Rather than apologizing for my recent absence I will just suffice it to say October has been crazy. I’m ready for November! We spent our first October weekend in Dallas, second in Arkansas, third in Chicago, and then this past week Geoff went to Dallas again. Basically, we leave our suitcases packed, do laundry, re-pack, repeat. One afternoon last week Geoff asked me to watch a TED talk he had recently watched. If you haven’t ever seen or heard of TED talks I highly recommend them! Basically, they are short talks given by some really smart people on the latest and greatest: thoughts, innovations, etc. They have become one of Geoff’s hobbies. This one in particular was by a guy named Graham Hill called, Less Stuff, More Happiness.
You can watch it here: Less stuff, More Happiness Video.
I highly recommend that you watch it, it’s only 5:50 minutes long. But in case you don’t, his main point is this, if we simplify our lives, reduce clutter, and “edit ruthlessly” we are actually more happy. I definitely have experienced this first hand in Ethiopia. It’s amazing how not having a television, having limited internet access, no personal car, limited options for clothing, spotty electricity, cold showers etc. actually lead to a certain happiness that I think we are all created for. We get overwhelmed by all of the distractions, all of the noise, by our choice from 20 pairs of shoes (or more—eek!), 100 boxes of cereal at the grocery store, 10 ways to custom order your Starbucks latte. We live in a society that preaches that we need the newest, the best, more, designer etc. leaving us with a nagging feeling of never being fully content. There is always something else that we think we need or want or that we saw a friend have that we think would maybe just make us a little happier.
I got inspired. Geoff went to Dallas for the weekend and I stayed home and I cleaned, a lot. I started looking at my apartment with new eyes. I realized I had clothes that I hadn’t worn in years, jeans that were a little too snug, 5 extra spatulas, birthday cards, all sorts of cords that I couldn’t tell you what they went to, old magazines, really the list goes on and on. As I went through all of my “stuff” I realized how much of it I really had no connection to, or really even use for. I think a lot of times I keep clothes or spoons or cords because I think, “one day I may need that.” The problem is, the day I really might need that, I probably won’t be able to find it, or know what it is, or fit into it and truly, if I were just to get rid of it, there is a very good chance I will never miss it or realize it was even gone.
So Geoff and I have talked about it, we like our little apartment right now because it is really all we “need” and we know that as soon as we get a bigger space, we will just expand to fit that space. We are going to try to maintain this lifestyle of having “less stuff” and more time together, more happiness with simplicity. Now don’t hear me that we don’t really like some of our stuff. We believe that it is probably a good idea to invest in some nice stuff even, but only for the stuff we really need and use regularly, not for that one occasion that we might use it if we are lucky. I encourage you to take a look around your room, apartment, house, think, is there stuff just taking up space, cluttering my life that is serving no purpose? By the end of the weekend I had two trash bags full of clothes, a laundry basket of stuff, and two more boxes. Geoff contributed a few things to the pile when he got back in town as well and then I loaded it all up in the car and drove it to the Goodwill donation drop off. I must say, I drove away from all of that stuff feeling lighter, and more free. Free to enjoy a less cluttered apartment, content with what we have.
The start of the pile! It doubled in size after I took this!