We should not get rid of nor avoid getting all stuff. Our practice of reducing and refusing an abundance of stuff is checked by our recognition that some stuff is important to us and those around us. Stuff can damage our well-being. And yet we can remain positively cautious about stuff, understanding the real value of material possessions.
To rejigger stuff so that its role in our lives is ordered appropriately is the third step in our self-aware response to being “stuck in stuff.” It simply makes no sense to reduce and to refuse all stuff. In addition to necessities – clothes, shelter, food, etc. – we are privileged to possess beautifully meaningful stuff. Art, pillows, dog leashes, heirlooms, love letters, chairs, memory albums, and much more are examples of valuable stuff. Our disciplines to reduce the amount of stuff we have and to refuse an abundance of more stuff puts us in a situation where we can rightly appreciate and order the stuff we keep and acquire. We can put stuff in its rightful place in our lives.
Funny, just this morning I was reading Mark Morford’s newest column on “free stuff”, so I’ve been thinking about the acquisition of things that I don’t actually need or intend to acquire.
This is all to say that I am still – STILL – in the midst of this overstimulated, overextended crisis, and I am trying to adjust my life and my posessions accordingly. I’m cancelling things, I’m not committing, I’m attempting to look at the projects I’m (already) running on more realistic timeframes, I’m not committing to any new projects. And on top of all of this, I’m purposefully and intentionally putting more of my efforts toward projects that pay me money.
I know – radical, right?! I currently have one job, nine-to-five, and yet I am obligated to various organizations and groups and personal projects to give all sorts of time and effort and skill in exchange for no monetary compensation. Yes, I do get other things – experience, socializing, networking, writing – and all of these committments are peripherally related to my long-term Big Three Goals.
But of course they are! There are hundreds of things that are related to my big goals! I can’t do all of them. And, the other thing I’m realizing is, I’m not actually working on the goals – I’m working on things that lead up to the goals. Which is okay, perhaps; it’s not awful, I’m getting more confident, more experience. But I need to stop delaying the work and start actually doing it.
Yesterday, I came across smart questions that will super charge your life over on Lifehack.org, and promptly saved many of them:
What can I do right now to take the next leap instead of the next step?
What have I been avoiding that I can do today?
What is the most important thing I need to do today? (Do it first!)
Is this the best use of my time right now?