The other night I listened to an amazing podcast at RichRoll.com with Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn. As I listened to it I felt my mind become quiet, which was such a relief after a few stressful days at work.
During the podcast he talked about all sorts of things that resonated with me, a few things that didn't but that opened my eyes up to new ways of looking at things, and he talked about being identified by one's job.
And that really got me thinking.
Because I often get asked the question, "What do you do?" And I find it difficult to answer much of the time. I can go on and on about what the company I work for does, but when it comes time to talking about what I do, I often mumble a few words and change the subject.
It's not that I dislike my job. But it's my job, it's not me. It's now how I define myself. In actuality, I don't particularly like being defined or labeled. I find it limiting. I find it puts me in a box. And I certainly don't like being defined by what I do for a living.
Joshua Fields Millburn mentioned that he'd asked people what they're passionate about vs. what they do. And when I thought about it, a bunch of things popped into my mind.
What am I passionate about?
Sailing. And reading. And writing. And watching films. And spending time with my guy and my cat. And learning new things. And discovering new places.
Anyone I sail with knows I could go on for hours about the different experiences I had out on the water. Anyone I chat with on land knows this about me too.
There's just something so magical about being out on the water, being free of the land, and being controlled by wind and waves.
It forces me to be in the moment - I rarely take out my cell phone unless it's to take a picture or alert my guy that all is okay. It calms me. It makes me appreciate that there's a much larger world out there than the one I live in most days. It makes me realize just how tiny I am in comparison.
And it makes me look around. I now notice the wind in the trees. Heck, I notice that there are trees. I notice the clouds moving across the sky. I look up, and out, and around. I see things I never used to.
I only discovered sailing three years ago, after years of thinking I wasn't "sailor material." But I took a chance and found something I love so much, that brings me joy and peace. And it has made me realize how little I actually need to be happy.
I have always loved reading. From the time I was little and forced my father to read to me from "Book." I loved stories. I loved imagining them to life in my head. I loved escaping into them when times got tough. I loved their magic.
At one point in my life I used to surround myself with my books, because that's what my father did. I'd always believed books to be valuable. If you had books you were rich. But also, like what was mentioned in the podcast, I used books to let others define me. If someone walked into my space they knew exactly who I was: I was a reader.
And just like in the podcast, I did come to the realization awhile back that I don't need a space crammed with books to be a reader. And I didn't, and don't, need people to see me as a reader by virtue of simply stepping into my space.
I'm happy sharing my love of books through conversation. And I'm just as happy if no one knows how much I like to read, because I know.
I actually have a love-hate relationship with writing. I'm passionate about doing it, but I also realize it forces me to be too internal. When writing I'm so focused on the words flowing through my head that I'm trying to force into some semblance of order before they make it to the page that I lose all sorts of time that could be spent connecting with people, living and experiencing.
I tend to obsess over things and become laser-focused on whatever I'm doing. When writing I crawl into my head and sometimes don't come out for days or weeks. Which is not something I've wanted to do lately. I've wanted and needed to be present. So I've kept my writing to short blog posts instead of short or long stories and have tried to find joy in that.
Going to the Movies
I love going to the movies. I have for as long as I could remember. While not every film is good or worth the $15 to $20 per ticket they charge these days, the act of going to see a film always makes me happy. I love sitting down in a theatre waiting for the larger-than-life action to happen on screen.
While they're beginning to perfect the technique of the at-home theatre experience, it just isn't the same as going out to see a movie. It's still just a fancy version of watching TV and for me it will never replicate the act of actually viewing a movie in a movie house.
I've seen thousands of movies in my lifetime, and remember most, if not all, of them. I love discussing movies - their merits, their weaknesses, the cinematography, the soundtrack, the score. They will never replicate the experience of reading a book, but movies have their very own magic.
So how exactly does this tie into minimalism? Well, for me, it's about focusing on the things I love to do and experience and to spend my hard-earned money on these things and not the "stuff" that over-fills a space.
It's about recognizing what really makes me happy versus what gives me a temporary high.
My life may not be as purposeful or meaningful as some. My interests may lean more toward self-interest. But as far as I know I only have this one life to live. Time seems to move quicker than it used to. And I have to find a way to live a life that I can look back on one day and feel like I actually lived.
For now, minimalism is helping me find my peace, my center, my path.
To be continued...