A Personal Note/Barking up the Minimalist Tree

On a personal note, I have to report that I’ve gone barking mad. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain.

For starters, on Friday I had to get my car serviced. OK, this is nothing out of the ordinary, nothing unusual here, right? So far, so good. I had an appointment at 7 am, the way I always like to do, get it done early in the morning and all, so I packed up my belongings, insurance cards, and the like, and headed over to my local car dealer, due for my next round of state inspections. With my car being 15 years old, this is always a gamble so I was sitting there watching the morning news, waiting, wishing, hoping, and praying I was going to pass the great state inspection lottery once again this year. Come on, street legal! As luck would have it, I was far from a winner this time. The serviceman happily notified me that I needed new brakes, a new front end alignment and there was an issue with my battery, actually the electrical system in my car. Now, I probably could have guessed that last bit because I had been having lots of issues with odd things in the car, things like the door locks would suddenly stop working and the like. At one point, I went to change the radio dial and I noticed that the radio had in fact gotten hot. When I say, “hot,” here I mean like actually hot to the touch. OK, so we have electrical issues going on, new brakes, new alignment and a bunch of other car repair woes. Oh joy! They told me it would take about two to three hours so I decided to chalk it up to my cheapness and wait.

As I was sitting there in the repair room, aka the lonely hearts club location for all things automotive, I decided I would pop on over to the dealership and check out the new cars. I had been thinking about starting to look for a new one because, yeah, the current beast was in fact fifteen years old, more than 100000 miles on it, new brakes, electrical system issues, and probably more hidden than I cared to find at this point. I would up test driving an Acura RDX, which is a small-ish SUV. It’s a five passenger SUV that actually has some cargo space and is quite comfortable. I wound up going for a test drive and liking the thing enough to actually pull the trigger. Yes, you read that right. On Friday, unexpectedly, I managed to purchase a new car. It’s the one you see pictured here in case you were wondering. This is the front of it anyway.

But this is not all of the craziness, no. I took the car home and decided that I needed more room in the garage so I started cleaning that out. This weekend, I actually spent a bit of time tidying up out there, so that I would have room for the new car. Also, instead of transferring all of the “junk in the trunk” from the old car to the new, I stuffed it all into one bag and brought it into the house. Today, just now in fact, I went through it and tossed out anything I absolutely don’t need. You read this right. I’m getting rid of crap that I don’t need. It’s not just getting rid of stuff, no, I’ve gone barking mad and have become somewhat overwhelmed with the notion that I want to lead a more minimal lifestyle. I seriously want to just shed everything. Well, maybe not *everything* I mean, I still can make a case for socks and clean underpants but like almost everything else needs to go. Seriously, be gone you pesky STUFF! Out of my life! I can’t help myself, I do believe I’ve started a purge of sorts.

A few days ago, maybe it was last week, a friend of mine told me about something called “40 bags in 40 days.” This is a de-cluttering challenge corresponding with lent. It started on March 1 of this year and runs until April 15th. The idea behind it is pretty simple, you just pick an area to remove clutter and remove one bag a day of items until your 40 days is up. You can read more about it here: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days/

I did say I was barking mad, yes? Lately though, I can’t help but feel like if I were to truly do this, to sincerely downsize, declutter, rid myself of a lot of the crap I keep around, it would really help my photography. Now, I know you think I’m probably crazy, but I just want to not only work as a minimalist photographer but lately it seems like I sincerely want to lead a more minimalist lifestyle. I just don’t want to accumulate stuff anymore. I want things simple and sparse and I want open room and just the bare minimal items that I actually need. I have started to seriously look around and question why I have so much junk and how can I rid myself of most of it.  

If you’re trying to figure how this relates to photography, I’ve been thinking that, if I had fewer items, if things were easier to find, easier to care for, less cluttered, why it would free my brain up for the “heavier lifting” of my art and photography. I am honestly starting to think I would be more creative and I would be able to shoot with more passion if my brain were a bit tidied up and free from all of this crap, so I’ve gone a bit crazy trying to rid myself of it. Now, I don’t know how this is going to end. I’ve got a few guesses. I might just stop when things get a bit tidier and go on with my life or I might just have some kind of success and seriously rid myself of the junk I feel I have been keeping. I am also starting to feel I really want to drop some pounds as well. I may even start exercising again. I am seriously looking around at anything and everything and questioning why it is in my life, do I really need it, and how can I best get rid of it so I can move on. Interesting times, I tell you, I live in interesting times.

Please wish me luck with this latest project, for I have no earthly clue how this is going to end. The car has been wonderful so far. A bit larger than I wanted but I’m determined to keep the junk out and let it live a newfangled clutter free existence. Wish me luck with that, no?

Until next time…

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