April: Time to Remove

time to removeI’m a big mover. I’ve moved dozens of times over the past decade, apartment to apartment, city to city, Las Vegas to Chicago to New York to Seattle.

“That’s a big move,” the moving guy said to me while he was preparing my quote for that last one.

Over the last few years, one of the biggest things I’ve found to rejuvenate, relax, re-up yourself involves something as simple as removing something, someone or anything really from your life. It’s true. The more crap you have, the more crap you have to take care of.

Now, I’m not advocating going all hermit-like, barricading yourself up and all—we are social creatures. But look at everything you’ve accumulated in life and take stock. I’ve culled my stuff what seems like thousands of times (and made hundreds in yard sales to show for it) in preparation for a Big Move. Acquiring stuff and noise and acquaintances does not make me happy. I am a quality over quantity girl every day of the week. But sometimes we all hold onto something—a book, bathing suit or best friend—that just doesn’t fit anymore.

I think one of humanity’s biggest downfalls is our inability to let go of attachments that no longer benefit us. We have this “quitters are losers” mentality, which, quite frankly, is bullshit. If many of us quit on stuff when we realized it wasn’t working for us, we’d be a whole lot happier and healthier. It might make me sound cold, but I’ve found that the same is true for people. If that one person in your circle is just driving you fucking insane, it’s probably time to cut them off. Same for that loathsome ex who drunk-dials you for dysfunctional 3 a.m. sex.

Recently, I was just in Honduras, learning how to scuba dive. For 10 days, I had no media: TV, radio, Internets, e-mail. Days were filled with actual conversations with real people and activities that required moving about and engaging with the natural world. Nothing fancy required to enjoy all this—some flip-flops, sunglasses and a good attitude. It was blissful.

Upon returning to the United States, I was bombarded with the white noise that rules our days, the messages that We Must Have This if we’re going to be smart, attractive or likable. Even if I turn the TV off, or leave the computer to go for a run, I hear it. And it tries to get you every time you’re bored—buy something, buy something, buy something. Many days, working at home, out of boredom or if I’m antsy or upset, I’ve succumbed to the siren song of Zappos.com and ordered way too many pairs of Frye boots that are surely going to go right back, because really, who can afford $800 worth of fucking Frye boots?  (If you can, I don’t want to hear about it.)

Right after my return from a country that isn’t inundated with this barrage of annoying messages (and this is changing, too, as Western consumer practices continue their destructive march worldwide), I began to feel it creep up again. And even if I’m mostly conscious about it, I still feel the ingrained urge to click on Shop Bop, Piperlime, Asos, Lucky Magazine tells me I need it for spring! Or whatever the hell is being pitched my way this moment. Like Pavlov’s dog, we are but programmed to respond with our VISA security code to verify purchase. 

For April, I want to keep those wolves at bay—so my goal is to remove. Remove annoying TV commercials from my daily life by not watching TV—or simply cutting the cable altogether (still wrangling with this one…I love my HBO). Not shopping out of boredom. Going through my crap once again and purging stuff I am not using. Vowing to buy used stuff, go rummaging more, repair what needs to be repaired. Wear the same shitty T-shirts until they wear out. No, you do not need to go to Target for a dartboard and a sundress.

More life. Less noise.

Don’t get me wrong and go thinking that the right pair of bitching boots is incapable of changing your life. They can. But one pair is usually enough.

Molly Brown blogs at evilmolly.com. She has had the same pair of favorite Frye boots for 12 years.

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