I read a lot today. I read my own writing, from my first blog post up until now. In hindsight, I believe this blog saved me from a much darker fate. The act of putting something in writing for the world to see, be it an idea or a thought, an emotion or a desire has strengthened my will to achieve my dreams, and I am proud to say that since the time I started writing publicly, my life has completely changed for the better.
It was sad to read many of my posts. The first 3 months I spent blogging was a very bad time in my life, wrought with depression and other vices that were leading me down a rabbit hole I could not see a way out of. The truth of the matter is that I am usually not a very open person. I find it very difficult to confide in people, or even talk about my state in the simplest of terms. Yet in writing, I find myself telling the world, openly, all the things I cannot seem to tell even those people that are closest to me.
I read posts about freedom and failure, materialism and minimalism. I read about my plans to remove all of the clutter from my life and about the way I want to live. As of this moment I am happy with my life. I travel, I see, I do and I feel free. Since leaving Melbourne I have learned, and learned very quickly, just what is important in my life. I own less than I ever thought possible, yet find myself wanting nothing more than a new book occasionally, or a block of chocolate. I live well, I enjoy my work, I eat well and have good accommodation, and all for less than I could have ever imagined.
Perhaps the hardest hitting revelation I had in this process is recalling just how depressed I was in my ‘successful’ life. Were it not for me putting in writing many of my thoughts I would no longer remember just how much I hated my life. The depression I felt now seems so distant, and my blog serves as a reminder to me that my well being is in my own hands. My current situation is a direct effect of acknowledging that I was not happy and making the hard decisions necessary to change. It wasn’t easy. Much of the journey has not been easy. I have had several serious setbacks and many unexpected turns, but never lost sight of my goal. However, no matter how stressful, or how broke and hungry I may have found myself in the process, the depression that once gripped me has loosened its hold and no longer exists.
Followers of this blog will know that I have been rapidly downsizing my life. Getting rid of all the clutter, throwing out all the crap that I have accumulated and trying to figure out what it is that I really need, and what is really important.
Where my things once were
There’s less than 4 weeks now until I take off for Falls Creek for the snow season and I have successfully removed almost all of the material crap from my life. Those things that I have chosen to keep (a few guitars and a telescope) have been rammed into ‘out of the way’ corners at my parents house for storage. The rest of my life, the things I wish to take with me, are getting very close to fitting into a backpack.
After the snow season I don’t yet know what I will be doing, though I was thinking about making a move up to Queensland and spending the whole summer working and surfing. I hope that by cramming everything I need into a backpack that making a move like this may be as simple as just going. Just doing it. Of course if this is the direction that I choose for my next chapter then I will do what I can to pre-organize work and accommodation. But if these things don’t happen, why not just go? Why not just try and wing it? What is the worst thing that can happen?
It hard to be care free. But that is, in part, the aim. What is life if we are not doing the things that we want to do? Or at the very least doing everything in our power to get there? Any one of us could die tomorrow.
Slowly but surely, over the last month and a half, I have been downsizing my life. By slowly either packing up and storing, donating or simply throwing out all of my stuff. I wish to lead a much simpler life with the ability to pack up and move on at will. This means eliminating all of the things that tie me down. Very shortly. Possibly by the end of the week, the only remaining thing to deal with will be my car.
Currently i’m going through all of the CD’s I bought as a kid, ripping them to my laptop and backing them up elsewhere so I can get rid of them. It’s a bit of a sad experience. I remember waiting for my paycheck each week so I could run off to the music store and buy a brand new CD. It now seems so unnecessary to spend so much money on music. Pandora currently solves basically all of my music needs.
My professional career is over now in only 34 days, almost down to just one month.
My room is packed full of things that I have purchased or at some point felt my life was incomplete without. Books, games, gaming consoles, iPads, laptops, tv’s, figurines, CD’s, guitars (now reduced to 3), a bass, amps, movies and box sets, maps, a globe, snowboards (yes, plural), telescopes (yes, plural again), snow gear, puzzles (though I REALLY love my puzzles) etc etc.
In 3 months my life is going to completely change. By my own choice I am throwing in my so far successful professional engineering career to pursue a life of diversity and travel. Though this means that all of my stuff has to go.
Last night I grabbed two plastic bags and filled them with books. Books that I have read and loved and that in many cases have provided me with an escape in hard times. I took these books in to Melbourne Central and left them on a book shelf at a free public book exchange and walked away. It was hard. Very hard. I held back some tears, only to realise how materialistic I have become. I have allowed my possessions to define me, by being a good little consumer I have sought to purchase and own everything. I have developed a destructive misconception that through possession my life would in some way become enhanced. It is not true.
I now have three months to get rid of/sell/donate/store all of my stuff. It hurts a lot, though it is the first important step in finally taking control of my life and discovering who I am, without all the fancy additions.