When I embarked on this challenge, I was just looking forward to having a cleaner house and less laundry. Both of those dreams have been realized. But, as I read the 100 Thing Challenge Facebook page by Dave Berry, people kept commenting on the emotional and mental clutter that was minimized as a result of minimizing their physical possessions. This, I translated as crazy talk, since I wasn’t really emotionally attached to many of my material goods, and I didn’t believe that I spent much time thinking about them, either.
But here I am, two and a half months in to this challenge, and I can tell you there is a marked difference in the way I engage in my daily activities. This might sound silly, but it’s true. Just a few days ago, I had coffee with one of my dear friends, who was also a bridesmaid in my wedding. She’s been asking me for wedding photos now for six years. And I’ve had them printed out and sitting in a folder waiting for her for six years. It’s just been six years since I could put my finger on that folder and know exactly where it was when she called for coffee. That felt really good.
While the laundry still has to be done and the house still has to be picked up, there are far fewer loads, and much less mess to manage. Which means that I have all of this extra time on my hands. So now, I can use that time to actually relax. Instead of lying in bed with my covers pulled over my head dreading getting up to face Mt. Laundry. Not relaxing. At all. No matter how long you stay in bed fending off the dreaded task. It is still not relaxing. Now, I know that I can easily conquer a couple of loads of laundry while I put a beef stew in the slow cooker and bake that buttery apple-pear pie with the fruit that has been chopped and frozen in my freezer since the last time I made a pie. (Which was only a couple of weeks ago … do not be alarmed. I can see how that statement might cause you some concern.)
Admittedly, having extra time on my hands is a foreign concept to me. I was once at a toddler’s birthday party where the mother was breaking down the birthday cake table while the rest of the party was still opening presents. “Neurotic, much?” My husband and I whispered to each other … knowing perfectly well that at our house, that table would be set up and waiting until the next gathering happened to call for a table in that exact same location.
So what am I doing with all of this extra time, you wonder? Well … golfing with my husband, for one. Kind of like fine wine, golf must be an acquired taste. But I think I might really enjoy it once I can move my neck again. And it provides me with four hours to cruise around in the fresh air with my husband, sipping coffee, and laughing at my mad putting skills. Also, I’m discovering how to write for travel magazines so I can get paid to stay at resorts and critique their spa services. Who doesn’t want to do that? All of these genius ideas that I suddenly have! Now that I have two spare seconds to THINK.
It’s good. You should try it. Minimize your material possessions to minimize your stress and revitalize your life. Really. I’m not selling anything here.