I started watching a documentary on minimalism on Netflix last night.
Then I stopped.
I guess I decided to minimize my time with the documentary.
It’s been a big thing lately; my wife has read books on it and been impassioned to argue for clearing stuff out of the house.
Which is a good thing — having a bunch of crap around that you don’t like, don’t need, and don’t use is not a productive way to live life.
But I like stuff.
Minimalism removes immediate potential from my life.
This morning, I was pressing tofu in the time-honoured tradition of our household. This means wrapping it in a towel, then stacking frying pans on it. Lots of frying pans. A towering death pile of frying pans. Then the frying pans slipped and fell off the counter. Narrowly missing the cat.
So I said to myself, “time to make a tofu press.”
And I can do this — I have wood, I have lots of tools, I have everything I need to wake up in the morning and say “today, I will make a tofu press” and go about that work.
I can also say “I feel like reading a book,” and have dozens of books. “I feel like listening to a record,” and have dozens of LPs. My wife and I have tons of kitchen tools — none are unused, but many go without use for several months. But if I feel like making ground seitan for a lasagna, I have the meat grinder in the basement. If I want to make a huge batch of rice, I have the 10-cup Tiger. I’ve got a 40-year-old crockpot I specifically like to use for steel cut oatmeal, because those oval teflon ones just don’t do it right.
So pushing myself into guilt over having stuff isn’t a space I want to go to right now.
But I think minimalism is an important concept for sobriety and diet, and I’m going to try to apply some of that thinking to how I’m looking at life in general.
Alcohol, bad snacking, not taking care of myself — that’s the stuff I don’t really need. Paring down to doing things in life that reinforce my better self and keep me from feeling bad down the line. That’s a form of minimalism I can get behind.
Also, being able to distract yourself with productive things to do is handy when your default mode gravitates toward “drink and snack.” So: stuff. I like it. I’ve got it. I’m keepin’ it. Screw you, minimalism.