(Note: if you haven’t read the previous post, go ahead and take a couple minutes to browse through my carefully chosen rambling from June 27)
A couple months ago, I sat in front of the TV, annoyed that another commercial had interrupted my Thursday night lineup. Impatient, I opened my Macbook and logged in to Facebook to pass the time. Then I saw an email notification on the side of the screen and clicked on an interesting-looking video link. Well, let me tell you… those videos take FOREVER– like a whole minute– to load on You Tube, so I tabbed over to Facebook again and UGH! My homepage had only one new friend update, so I quickly grabbed my Android phone to see if I had won Words with Friends. But the app took more than a couple seconds to load– oh cool! My show was back on!
And in the midst of the bright screens and rapidly firing neurons (and a lull in the story line of 30 Rock), my eyes dropped from the TV and found themselves affixed to the daily devotional book on the coffee table which had unfortunately become a weekly afterthought.
I’ll read it later, I said to myself.
WHAT? YOU’LL READ IT LATER? My suddenly obnoxious brain became possessed by comedian Louie CK in the voice of God. “WHERE ARE YOUR VALUES? YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW! WHERE IS YOUR HUSBAND? GO ASK HIM HOW HIS DAY WAS! HOW ABOUT SHARING CHRIST’S LOVE WITH OTHERS? JUST GO DO IT! STOP WASTING THE TIME I GAVE YOU AND START LIVING!”
After this metaphorical face slap, I decided to turn off the TV, put down the phone, close the laptop, and figure out what else, in addition to technology, was distracting me from real, productive life meaning.
After many blog searches and conversations with friends, here’s what I’ve done over the past month to limit distractions to a more meaningful life:
1. Gave away all clothes that make me go “Ugh, I guess I’ll wear this.” Because of fewer choices (and all of them good), I save 10 minutes daily by knowing what I’m going to wear!
2. Entertainment center: out. IKEA TV stand: in. No more room for N64, cable box or half our DVD’s. Bye bye, stuff!
3. Non-“essential” coffee mugs: garage sale. Set of dish-ware: gave to a friend.
4. Instead of going to Walmart, which leaves me (and everyone else) with a disgusting feeling, I made deodorant and toothpaste, switched out tampons for reusable hygiene products (sounds gross, but why spend $5-10 each month on tampons with plastic that ends up littering beaches? THAT’S gross!)
5. Got rid of Twitter & Pinterest; also stopped Facebook and Groupon notifications on my phone
6. Chopped my curly hair into a short pixie. I use half as much shampoo, and don’t have to use curling gel, hairspray, a straightener, curling iron… wow! That’s a lot of unnecessary stuff!
7. Stopped dyeing my locks. My natural color is back for the first time in 13 years, and man is it SHINY! No more chemicals on my head or in the sewage water; no more money wasted on vanity.
I could go on all day. The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist and My Plastic Free Life and Greenimalist and Simple Black Coffee and Project 333 are blogs I’ve been glued to recently, and they have a plethora of advice and firsthand experiences about giving up sentimental items, connecting to the earth, and basically realizing our values. Check them out.
Compared to last year, I’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Ostrich leaps and bounds, to be exact. I find myself no longer familiar with the question, “What should I do with my life?” Instead the inquiry is more the caliber of, “How can I bring more meaning and quality into my life?” Minimalism is definitely a good start.
What’s holding you back from living by your values?