journal entries

stay focused

I ran across the blog Stuck in Stuff this morning, which follows Dave as he attempts to take his own 100 Thing Challenge, reducing his posessions down to 100 things. He’s approaching it threefold: reduce, refuse, and rejigger.

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.

I really like this idea. I don’t know if I could really get it down to 100 things – my books, my CDs, my office supplies! Those are hundreds alone! But what I can ask myself, while I am in the process of pulling out all of the junk I have acquired in my life from the corners and asking myself what purpose it serves, whether or not it brings me happiness, whether or not it has a function, is to additionally ask myself if this would be one of my 100 things, if I could only have 100. That might help in the purging, in the getting-rid-of phases of this life organization.

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?

… and I’m hoping it will help me stay focused. This is what I need. Focus.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert.

3 thoughts on “stay focused”

  1. Dylan says:

    greats thought to ponder here. i know i couldn't live with just 100 items, because like you said, books, office supplies, computer parts are many many pieces in themselves. however, i think the concept is great and the questions you posted at the end especially challenging. i'd like to do something like this as i move back to school this year… minimize, consolidate, live with just the bare bones. less tv, less useless internet time, more time with books, knowledge and people.thank you for writing this entry. what a spring board of thought… that will hopefully lend itself to action!

  2. Shannon says:

    I hear you, friend. I am living in another city for the summer, and the asceticism it has enforced has been surprisingly welcome. Makes you just want to leave it all behind…

  3. Ms. Avarice says:

    yeah, if I had 100 things, i would have 100 books and no clothes.

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