Simplify, simplify, simplify!
~henry david thoreau
18 June 2006
It is only the third day of summer vacation, but I already feel overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” piled high on my desk and around my chair. In fact, there is simply too much stuff in this room, and I know it is ridiculous and impossible to consider, but I literally feel as if I cannot breathe as well in this room. There is too much stuff, too much junk, and it clutters my thoughts, my air, my living.
But this room is just a metaphor for my life in general. It seems that, everywhere I go, there is just too much stuff around me, and the tough part to acknowledge is that it’s due in large part to choices I have made. These piles have not been thrust upon me; I have either chosen them to be in my life, or I have not refused their self-invitations to join me.
Why do any of us do this? I think it is a combination of two things:
- wanting to live so fully that I do not let opportunities go by without seizing them, and that often breeds a lot of stuff: papers, bags, camera equipment, cd carrying cases, too many clothes, and
- protecting myself from the possibilities of what may be from living a simple life; or, more boldly put: a life lived without piles, blankets, covers, walls, barriers. What does it mean to live a life simply, a life without covers?
My friends who have been around the sun a few more times than I tell me that they reached a point where the essentials in their lives came down to 12 books, 5 cds, 1 journal, 1 pen. Everything else, if taken away from them, would hardly be noticed, if missed at all.
Today, I will clear my desk, clean this room, so that I may breathe a little better, a little more simply, and provide room for perhaps clarity, if not outright possibility, for what may be in a simple, uncluttered life.
Try it, too. And I promise: we’ll all refrain from chuckling too loudly when we see who we really are…
A note to my readers: The Fine 99 is a new series of essays focusing on my beliefs of what is most important in life. After I am finished with this series, I’ll see what I’ve written to see if it’s worthy of a collection of essays to pitch as a book. I’ll let the angle, the threads and the themes emerge as they will without too much forethought. Otherwise, I’ll feel a little boxed in to write exclusively about this or that, in this way or that way…If in the end a collection of essays rises from these words, then I’ll take the next step in publishing them. If not, well then I’m sure the ride will serve some greater purpose that I need not mind myself with at this moment.
What is your fine 99?