A few years ago I realized that the stuff in my life was reducing my happiness.
I had 3 motorcycles, but only 2 of them worked. I didn't have time to fix the broken ones. I rarely rode the one that worked.
I had a large collection of tools that I aquired while working on the bikes. Some of the tools I had never used. Some of the tools I had never opened!
I had so many tools, that I couldn't remember what tools I had. So I would sometimes buy a second of a tool I had, because I didn't know I had it.
Similar patterns appeared in all of the stuff in my life.
When you turn your attention to simplifying your life, you will regularly hit some difficult question. When you can't clearly see the way through the choice, it helps to know what your dreams are.
I can't say that I have a clear, concrete description of my dreams, but I know parts of it:
- Be present with my family, giving them the best part of me
- Live in harmony with nature
- Bond with a community around my family, with deep, meaninful relationships
- Have lots and lots of fun
- Always be learning new things
The goal of living simply, when put in this perspective, starts to make more sense. I could get rid of all the things I own, except for what fits in a backpack. That might give me more opportunities for fun & learning, as I travel & meet people that I can form deep relationships with. It could easily enable me to live in harmony with nature, if I consume very few resources. However, it would interfere with the first item, as my family would like the comfort of a house with a kitchen, etc. I would also miss out on the fun of writing software, reading Wikipedia, playing Half-Life 2, and internet porn.
For now, I am keeping the basic things the same - I have a family, I own a house, I own a car (2 actually!), I work a regular job, I have computers and a TV. But around that I have gotten rid of tons of stuff. There's still a lot more to do, so I'll try to keep writing....