The single best thing I have read this year is the story of The Mexican Fisherman. In this story, a small village fisherman gets pitched by some investment banker touting all of the pluses of being bigger, richer, and having more stuff so that one day he can live the life, it turns out, he is already living. When you are done here, google “The Mexican Fisherman” and have a quick peek. Best thing I’ve read all year…nothing even close.
It has become apparent over the past two years that I like to wander. Well, I’ve always liked to wander, but I’ve just recently acknowledged and embraced it. Maybe one day I’ll enjoy being still, but for now, I’m just living and moving and learning. When I wander, I learn and grow, and that is very important to me.
Contrastingly, one of my biggest observations over the past couple of years is how much tangible stuff “owns” people and prevents them from getting out there and experiencing life. I’ve touched on this before, but I’m much more versed on it now. This may seem completely unbelievable coming from someone who is so passionate about clothes ie tangible stuff, but let me let you in on a secret.
Yes, I have too many hats. Too many ties and accessories. And still too many shoes. Those are passions, but, yes, I am still guilty. I am also an admitted hypocrite, because I buy my son a stuffed animal everywhere I go (we all have our soft spots). Otherwise, I now own very little.
Though I have always had the fantasy of living in a hotel, I do obviously have a house. Between Uber, scooters, bikes, and walking, I am trying very hard to figure out how NOT to have a car. So far, no luck, but I’m making progress. I have whittled my wardrobe down to only the best of the best and the most functional. Otherwise, it’s gone. I have a Goodwill bag ready to donate right now, and a handful of nicer stuff ready to consign. I have a scrapbook, some books, and a handful of memorabilia that are super meaningful to me. And that’s it. If it is not breathing, super meaningful, super functional, or isn’t worn regularly on my body, it no longer exists in my world. (Other than the house and car, which I haven’t figured out quite yet.)
The more stuff I get rid of, the more mobile, free, alive, and ready to experience life I feel. I waste very little energy on decision making regarding stuff, because there isn’t much stuff there any more. I pack for trips in 5 minutes. I get ready for work in 2 minutes. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that time and what we do with it is most valuable. Things, well, they are just things.
If you come to my “office” at work, you would see not a single thing other than a phone and laptop. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t need to settle in and get comfortable and put my feet up every day. In. Out. Job to do. Life to live. People to see. Places to go.
I have been fascinated with the minimalist lifestyle for some time now, but until I personally embraced it and made great strides towards it, I didn’t totally get it. It’s an interesting phenomenon. My mindset changed. It went from stuff and things and consumerism and comfort (which I thought made me happy but didn’t) to action and living. That simple.
The best thing about simplification is that it gives me more free time and freedom of thought.
The best part about wandering is that it makes me ridiculously self-aware. It rids me of close-minded beliefs, and quite frankly, makes me question the value of having rigid beliefs at all. Other than the firm belief of keeping an open mind and heart to everything, understanding that THAT is the most useful belief of all.
Have a great week.-Benj
Updated “About abk” section on the website for those who are interested.