What the Minimalism Process Means to Me
This will be the fourth post about my journey with minimalism. I started by saying goodbye to most of my video game collection in Part 1 and Part 2. In the third piece I identified what my really important possessions were so I could better understand of what I could let go of. In this post I want to go more in depth on the process, the psychological effects on me, and where to I am going from here.
(This is where I was at 18 months ago)
My journey with minimalism started a little over a year ago. I was overwhelmed by all of the “stuff” around me in my living space, predominantly video games. I began to remove games from the shelves like handing out red release slips during the tryouts in “Major League.”
(Sorry, but Jobu isn’t going to be of any help here)
There were games that survived one round because I thought I needed to own them, only to be gone the next. Personally it was easier for me to do the cuts in rounds, it seemed crazy, almost impossible to get rid of it all at once. I also had to factor in selling the stuff since it had significant value. I found it much more manageable to make it a longer process. I could take a look around and say to myself “OK, this is what I can part with up to now.” With things you have grown attached to, you need to rationalize why you are getting rid of it all. When I had a new box or container of games/electronics I would go through the process of putting the items on Craigslist or eBay in hopes of recouping some of the funds I poured into the collection.
(This is every piece of video game equipment I have today)
As my collection grew smaller and smaller and consisted of what meant the most to me I make the decision to donate a bunch of the money I gathered from the sales to my two favorite charities, the NSPCA and Boston Children’s Hospital. It is a whole lot easier when you ask yourself “Does this do more good sitting on my shelf and possibly not be used for years, or could it help some abandoned/rescued animals and sick kids?” Again, rationalization and internal debate. If you can look at it that way, the decision becomes a lot easier. The rest of the money is being put aside for trips and life experiences. For example I am going to finally go to Hawaii, a place that I have been wanting to go to for years.
(Maui. Much more beautiful then a wall of video games)
Now I ended up parting with so many games I thought I would never let leave my house, like my collection of Famicom (Japanese version of the NES) Mega Man games, my Japanese Sega Saturn and it’s library of fighting and arcade games, and so much more. Thankfully I had Rog Law a text message away when I was in need of additional support and rationalization.
This isn’t all about video games, I scaled way back on my other possessions. My clothing collection is as small as it has ever been, containing only the essentials. I sold off my 13” Macbook Pro and recently build PC and replaced them with a 15” Macbook Pro. Just like with the games I randomly went throughout my apartment and got rid of everything I possibly could. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have a clean and organized apartment that is almost impossible to make messy.
(The only thing that has changed in this images is the upgrade to a 15″ Macbook Pro)
This is the important part. I was buying all of this stuff because I was not happy. I thought owning this stuff would make me feel better. Like many others, the act of searching for these items and buying them was super fun for me, but in an addictive and time wasting cycle. I would spend whole days in Tokyo going from store to store with my friends sifting through aisle after aisle of games looking for a great deal or hidden gems. While sitting in traffic I would look on eBay to see if there were and good deals on old games. Then the stuff from Amazon or eBay games would show up in the mail and I would have a brief moment of happiness. Then the shelf they went to possibly never get played. Some of the actions were rationalized with my retro game podcast “Back in my Play,” “Of course I need this game, I totally want to do an episode on it at some point.” But, I really didn’t.
I had to take a step back to observe my actions and understand the vicious cycle that was occurring. When I did that it was so much easier to let go of this stuff. I asked myself “Was it enhancing my life?” “Do I want to feel the weight of needing to play all of this stuff I don’t have time for?” And this one is huge “What else could I be doing with this energy, money, and time?”
Turing 30 last month was a great opportunity to finish this and get rid of everything that was non essential or adding value to my life. It is the best thing I have ever done. I am more productive, I have been making plans for new experiences and trips, and most importantly, I am happy. Really happy. I feel so much better about the person I am… I need to say that again.
I feel so much better about the person I am.
I look back and I am somewhat ashamed about the wasted potential of Kevin Larrabee from 2012-2015. I did some awesome stuff in my career and my life, still lots of unrealized potential. In the past month alone I have greatly increased my productivity and quality of work.
On the website alone I have written THREE pieces in the last two weeks! And I have a white board full of creative ideas for projects both personal and professional! I have even read three books in the last two weeks.
This path is not the same for everyone, but if you feel lost, it is important to find out where you want to go and how you are going to get there.
In the follow up I am going to help you out with an exercise that may chart your course to being the person that you can be proud of and to maximize your potential.