vanagon Champion’s photos of life on the road in a camper van. Within minutes, I was all up on eBay motors and found several worthy VW buses that made me want to chuck everything and go out West. I do have some of that spirit inside of me, but it’s not my everyday reality. I get too caught up in the mundane. The small decisions I have to make regarding anything. I’ve told you, I’m a Libra. We struggle with that. Do you feel that way, too? Like there’s too much little shit getting in the way of the important shit that’s going to make you famous, rich, or at the very least, blissfully happy?
Ultimately, what I think it comes down to is prioritizing. I know that I can blame my stress-related frustration on the tedious assignments I can’t say no to or the fact that I have to watch the dogs and water the plants this week or that I ONLY HAVE ONE BATHING SUIT for the so-far beach-free summer. Or, I can make it simple. To start–I’ll be okay with just one bathing suit. That one bathing suit is adorable. I don’t need two. And with just one, I won’t have to make the agonizing decision of which one to wear when that glorious beach day does come. (Fewer options = greater happiness!) And those other things taking up my time this week and every other week? I gotta embrace ‘em. Assignments mean money. Dog watching means cuddling with dogs, which is awesome. Plant watering means time to get a tan in my (one!) bathing suit and brainstorm about the creative things I’ll accomplish as soon as the last bush thingy is watered. Here’s hoping this brown thumb doesn’t drown the plant she calls a “bush thingy.”
In the downtime I do have this week, I’ll also make it a point to visualize my goals. To figure out how I’m going to get there. Make lists. Choose the big tasks first. That’ll get me motivated–because happiness is the only option.