Wow, now I have an outlet. I see how to post to the blog. And I'm ready for my word to be known. But what is it that I want to be known? I can create something new, an art, an outlook, what is that worth? Inherently nothing.
Why did I go?
Looking back it seems really simple and easy. But there were months and months of preparation that I was doing without even knowing why. Like a lot of people who watch youtube earlier this year, I was really getting into minimalism after moving from Eugene to Portland for a job last May. (I also noticed that youtube barely recommend these types of videos anymore.) This was probably the first wedge, and it started with a desire to save money by buying less things.
One of the first things I stopped buying was paper towels. This is easy because it's also much more satisfying to wipe up spills with real cloth. Also you can use old t-shirts, which is fun.
Then I started making my own things. When I ran out of laundry soap, I looked up a recipe and made some using coconut oil and an immersion blender. It was just so much nicer than the marketed kind. So I started applying this any time I ran out of a product.
Minimalizing was an ongoing task for months. not because I knew I was going to fit everything in a suitcase and go, but because I knew that whatever the next step was, even if it was staying in that same apartment with that same job, minimalizing was going to make life smoother just be creating more space to move and do things. And by eliminating things unneeded I was uncovering alll the things I wanted to "get around to". Not that I could actually get around to any of them...
Here's the thing about a 9-5 job, or really any job where you have to be present for 40 hours a week and work on something you don't necessarily care about, i.e. something that doesn't uplift you or further any of your personal goals: Humans really should get 8 hours of sleep a night to be optimum. If you don't get 8 hours, you're probably trying to map out when you're going to "make up" the sleep time, on the weekend, or something. All people have the same number of hours in a day. 24. 8 hours asleep, ideally, 8 hours at work, but actually work probably takes up about 9 or 10 if you have to commute, or get ready, or have a buffer time after you clock out or get home. So we're at about 18. 6 hours remain for you to be you. But, there are other human needs besides working. Cooking and eating, or eating out, which take about the same amount of time, let's say an hour total per meal if you're eating well and including cleanup. Have you ever tried to schedule your whole day and fit in dinner in 30 minutes? Something gets left behind, dishes, for example. You could have breakfast pre-prepared but that takes time away the night before. And you could have something like a bar or fast food but this has the same effect as skimping on sleep - you either make up the nutrients somewhere or your health suffers.
8+10+2 = 20. It doesn't seem bad. Four hours to yourself most days, more on the weekend. That's plenty of time to do personal projects like crafts or making a website for example, social events, and all the little errands that might come up, right? Maybe in theory. But if you work a particularly draining job chances are you'll want some "downtime" after work which may include T.V., youtube videos, or endless scrolling, and before you know it you're creeping into your 8 hours of sleep.
A life like this has to be constantly monitored and kept under control. If you want to add in something for your benefit, like yoga or fitness, or family time, you'll have to be crafty. But it can work right? For me I was spending time every day going through piles of stuff. Trying to eliminate as many physical items daily and wait to see at what point I was really satisfied with the space left behind, My logic was that I could try to do one of the million things on my "list" after work, but by minimalizing I was doing something that would eventually be on my list anyway, as well as uncovering things I had forgotten about (without worrying about actually "taking care of them", but for the most part just deciding stay or go.)
Clothes, makeup, files, recreational items, furniture, dishes, crafts, books, electronics, gagdets, and of course good-old odds and ends.
At work I would make lists of things to do when I got home. Tasks would carry over to the next day and would stay on the list weeks or indefinitely. I felt like I was failing to meet my own expectations when I wanted to just sit or sleep instead of being productive after work.
We stopped buying toliet paper and bought a bidet. We stopped going to the regular stores and only went to grocery liquidation centers and farmer's markets. We stopped using deodorant. As I minimalized my items, naturally many of my actions began to follow the same trend.
My boyfriend lived with me. He had moved to Portland with me after college, hoping to work in a library. He had a few different jobs but was never really happy with them. I was at work for the above-mentioned number of hours a day and only really saw him for a few hours even though we lived together. He was growing more and more despondent and generally not enjoying life there. Which, one can continue feeling that way indefinitely and many do. I was finding my way to make things work, by eliminating literally everything I actually enjoyed in order to squeeze in some meditation and home cooking so I could be as calm as possible and feel so stressed from work.
Bravery. It takes bravery to make the first big hop.