Have you ever had one of those days where you lay down in bed at the end of it and think “what did I do today?”
Now I don’t mean days where you spent the day with friends but didn’t really *do* anything. Those days you’re creating bonds, which is an incredibly worthwhile activity. And I don’t mean the days where you purposely spend time meditating on ideas. Those days you’re focusing on your own internal health and mind–another incredibly worthwhile activity. I mean the days where you sure felt like you were doing something all day, but at the end you realized that you hadn’t really accomplished anything. Those are the days where all the activities you were engaging in were just mindless time-wasting activities.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Maybe it wasn’t a whole day spent on time-wasting activity, but really, why should anyone be throwing away any amount of time?
Minimalism is about living a more purposeful life- at least that’s my interpretation of it. Decluttering our homes and removing excess stuff will only take us so far in our pursuit of that life. The end goal of all that decluttering, at least for me, is to help us choose only the activities that we deem important to us.
I think I’m in a similar boat to a lot of people when I say that I have a lot of purposeless hobbies. I shouldn’t really call them hobbies since I associate hobbies with something worth-while. These are activities I engage in when I’m bored or have free time, and that really serve no purpose other than to kill time. To throw precious time away. A few of the more general ones that I know a large number of people fall prey to are watching TV, playing with phone apps, and surfing the internet. All of these in moderation are good–I for one love watching the new Cosmos every week, and I like surfing the web to learn new things, but when free time becomes a marathon of Duck Dynasty while playing Words with Friends or watching comedy Youtube videos and reading gossip websites all day, then at the end of the day, I would call that wasteful.
In my wanderings around minimalism-focused blogs, a lot of times the first post I stumble upon in a blog has to do with removing excess stuff. That’s okay, it’s sort of a way to measure how much success someone’s having separating oneself from their stuff, but it’s not really the end goal. I think a topic that needs more attention is *why* that’s important. In my view, it’s because that excess stuff lends itself to wasting precious time. If I have a TV it becomes so easy to just plop down at the end of a work day and waste the evening watching whatever’s on. If I have a ton of clothes in my closet it makes it easy to justify wasting time going shopping to add to my collection.
The best way to view getting rid of “stuff” in my mind, is to think about all the time you’re freeing up by getting rid of it. When I think about it like that, the list of things to get rid of becomes prioritized differently. Instead of getting rid of tangible stuff I do things like delete game-centered apps off my phone and block websites like Facebook.
When I view things like that, magically I have more time to engage in the things that matter to me. I can read more, write more, draw more–because I’ve gotten rid of the stuff that distracts me from these things I feel passionate about. So maybe instead of talking so much about getting rid of an item a day, only owning X number of items, or not buying new things for such and such a time, we focus more on what precious things we’re able to accomplish because of it. In my mind, that’s what it means to focus on living a more purposeful life and a life we won’t regret later.