Finding bits and pieces

So, one of the things I’ve noticed with this minimalism thing is I’ve been re-discovering a lot of things. A lot of articles say, “if you haven’t used it in the past year, you’ll probably never use it again!” And that is true, for the most part… but sometimes, I find something that makes me wonder why I gave it up in the first place.

It can be something tangible. There were some pieces of clothing I hadn’t used in a while, but decided to wear again. They’ve since graduated to my regular rotation.

As part of the digital cleanup I’ve been doing, I’ve been trying to consolidate my accounts, notably my photo accounts. I pay for Smugmug, which gives me unlimited storage, so I figured I’d just use that for everything in the future.

Looking through my old photo accounts made me miss photography. Here’s a photo I took of Circular Quay when I first moved to Sydney, six (!!) years ago:

Right now, most of photos are taken with my smartphone. I might bust out my compact camera for longer trips, but my DSLR and assortment of lenses largely goes unused. I miss taking nice photos… but at the same time, I have to remember what made me stop:

  • I would drag my gear everywhere. Even if I was just going over to my aunt’s house, or a routine catch-up with friends. It was heavy. I like traveling light, now, and be out and about unencumbered by my heavy(-ish) gear.
  • I took photos of everything — the location, the food, small details, candid moments. I felt like I was too obsessed with capturing moments rather than enjoying them.
  • Post-processing took too much of my time. Transferring photos to my computer, sifting through them, editing them, uploading them to my albums was way too time-consuming.

I do miss taking beautiful images to remember my days by, and I think I want to get back into it. I feel like there’s a happy medium, somewhere… I just have to find it.

Random encounters

Today, I met a couple of unicycle hockey players, and they invited me to try it out. After getting over my initial surprise that a sport like it actually exists, I realised that:

a) Hey, I used to play hockey AND
b) I used to unicycle!!

It made me think… what if my entire has led me to this moment? What if this is my calling? I mean… none of my unicycling buddies played hockey, and none of my hockey teammates unicycled… it’s gotta be some kind of universe synchronicity that this rather obscure opportunity presented itself to someone who had both played hockey and unicycled in the past, right? Right?

(S’anyway… I borrowed a hockey stick, and I gotta say my stick handling is still pretty good, all things considered. 😉 Haven’t unicycled in seven years though, so I’ll probably be verrry rusty.)

Now seriously considering if I should bring unicycling back into my life so I can give this a go…
Or maybe I’m overthinking things. 😛

Random May thoughts

1) I finally got around to bringing my donations to Vinnie’s! I’d sorted my clothes, bags, and shoes into a donation pile weeks ago… but it was only today that I finally got to bring it over. Even though my stuff had already been earmarked for donation, the fact that it was finally no longer physically sitting in my closet or hallway was a huge relief. It was two IKEA bags full… hopefully that’ll teach me not to throw my money around next time. 😐

2) I still like stuff, though. In fact, I’ve just created a Pinterest board called “Beautiful Things.” It’s a place for me to keep track of things I might buy in the future. The old me would’ve probably bought them already, since none of them are particularly expensive… but now I’m going to see how long I can hold off on buying them until I realise that I really do need them!

3) Speaking of stuff I still like… I still prefer tangible objects. A lot of the minimalism/decluttering articles and books I’ve read talk about how we can do away with physical objects like letters or photos… I don’t think I agree with that. There’s still something different about physical objects, for me. They may fade and take up space, but I find that’s part of their charm and authenticity, a reminder of things that are fleeting. There’s something impersonal about scanned copies of everything.

And the problem with having everything digital is that you’ll always need some sort of technology to view it. You can’t just take it down whenever you want and flip through it. And seriously, I’m not the kind of person who likes to reminisce by logging on the Internet and looking through my online albums. I’d rather take a few meaningful, printed photos.

4) Also… I’ve gone back to paper. I know there’s an app for everything, but I honestly don’t want to use my phone for everyday. So I put my to-do lists on my tiny notebooks and read physical books. (Hurray for libraries!)

5) Experientialism is starting to grow on me. When I was reading Stuffocation last month, I didn’t really agree that the answer to having too much stuff is experiences. But after looking back at my past few weeks… maybe the writer did know what he was talking about. I’ve previously equated someone who was really into experiences as someone extreme (and admittedly, the examples listed in the book were a bit extreme, but then again he may have been trying to drive home a point)… y’know, the type of person who was always out and about, crossing things of their bucket lists, always chasing the next adventure.

To be honest, that’s not me. I knew someone like that and I found her exhausting… she chased “adventures” at the expense of deeper friendships or financial stability, and it seemed like a frenzied attempt to ensure she wasn’t alone with herself. But then, to a certain extent, I realised I am an experientalist… For example, I’m pretty careful with money; I bring my lunch everyday even though I could afford to buy lunch instead… but if eating out (or spending money on a concert or event) means quality time with a friend, then I’m all for it! Experiences don’t always have to be unique or exciting or (ugh) social media post-able, they can be the quiet and simple moments, too. 🙂

Digital cleanup

May’s theme for a simple year is: digital! I’d already been making steps to reclaim my digital life the past few months, and I think it’s working, so this month’s readings was a great nudge for me to keep going.

What I’ve done

I’ve been spending less time online. (Still a work in progress!) I don’t mindlessly surf as much as I do, thanks to apps like AppBlock and Block Site. I’ve taken to reading physical books on my commute — I’ve noticed that if I read on my mobile or tablet, I have a tendency to check the Internet or my e-mail.

I’ve been checking my e-mail less. On most days I only check it once a day. (This refers to personal e-mail, of course.) I don’t really get urgent mail in my personal account, so it’s not a huge deal if I just reply to e-mails once a day.

Unsubscribe. I’ve always been pretty good at unsubscribing from e-mails. I’m a fan of Inbox Zero (or rather, Nearly Inbox Zero), so don’t really have a problem with e-mail. But. I realised that I’d subscribed to a ton of sites on my feedly account and signed up for a gazillion podcasts and e-learning courses that I never had time to do, so I finally got around to cleaning the lists.

Things I have left to do

Close more accounts. Hah! For writing, I’ve got this blog, my old Livejournal account, and a secret Tumblr account. And I think I have a few photo accounts scattered throughout the web. I don’t think I need them anymore… I should probably close them now.