The Minimalists


I think everything I’m about to discuss can be traced back to the night, a few weeks ago, where I found myself in bed with my wife, both awake — which as a sportswriter and recent graduate student has been quite rare. She suggested we watch a documentary called The Minimalists. That’s how we were going to spend our time together? But we watched it, and as soon as we started watching, I was like, OK. I guess I’m into it. 

The minute I clapped my computer closed, I walked directly to our closet and started ripping shirts off hangers: the ugly ones, the too-small ones, the Christmas gift ones. Stuff I had been waiting to shrink back into or afraid of tossing because my wife always asks, “How come you never wear the shirts I buy you?” Together we ended up with a pile of clothes about knee-high. The next day we loaded them up into three garbage bags and donated them to the thrift store. We did a run of shoes, toys, and I even knocked out about twenty books.

That was the start.

I don’t know exactly what kind of psychological effects the film had or the jettisoning of stuff had, but I’m feeling very different — more aware, I guess. I’m making a lot more decisions, which again, as a recent graduate student, has been quite rare. For the past while, when it has come to a future career or bills or money or food, it’s just kind of been, well, whatever. Whatever happens.

Well, first came the documentary, and then the Minimalist podcast and then more podcasts — somehow I am just now getting into podcasts. My main podcasts include The Minimalists Podcast, The Art of Manliness, Grammar Girl, and Pod Save America. More information, more thought, more decisions.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to make my own lunches. Look, I know this sounds pathetic to  a lot of people — congrats on making your own lunch, dude. I tell myself I’m too busy to do things like that, but I also really don’t have the money to eat out and eat garbage, so a couple of weeks ago I bought a package of ham and a package of turkey (not the sliced kind; when you cube them it makes you feel like more of an adult, like you’re not eating kid stuff) and three blocks of cheese, Swiss, sharp cheddar and pepper jack. And for a whole week — two weeks now — I’ve eaten these adult Lunchables. It costs like $25-$30 for lunch for an entire week. I’m saving money and I swear it will eventually lead to weight loss, but I’m not a doctor.

Then yesterday, as I went to buy a Big Gulp of Dr. Pepper, which totally sounds good right now, I thought about what I was putting into my body. I know this is obvious to a lot of people, but some of us — I hope there are others — just get into a rut, not thinking, not realizing, not being conscious (like take for instance, politics). I just decided I was going to go with no sugar. I didn’t know how long or what exactly that meant, but I made the choice to do something to take better care of my body, which has been in rapid decline since I was a chiseled 160 pounds framing houses 10 years ago. So as of this post, I have gone just about two full days with no sugar. I was such a baby on day two, but I did like that it caused me to think, what am I eating, what is in this?

I guess these are both food-related, but I’m thinking more and more, not only about what I want to eat, but what I want to do and who I want to be. If you learned to be an adult a long time ago, congrats. I think, again, sometimes people get in a rut with who they are. Who they are is determined by the situation or location they’re in or even friends and family.

But I’m going to keep getting rid of stuff I don’t need, small shirts, old shoes, way too much sugar, and probably be seen as weirder in some people’s eyes, which is all right because I would rather feel more in control of my life than controlled by things or people in my life.

A note on podcasts: The Art of Manliness is my favorite so far. I like Pod Save America, but sometimes that things goes on for like two hours. Who has time for that? I think everyone should tune into Grammar Girl. I would also like to get recommendations for other podcasts. Thanks. 


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