What started my journey to choose less?

A friend asked after yesterday’s post: was there a catalyst that started my journey to choose less?

It wasn't a single moment in time.

A few years ago, I felt like there was just too much going on in my life. I had too many things but I always wanted more, too many books/movies/games/music/tv shows/apps/restaurants to check out, too many commitments after work and on the weekends.

I was constantly tired, yet made myself busy so that that I didn’t feel like I was missing out.

I wondered if the next 75 years of my life were just going to be busy.

Reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” may have been that catalyst that changed things. Since you all read my last newsletter you know I’m a fan.

I read it after my girlfriend and I moved in together. We had a great one bedroom apartment, but I think we both wondered how two twentysomethings filled up 800 square feet and a basement storage unit when we barely had enough money to put into savings.

Early on in her book, Kondo says to start by discarding things.

So I did.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what that first round of discarded stuff was, but I remember being nervous to get rid of it. What if I needed it in the future?

Turns out I didn’t miss that stuff. I still don’t. And I haven't needed it. So I started getting rid of more things.

I also started to apply my nascent choose less philosophy to other things.

What if I didn’t buy something to fill my newly-created empty space? Choosing less saved me money and created less clutter.

What if I stopped reading a book I didn’t like? Choosing less saved me from a boring book so I could move onto one I would probably enjoy more.

What if I didn’t schedule weekend plans? Choosing less let me sleep in, take two hours to eat breakfast, and go on a walk in the afternoon.

Choosing less became a self-reinforcing cycle. I didn’t feel I had less or was missing out. I found I was happier and more relaxed. I less stressed at work, more present with friends and family, and enjoyed what I already had more.

The catalyst to choosing less wasn’t just reaching the breaking point. It was also seeing how my choosing less made me happier.

Where do you feel like there’s too much in your life? Consider if you can use it as opportunity where you can choose less.

Thanks for the reader question! I loved responding to it. If anyone else has a question, reply to let me know!

This post is adapted from a weekday newsletter I wrote in April 2018, Choose Less.