I'm always thinking about minimalism. A lot of why I think about it is because I have both very minimalistic tendencies as well as some on the opposite side of the spectrum. That sits well with me, because I consider it cause for alarm when one subscribes entirely to the dogma of any group. It's a sign of not thinking for oneself.
So I think a lot about that balance. Am I becoming too minimalist? Am I swinging too far in the other direction? What's right for me?
A common thread for me is to think about what will make my life the simplest. That doesn't mean that I'll have the fewest possessions or fewest relationships or fewest responsibilities, it just means that I'll remove barriers from my life. I try to think a lot about what I want my life to look like, what will enable me to do the most, and how to minimize friction on that path.
For example, I only wear one outfit. This simplifies my life drastically as I never have to choose what to wear, laundry is always quick and easy and can be done in a sink if necessary, etc. With the exception of trying out new gear (which is both my hobby and business), I must think about clothing less than almost anyone.
At the same time, I'm in the process of setting up home bases around the world. We're closing on a place here in Budapest next week, which makes home base number four for me. In some ways that's the antithesis of minimalism. Four homes!
And yet it does make my life easier. Next month I'll fly from Budapest to Halifax to visit the island, to Vegas, to San Francisco. All four home bases in a row. The island and Budapest are obviously still works in progress, but in each of the four places I have good healthy restaurants to go to, good workspaces, etc. In each place it feels like home, so I can easily be productive, enjoy myself, and have a very different inspiring experience.
I think very long term on these things. Right now I'm jumping through bureaucratic Magyar hoops to get this place purchased, but for the rest of my life I'll have a home base for Europe. Any time I'm on the continent I can take a cheap flight home and be right in my normal routine. Best of all, I'm buying it with a small group of friends, so I've made it easier for me to spend time with my friends in Europe.
Minimalism is also a state of mind. Despite trying to maximize my options, I mentally condition myself to need as few of them as possible. I want to give myself a lot of flexibility, but to be able to perform well even when my flexibility is constricted. Can I be happy and productive with just my backpack anywhere? Can I have many friends around the world, but function well in isolation as well?
I think it's easy to get caught in the weeds of minimalism, reducing everything to an extreme. Sometimes that's a good thing because it forces you to see where your comfort zone is and push past it a little bit. But I think it's more valuable to think about what it means practically to you, what you want to get out of being minimalist, and what the best route to that destination is.
Photo is a garden in Margaret Island in Budapest!
When I was a kid, I had flannel blankets. Blue and green, if my memory's accurate. My bedroom had big french doors to the outside that made my room cold when it was winter. Even before computers, I was a night owl. My parents would make me go to bed at ten, I'd crawl into my flannel sheets, I'd swish around to get them warm, and then I'd stare at the ceiling and think.
That was some of my favorite time. I loved going to bed and thinking until my thoughts became nonsensical and I fell asleep.
I liked to come up with ideas. That's where I had the idea to build a toaster onto the back of my bike. It's where I had the idea to make a mini-carnival in my neighborhood. It's where I had all sorts of other ideas that didn't happen. I loved coming up with ideas because anything was possible in my cozy bed, and some of those things were even possible the next day when I woke up.
Then the computer came, and I stopped thinking at night. I was still a night owl, but then I had games to play. And I was on AOL, so I had information coming in, other people's thoughts.
This next post is going to be the introduction to a four-part series highlighting the habits I've adopted to keep me sane.
Part I: Get Rid of Your Shit
Part II: Be Conscious of Your Partaking
Part III: Oh, The Magical World of Hummus
Part IV: Kick People Out of Your Life