It’s a good bet you want to simplify your life. If you’re reading blogs about minimalism, something in you feels that there’s too much muchness in the world, too many demands on your time, attention, and resources. Or perhaps they’re the wrong sort of demands, not balanced out by things that give something back to you. Whatever the reason, you’ve experienced being at the end of your tether. You want that feeling to stop, and once stopped, to never recur.
Hanging on by a thread?
Of course, you know that it’s going to recur, and in fact threats to one’s equanimity can occur several times each day in the average life, no matter how simplified. That’s because we can’t control the world around us. We can only control the world within us: our responses and priorities.
It’s something that’s come up frequently in the past week or two, and not only in my own day-to-day life. Read more »
My iGoogle home page bit the dust Friday, as it had been warning me it would do for several months. I took the warning seriously, trying product after product to create a page of feeds and gadgets that I was comfortable with, but nothing really felt right. Loads of people recommended using Feedly as an alternative to iGoogle, but I missed those neat little boxes of feeds with the three most recent posts in each, and just enough text to let me know what the posts were about.
About to plug in, or about to unplug?
I sat there facing the blank white screen with only a Google search box in the center and felt like a fish out of water. My RSS feeds had all been moved to Feedly, but my brain just laid there inside of my skull and gasped as I tried to look for where I left off in each feed, scrolling and scrolling and not really connecting with what I was seeing. Surely, I thought, other people are having this problem, and wouldn’t there be something at least similar to the iGoogle home page layout? After several frustrating hours of trying out various apps from the Chrome store, I went to tech support, a.k.a. my husband. Read more »
Hordes of aliens and princesses marched past my house, heading downtown. It was the day of the annual Harvest Festival, but for them it was really all about the candy. The late afternoon was sunny, if a bit chilly, and I thought it would be fun to take a walk down there myself. I love Halloween, because some part of me is still a little kid, but also because I love the idea of little kids–and bigger kids–feeling carefree enough to laugh at ghouls and ghosties, and to pretend to be something you know you’re not for at least one day a year.
Trick? Or Treat?
The wind was sharp, however, especially by the time I got to the main drag. At least a thousand kids and their hulking parental attendants were now bundled up in coats and hats. Instead of a colorful parade of make-believe up and down the sidewalks, it looked more like a massive, slightly aggressive soup line on both sides of the street, with shop keepers ladling out candy. Read more »
Okay, okay, I know it’s been several weeks since my last post! It’s a good time to do one of my minimalist lifestyle updates, since that would also serve to let you know what’s been going on around here.
Toto, We’re Not in Indiana Anymore
House: after seven years of living with all-white interiors, we have taken advantage of no-VOC paint and slapped up some color on a few walls. Painting one or two walls is the perfect minimalist decorating method. A mere quart of paint is often enough for two coats, and it’s not a huge time-suck. No clutter, either. Going more vivid or picking up a complementary color in the other colors in your house or furnishings can make existing things look new again, reducing the need to go shopping for a new decor. The orange vase in the picture is one we’ve had most of our married life, yet it looks so different against walls that aren’t white anymore. The wall looks green in the photo, but it’s actually a deep yellow hue called Yukon Gold. I used it in the kitchen, too, and it’s so darn uplifting, especially when the morning sun shines on it. It was time for a change, and I’m glad that things are looking more cheerful and energetic as winter approaches. Read more »
When you simplify things and go minimalist, it is natural to let go of mindless consumption or activities that don’t contribute to your life in a meaningful way. A lot of people, in fact, replace old, wasteful activities with quality time with family and friends, and replace shopping with good works. You can throw yourself a birthday party where the gifts are restricted to cash donations that will provide fresh water to a desperate community, or you can work on a much smaller scale and simply take the time to bring your spouse his or her first cup of morning coffee in bed. Most good deeds will fall somewhere in-between.
The road to hell, brick by brick.
Sometimes doing something good doesn’t end up quite right. The thanks are lukewarm, or missing altogether. Or instead of gratitude, you receive outright objection or resentment. Here you are, doing what you are convinced is the right thing, the needed thing, the kind thing, and the result is as if you did just the opposite. Your good intentions are completely misread, and in turn you wonder why in the world are you even bothering?
Who do these ungrateful recipients of your time, thought and planning think they are? Even if you didn’t get it exactly right, couldn’t they at least allow for the fact that you meant well–that your intentions were good?
And that’s the problem: good intentions. The road to hell really is paved with them. Read more »