Do I Really Have to Drink My Whisky?
I have allot of stuff. I didn't’ think I had, but boy do I. Isn’t it amazing the items we all amass over a lifetime? The small things like letters, pin badges and old toys to the large stuff like clothes, furniture and technology.
Well it's soon to be a new year; I’m starting a new business venture and moving to a new place. A good time for change; a time to bust the ghosts of old Christmas gifts, unused sporting equipment and ever growing collection of mixed bobbly socks.
I am a minimalist at heart, yet shamefully I came to this conclusion based not on a anti-consumerist ideology, but the practicality of my car having a finite amount of space - and driving from Yorkshire to Devon is a 5 hour drive!
For the last few weeks I have given the idea much thought. Swilling it around my head of which there is plenty of room, a little like the empty whisky glass Azure bought me for my Birthday and a rare bottle of Japanese whisky I just can't part with. So must drink!
Now the whole idea has become a mission to understand what my priorities are. I can't think of a better time either, with New Year resolutions soon to be drawn up I am making a bigger commitment to the manner in which I live. A more simple approach allowing me to focus on experience over possessions, on creating new and great work over past milestones.
A life with less consumerism and more zen. But how?
When trying to decide how to approach this lifestyle change I remembered the advice from fictional frequent flyer and motivational speaker Ryan Bingham, in the film Up in the Air directed by Jason Reitman.
“How much does your life weigh?“
Ryan asks a group of professionals in a self-help seminar.
“Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel 'em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers, the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV. The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it's a studio apartment or a two bedroom house. I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now try to walk. It's kind of hard, isn't it?”
This is starting to sound like my situation, sans small Volvo car, go on...
“Now, I'm gonna set that backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it? What do you want to take out of it? Photos? Photos are for people who can't remember. Drink some ginkgo and let the photos burn. In fact, let everything burn and imagine waking up tomorrow with nothing. It's kind of exhilarating, isn't it?”
Actually yes it is. The idea of waking up with nothing doesn't scare me. I quite enjoy a chance to build something new for myself, however the practicalities of life do tend to get in the way a little. Not sure Emilie would be thrilled if I gave away a neckless she bought me, or our clients if we don't have any equipment to complete our work.
As such, I need some sort of framework. Some rules to guide me through a process that extends the fictional world of Ryan Bingham to the real world, there must be! Thats when I read a Time article about David Bruno - who just might have a system to help.
David’s idea is to live his life by only having 100 items. You make the rules yourself; you could choose to give everything away and only keep 100 of your items, or destroy, sell or donate your existing stuff until you hit the magic number. You can group items or keep everything separate.
This sound perfect, I might not even need to set anything on fire and could even keep that bottle of whisky... Lets see how it goes!
For more information on David’s challenge check out www.guynameddave.com