Putting myself through a deliberate minimalism challenge encouraged me to be intentional about my belongings. Intentional about my life. Decluttering raised a lot of questions, not only about things and what those things do for me - but about life and what’s important in life. I have a long way to go to being truly minimalist, but it feels great to be on the path there. Minimalism is a journey, not a destination.
You go to bed at 1 AM, your alarm goes off at 6 AM in hopes of getting you to that 7 AM yoga class. You snooze, over and over again. Finally, realizing you'll be late for your first meeting at work, you drag yourself out of bed at 7:45, and rush to the door skipping breakfast.
You barely make it to work on time, you're hungry, and you didn't have time to catch up on your emails before getting into your day.
We've all been there. When we wake up "just in time", productivity is generally shot for the day.
For the past month, I have been challenging myself to get up before 5 AM, on a consistent basis. I live about 50 minutes outside of Boston, and one of my favorite Yoga studios that actually offers a morning class is in Cambridge. In order for me to make that 6 AM class, I have to leave my house around 5 AM.
New Years Resolutions. Awesome in concept, terrible in practice.
Working out 6 days a week.
Drinking 8 glasses of water every day.
Taking a 15 minute walk at work every day.
Saying good morning to your co-workers.
Using recipes to cook awesome meals every night of the week.
Making your bed every morning.
Whatever yours might have been - I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you have already failed at least some of them in these first 7 days of 2016. If you haven’t, my apologies, and congratulations - you’re a superhuman.
Packaging matters. I'm a strong believer of that. Generally, no matter how good the actual product is, it won't be a prodigy unless it's packaged well. That holds true for beverages as much as it does with electronics, clothing and resort websites.
A few weeks back, my girlfriend and I were traveling through Arizona, and we popped into a roadside gas station to fill up. We didn't have any intent of buying anything other than gas there, let alone buying wine. But as soon as we noticed this really cool bottle amongst the selection of beverages, both of us got the instant urge to bring some of that red wine home.
I have always been averse to trying new things. New things are scary, intimidating, and take effort to perfect. Despite my typical unwillingness to try something new, last year I decided to pick up rock climbing.
My first experience was at a small climbing wall at a fitness center. I was attached to an auto-belay (scariest first experience ever, I do not advise it) and attempted to scale up the 50 foot wall. I was wearing running shoes, had no chalk on my hands, and knew nothing about technique. Miraculously I managed to make it up about 3/4 of the way until I got way too winded and scared. Being on an auto belay, there was no way to rest, and the feeling of uncertainty about how fast the descent would be if I was to fall gave me chills. I prepared for the fall, and let go. To my initial surprise, the descent was very controlled.
The first time scared me, but it also inspired me. There was something amazing in that adrenaline rush, and I had an intense craving for that feeling of reward after completing a route.
So that’s how it started. From then on, I started going to various climbing gyms with various climbing partners, most of whom were only slightly more experienced than I was, but it was a good start. After a few times, I really started to regret not giving rock climbing a try earlier. For years people told me to try it out, but I was too afraid, too rock-shy.
Living in New England, we get a ton of salt sprayed all over our cars for 3-4 months out of the year. And no matter how advanced the modern metal coating technology, certain car parts like the exhaust will always take a hit from being constantly covered in moist salt.