Sunday, August 29, 2010

Minimalism and Community

My sister and I went out on errands this evening, and we talked about a couple things that seemed worth talking about. I'll talk about the first, which is something I've been thinking about lately, just after coming across something on the internet, and just as I always think more about the simpler life of older times, and how I want that to shape my future.

I read this thing the other day about a minimalist challenge, which is to have only 100 personal items. I want to do something akin to the goal, but have not quite decided how I will bring it into play. I am sure I will document it when I actually go through the process, but for now it is just conceptual. I have aspirations when I marry again to buy a piece of land and with my husband build a home there. I figure what we will be able to build together will be modest, but nice. I've read about different methods that are easy to learn, and can be used easily to do most of the building, and the land is one of the most important things to me, because I want to be able to raise and process most of the food that I and my family eat.

But back to the challenge, so the idea is just to live with less stuff. I feel the appeal of this, and having my dance room, which is pretty much an empty room, which I do so many things in, and which my nieces find even more ways to have fun in, I enjoy the concept of empty space for creativity, and how less is more. I want to make it so that moving is less of a chore. I want to know what everything in my house is, and know that it is something I want to have. I actually was thinking toward this idea, but more abstractly, back when I created my list of 101 goals in 1001 days. One of my goals was to make an inventory of everything that there is in my house. I think it will be a lot easier to do once I get rid of a lot of my stuff.

And I know there are some things that I will not get rid of, but simply reorganize. Like I want to relegate most of my dishes to storage. I want to have more so that when I have guests I have dishes for them, but want to keep it to one plate, bowl, spoon, fork. Because then I will keep them washed. It will also make more room for my canned food in my kitchen, which is a logical place for it to be.

I am sure I will have a lot more to say about it once I actually begin the process. I wanted to tonight, but got busy socializing, which is always a nice distraction.

The second concept we discussed was independence, and the notion that things can be done on our own. As I began writing tonight, it made me think of my own writing. It is not my own. My non-fiction especially on this blog. I get ideas from so many places, so many people, from the things I read, from the people I talk to. It all comes from so many places. But even my fiction, it is inspired by so many other people, and as I have said, the characters that are just like me are the ones that bore me most (maybe that wasn't on this blog), and it's the one who seem like other people, real people that aren't me, that fascinate me, and that I love. And it is because they are the people around me.

There are so many people involved in our lives, and we are involved in so many other people's lives. I suppose this sentiment has been captured before in the phrase "no man is an island", but I think that is a negative spin on something that is beautiful.

We all depend and rely and affect each other. We are a vast community of people who are greater than the sum of our parts, because of what we do for each other, how we build each other up, how we spread knowledge, how we can lift and inspire and strengthen each other, and make each other better than we ever would be on our own.

I think of the simple act of committing to other people, to write 20-30 minutes a day, and just that system of support and strength, how it has helped me be more the person I want to be, to do the things I want to do. I am glad that I am so much more than just myself, but that all of it is me. I am glad that I can come to live my true potential, while keeping my own beautiful individuality, to be a part of community, and to be one. It is a beautiful thing to be an independent entity, but connected in a vast network that is humanity.


  1. Hi Jennie - I came across your post on a Google Alert I have set up for minimalism. I like the way you're thinking about incorporating minimalism into your life. The 'one plate, bowl, spoon, fork,' bit really caught my attention since I write a blog called 4 Plates, 4 Cups, 4 Bowls. :) if you're interested. Good luck with your efforts! I'll be checking back in to see how it's going. ;)

  2. Thanks I'll check it out! I think the blogging world is a great place to network, and find support for the new things we try. I emptied about half of the clothes out of my closet today that I haven't worn in forever. Thanks for your support!