One of the insights about my retirement travels in the past two years has been the urgency to relieve myself of all the unneeded physical and emotional baggage from my past. Simply put, it is easier to live with less stuff when you realize the deception that luxuries are not necessities. Overcoming the fear of change complicates my desire to live a simpler life at times. In order to concentrate on my priority of downsizing to live more freely from my urban neurosis, then, I consider the following self actions vital now.
1. The Morning Fix of Newspapers
A morning newspaper has always seemed like an All American part of life, even though I have rarely taken the time to thoroughly read it. Rising every morning to digest the daily drug of world tragedies, depressing obituaries, and sports wins/losses, however, no longer feels motivating or useful. In addition, it puzzles me why I need to collect this pile of paper each day, which is largely composed of advertisements and old news. Become paperless now. Just click on my I Pad to peruse a variety of reputable news mediums and I might concentrate more thoroughly on a sharpening of my critical thinking skills instead.
2. The Study Den Effect
As I sit in my spare bedroom, I am surrounded by shelves of books that I no longer serve a meaning purpose. These memoriams of academic curiosity and career advancement collect dust now, as I attempt to free myself of egoistic advancement in life. No longer needing to hide in secrecy amidst my private library now, it makes sense to donate my collection to a more worthier cause. My Kindle Reader will offer me an electronic plethora of reading opportunities in any place of my desire. Why pay full price for a book now, when I receive through my Book Bub app each day, a list of recommended items that I can download inexpensively for less than $2.00 or even for free?
3. Clothes Hide the Person No More
Dressing for success brings up the question about the kind of person I want to be. Never buying into the ideas of modern fashion trends while living in a subtropical area of little seasonal change, I ponder a closet stuffed with clothes that I no longer aspire to wear. Do I really need the obligatory dress shirt or bulky sweater received each birthday? Does my passion for a winning team necessitate a box full of outdated football and baseball hats? Would I wear a tightly tailored suit anywhere in South Florida when humidity and heat deems a more informal attire? Simply put, the person should make the clothes, not the clothes make the person. Get rid of the clothes that no longer fit you in size and emotion and you are on your way to your true identity now.
4. It’s Ok To Have a Blank Wall
In order to feel relaxed at home, the less clutter the better. I never envisioned my home as an art museum yet it is obvious that framed art pieces, decorative wall hangings, and trophy display cases distract my visual attention every day. Gazing out my back porch at the serene lake beyond will sufficiently meet my needs for aesthetic beauty now. Digitizing my wall mementos as pictures and videos on my I Pad will enable me to make space at home while preserving precious memories.
5. Turn off the Reality Focus
The “reality show culture” that I have been subjected to through social media, news reports, and election conflict reveals a willingness to “dummy down” the human thinking process. Emotional bias and unsupported opinion run rampant on Facebook/Twitter while bookshelves in libraries collect dust. Teenagers use cutesy emoticons online to communicate with their peers as their writing skills in school settings steadily decline. Cable television stations like the History and Weather Channel sacrifice informational content for shallow acts of realism. The negative blame game occurring in the race for the highest political office in our country brings questions about the viability of the democratic process.
Imagine the story of Robinson Crusoe, who survived simply with nature on a deserted island, without knowledge of the outside world. In returning home, how would he feel about the crushing desire for materialistic affluence in our urban world? What positive values about life would he have learned from his harsh lessons of independent survival? Knowing that my island of self contentment lies in the present moment, it is time for me to say no to these endless diversions from a thoughtfully reflective life.