As I prepare to depart for my next destination within Indonesia, I begin to lay down all of my belongings—the entirety of what I have been carrying on me during my travels. And there is something here that has been troubling me. This something is a pair of board shorts.
Bali, Indonesia - April 2015
That’s because I had decided on this particular morning to throw out all that I didn’t love. Not a problem for a plain yellow T-shirt, a collared long-sleeve, a pair of pants that recently shrunk in the dryer, and a hand-me-down capsule of tiger balm.
In fact, I have grown quite comfortable with tossing, selling, and giving away a great number of things.
Within recent years I was able to fill and furnish a two-bedroom apartment with what I owned—and this was in addition to a fairly new car. But just before I departed on zig-zagging course throughout the world, I had sold enough of my stuff to store it all within a small storage unit. I then closed out that storage unit a year later. And since mid 2012, the bulk of what I use and own fits within the two backpacks that I carry on me.
Pomona, California - January 2014
I have been living a fairly minimalist life. But what is the real purpose of minimalism? I believe that it is a lifestyle which can narrow one’s focus primarily onto what stirs up the most joy within.
And I can honestly say that at this moment, I feel a bit of love for nearly everything that surrounds me. Not only the laptop I’m using to write, but the very software program that’s facilitating these words. The well-used kindle to my side. The cappuccino I’m drinking. The curated music that I am listening to. And even the people I’ve chosen to seat myself amongst.
Pomona, California - January 2014
But then there are my board shorts.
My only pair of board shorts. My brand-new-looking, fifty-dollar board shorts. The board shorts that have been used three times this past week. And the board shorts that can be used for my next two months of island hopping.
And while I have almost every rational reason not to get rid of my these shorts, I feel that I need to.
This feeling only intensified when I picked up the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and read the following passage today:
To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful. — Marie Kondo
And so I have come to realize that my shorts have done their purpose. I was happy when I bought them at a discount. I was happy when I wore them several times in the South of Thailand. But I have felt hesitant, for months now, to put them on. As I just no longer appreciate how they look and feel on me.
But now, I will happily let them go.
Let them go, with gratitude. Not only you, but your things as well, will feel clear and refreshed when are done tidying. — Marie Kondo,The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Is there something that has outlived its purpose within your own life, which you are still holding onto?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been an inspiring book for me in multiple ways, and it is full of practical advice. In fact, I bought it on the recommendation of a business coach. And it’s apparent that Marie Kondo also applies her own tidying techniques to her writing, as the book is concise and delivers a multitude of “ah-hah” moments through the insights that are brought out by her well chosen words.
Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you do like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more. — Marie Kondo,The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
You can purchase her book through amazon.com (this is not an affiliate link.)