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Minimalist Challenge, Can I Do It?

I read an email about a challenge to wear only 33 items in 3 months as a challenge in minimalism. There are rules, about what items are included and what aren’t and when I thought about my own life, what I wear, every day, I really think I’m already doing that.

There is a list of items not included in the not included items, such as rings and other jewellery never taken off, and underwear, exercise items aren’t included, if worn for exercise, or for lounging around the home. Sleepwear is also not included.

I’d initially been a bit excited about this idea, but then I thought about it, and realised I already probably did that. I tend to wear a quite limited range of clothes, don’t “bling up” very much, and don’t go out that often.

Of course, as a writer, with a very select range of “things” I go out to do, I don’t really need that many different clothes. Most of my days are spent at home in comfortable clothes, and I tend to wear small selection of clothing items, a few T-shirts, a couple of pairs of pants, my favourite pair of jeans, a couple of pairs of shoes, maybe three.

My slippers are for wearing at home only, lounging around the house, and my rubber boots may not be included, but I certainly don’t wear them when going “out”. Looking at all of this, I can see this challenge is not aimed at me, but more at people who work 9-5, five days a week.

So it seems my life is already quite a minimalist life, and I’m more than happy with that! I have what I need, do what I want, but my wants are restrained not my outside things, so much as just because that’s the way I like things to be. Life for me is not a competition, to see who as the best and latest things. Life is to live the best life possible for self, and others.

This Covid crisis has certainly taught people lessons in how to get by with less, and I’ve see and heard about people discovering the delights of their garden, and beginning to “Grow Their Own. Finding the simple delights in it. Home grown really does taste better, whatever it is.

Fruit can be picked at exactly the right time, strawberries for instance, there is nothing better, surely, than a sun ripened strawberry, picked and eaten as soon as picked, delicious.

There are delights too, in listening to the birds cheeping and chirping outside, and experiencing all of the weathers that Nature can offer. Slight cool breezes to hellish strong winds and everything in between, all can bring fascinating insights. Watching it all is better than anything on the TV!

Do It Now!

Whether it’s crochet, knitting, gardening, painting, writing, sewing, whatever it is, grasp the good that comes from the hours spent in the making, and be proud for every moment spent! Such moments and their rewards are priceless!

Living a good life, that is what life is all about, or it should be. Because if we think about it, we are all on a ride, from birth to death, but no-one knows when or where that ride might end. There are people dying every single moment, all across the world, and while some of those deaths were expected, many weren’t.

If you leave things “for later”, you may never have the time to get them done, and you’ll be gone, never having completed one of those masterpieces of art or craft, you told yourself you’d do later, when you had the time. Make the time, and make it right now!

If something is important enough for you to consider doing, surely it deserves being done now, or as close to now as is possible. Putting things off, will never get them done, because other things will crop up, that in the moment seem more important than that creative thing you really want to do.

My creative thing is writing, poetry mostly, but other things too. I like to spend times out in the garden, where light pruning, and harvesting are my pleasant chores.

And certainly, with gardening, knowing the right moment is very important, whether it’s watering, replanting, pruning, or harvesting, if you don’t do it with Nature says it must be done, you may lose out! We have strawberries growing in hanging pots at the moment, and we have lots of birds in our garden too. These two things meant that if we didn’t do something about keep the birds away from any ripe strawberries, the birds would get them, not us!

So my husband and I bought some bird netting. And we left that netting in the back yard, and left it, and left it. Until the other day I had a moment to spare and I went outside with scissors and some rubber bands, snipped the lengths of bird netting for the hanging pots the strawberry plants are in, and covered the strawberries safely with the netting, done, safe from any hungry birds!

I can see the strawberries growing, safe behind the bird netting, and I’m glad I took that moment and got it done; I love home grown strawberries! I’m writing a novel at the moment too, and even though I’m not churning out thousands of new words a day, I’m doing at least 500 new words every day. A friend challenged me to send her 500 words from my novel every day in January, and I said yes, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve missed out on a couple of days only, and will make up the missed words, by sending more than 500 words, on some days.

And once January is over, my friend and I will look at where the novel is, what needs to be done still, what isn’t working (perhaps), what stage the story is at, and so on. I could have said no, when my friend mentioned her idea, but I took the opportunity handed to me, and so my novel is moving along far quicker than it had been moving.

So a lesson learnt, if something needs to be done, don’t leave it for another time, which may never come, do it now! As Seneca once said, ‘To be born is to begin dying’. So yes, do it now, while you’re still here to do it!

Using Stoicism in the Modern World

Yesterday, I had cause to look through my copy of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, to assist in an issue that had come up with a friend’s Facebook message. I had a think about my best response, and couldn’t decide, but after looking through my Marcus’s great 2000 year old book, I found the perfect responses.

It was about people who are always seeking validation from others, as the essence of the discussion, and after reading the book, and looking at my own thoughts and ideas, I realised I value my own opinion far more that the opinions of others …

I don’t mean this in an up myself kind of way, but in a far more considered way than that. I don’t spend time thinking each morning, as such, but I certainly do think further about most things that come up in my life. Being a poet, blogger and writer, as I am, my opinion is a valuable tool, to get my very best words written and out to the public.

Humans are still humans and even though there are far fewer slaves around these days, and we no longer have stadia where there are fights to the death, for real, there are such things in a more metaphorical sense still. Being out on the road in heavy traffic, looking to get in front of that damned car, what is that, if not a battle with death as a possible end, if things go wrong.

And the way so many people are mistreated in their workplace these days, well, they would have been better off if they were treated like slaves, at least they’d have been looked after, and cared about to some extent, if they did their job well. Not like the way bosses in contemporary times short change their workers, especially the most vulnerable ones!

So yes, I definitely feel that Stoicism is very much still relevant these days. What do you think about it, I’d love to know, please leave a message and we can look further into the whole thing, perhaps!