13 June 2013

2 - Happiness Is Less Stuff

Happiness is less stuff (or a warm gun, depending on who you listen to).

It may also be the one form of happiness that never made it on to a Peanuts list. But everything else Charles Schultz did was golden, so I'm not gonna hold it against him. I would hope he'd find this a fitting homage. 

This morning I looked into the closet and felt relaxed. Some mornings I've felt flustered. Sometimes frustrated. Sometimes I've even felt overwhelmed. And stop and think about this: we're talking about looking into the closet! "Jesus, how does this guy deal with the rest of his day?" you're probably asking. My question to you is: Have you ever felt like this?
 
All of the clothes that I didn't like and never wore are gone. The old ratty comforter I never used is gone. The boxes of papers, trinkets, and other assorted junk I've clung to for years are gone too. The closet is no longer overrun by junk and stuff that I don't like. It now only contains things I like, things that make me feel comfortable and good about myself. 85% of what was in that closet yesterday is gone today (or will be, once the garbage and donations are picked up). There's a lot less stuff in there now, and that makes me very happy.  

My closet is an arbitrary example. I've applied the same principle to the rest of my apartment and stuff. I am getting rid of all of the stuff that I do not need. If it doesn’t fulfil a practical day-to-day purpose then it doesn’t stay. If it doesn’t stay then it’s junk and has to go. And I feel great about it.

I've never been that keen on stuff. But, like most everyone else, I've managed to assemble a pretty big pile of shit since my nine month term in the motherly incubator ended. I did it because that's what you're supposed to do, right? At least that's what we've always been told. 

But I've never liked it. I've never taken much pleasure from most of the things I possess. In fact, a lot of times I've looked at things and thought, "what the hell do I even have this for?" 

But I never did anything about it. I felt trapped by my stuff and afraid of letting go of it all. Because we're always told that we 'need' stuff to be normal, successful, and happy people. This logic suggests that without stuff, one can only be an unsuccessful and miserable freak. The real question here is who the hell comes up with all this stuff?

One saying I've come to believe is "You are what you eat." I'm also now convinced that "the things you own eventually own you." And there is simply no need for it. I mean, who needs all this damned stuff anyways? 

This isn't something that came to me like an apple falling on my head. It's a feeling I've had for some time that became fully crystallized after I found some websites and blogs concerning minimalism. I will say more about them and the concept itself another time. But for now, I'd recommend swinging over there, here, and that way, too.

Well I have to go. I've got lots of stuff to lose, and plenty of happiness to gain. And it starts with less stuff. 

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