Thinking About Minimalism

I like Minimalism, but Minimalism is hard. It sounds really attractive, and in the last few years, has become a popular ideal, but it's really tricky to implement.

My friend Shaun and I have tossed around the idea of "Light and Fast" for a few years. I picked up the phrase from Patagonia catalogs and accounts of mountain climbing, the likes of which we will never attempt. Having family that depends on you to come home makes some of these decisions for you.

Anyway, when planning for a back country trip, we always start with the idea of minimalism, but it's not long before every guy on the trail is whining about the extra gear weighing him down. Seems like a pretty effective indictment of our failure.

The difficulty in choosing to leave extra gear behind is often caused by inconvenience. I'll argue that it's only a perceived inconvenience, but that's enough.

This idea is true in the rest of life as well. I'm afraid that if I get rid of all these extra supplies and backups, I might just find myself in need sometime in the future.

In reality, often times, half of the gear or clothes that I pack never see any use. I certainly have moments when I'm better at it. As time goes by, and years bring along experience, these moments are more frequent.

The reason I'm writing about it now is that I feel like I've hit a watershed moment where moments of awareness are more frequent. I am having a harder time just cruising through life hanging onto, and accumulating stuff for a time when I might need them.

I should clarify one thing. I'm increasingly aware, but that awareness hasn't turned into a lot of action yet.

I read a great post a couple days ago by Dustin Curtis called The Best. The basic premise, which might seem contrary to the rest of what I'm writing here, is that there is value in researching and then adding only the best items to your possesion. I like this part- me: the time it takes to find the best of something is completely worth it. It’s better to have a few fantastic things designed for you than to have many untrustworthy things poorly designed to please everyone. The result–being able to blindly trust the things you own–is intensely liberating.

I am surrounded by far too many items that are not the best. When I say the best, I don't mean the most expensive, or most desirable. I'm talking about the absolute best tool for the job, with as few compromises as possible. That also means that what is best for you, is probably different from what is best for me.

I'm making a conscious effort to be mindful about the things I keep and anything new that I acquire. It certainly isn't easy. As I write and post this, I'm mindful that what I'm typing requires cleaning house, both figuratively and literally.