3 steps forward, 2 steps back

It’s been a rough week in my experiment with minimalism. Firstly, the coathangers: yes, I proudly culled my wardrobe to 23 coathangers (see last week’s blog post for that). But I have 11 hangers left over, and these just aren’t any coathangers: I hand-stained them with six layers of varnish (3 brownish stain, 3 Japan Black) and they are works of art. Masterpieces. To think I’m going to let go of all that work…

Then there’s my failed experiment with soba noodles. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are gluten-free, which is a huge plus for me as I’m gluten-intolerant. I’ve had these eating out a few times and I thought, I’ll make these, how hard can it be? Who knew that if you didn’t wash the soba noodles thoroughly after cooking them they turn into a grey inedible mass? (Answer: obviously not me.)

Lastly, there’s the infamous box #13. I had 13 boxes, 11 small ones and two large ones, the large ones being #12 and 13. All up to 13 are pretty much sorted out: for example, box #1 no longer exists. (So by rights this should be “the infamous box #12 and falling”). In this overflowing box of chaos are many, many things, but the kicker for me was an exercise book. In this exercise book my late mother had painstakingly listed all of my doctor’s visits and the reason for the visit. My favourite entry was in 1982, when I got my braces removed and my mother added, “HALLELUJAH BROTHER!”. Yes, I inherited my warped sense of humour from her.

Now, what kind of heartless bastard would throw out the notes from his deceased mother, in her own handwriting, that she wrote to detail all my medical history? <sigh>

The inspiration from this has been a similar story by Joshua Fields Millburn, who was cleaning out his mother’s place after her death. He was all set to put everything in storage, when he came to the realisation that her stuff was not her. It was just stuff. You can read about it here. This story is inspiring me to move forward bravely, because right now, I just don’t feel like moving forward.

So, it’s been a struggle. But not one without victories. Firstly, I don’t have to have it all done right now; I can adapt the pace to what feels comfortable. If the last few weeks felt a bit fast, I can slow it down a bit, get some traction, and speed up again. I just have to keep moving forward.

The coathangers have gone in a bag to go to the Red Cross (with a few other things — what the hell was I doing with so many glass jars?). I have learned how to cook soba, although I’ve yet to try the new recipe. And box #13 can sit tight for a few days while I deal with the overwhelm of sorting through my stuff.

Minimalism is a journey, not a destination.

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One Response to “3 steps forward, 2 steps back”

  1. Keryn Says:

    I also found Joshua’s post quite moving. Keep up the great writing!

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