The beginnings of my new project have gotten off to a slow start, but I expected as much. Can my questions about what constitutes the good life ever really be answered? I suspect not, but that’s no reason not to explore the question. So, here is what I’ve come across so far:
My first step, which I have actually been tackling for months, was to simplify by getting rid of things that I no longer need or use. What started out as a vague new year’s resolution has become tied into this new project with renewed intention. I have begun to get rid of things I have not used for years, bags of clothes I have never intented to wear, the possessions of a packrat.
I have suspected that greater simplicity would be part of the good life, or at least allow me to feel less tied down. Since I have plenty of things I hope to do before I “settle down”, I figured having less stuff would make it easier to move. Not only that, I have seen the more humble lifestyles of people I meet, and would have felt embarrassed if they were to see my cluttered room.
What I find amazing is that I have already gotten rid of many bags of old junk, and four bags of clothes, and there is still so much! I would picture a simple room with a bed, a desk, a closet and some posters on the wall, but the reality is still far from that. And I recognize it will take some time.
Initially, just throwing some things out that had some level of sentimental value or usefulness was difficult. Like old id cards, a wealth of good and not so good drawings from years of art class, and an instrument I haven’t used since middle school. Especially interesting was the entire folder of written notes and emails from a bitter fight that dominated the spring of my 8th grade year in school. What do I want to keep that for??
But it has gotten easier to throw away, and once it’s gone I forget about it. Which confirms the fact that I didn’t need it! So, the quest to simplify continues. My next thing is a number of books I intend to read… The autobiography of J Paul Getty being one of them. If possessions or lack of it has something to do with the good life, I suspect the same goes for money. And Getty was a very rich, but happy man. I’ll get into that story next.