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minimalism in a nerdy world

“get a life” means “get *my* life”

Having received all your letters over the years, and I’ve spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled… y’know… hundreds of miles to be here, I’d just like to say… GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you’re dressed! You’ve turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!

-William Shatner in a 1986 Saturday Night Live sketch (Shatner later apologized and named his 1999 autobiography after the gaff)

It’s a rare phrase that makes me lose my cool. Any variation of “get a life” does it every time.

“You need a life”

“I wouldn’t do that, I have a life”

“You have too much time on your hands”

All these phrases really mean “I am disrespecting the way you utilize your time. You should spend it the way I do.”

Having focused myself quite diligently in the past year to be hyper-aware of how I use my time and attention, this was an even more surprising and confrontational phrase in that moment.

In fairness, it was just an ill-informed comment from someone who probably does not remember my last name. And so it will not sit with me as a grudge. Instead, it is a catalyst to ask myself why it bothered me. And the implications of the phrase.

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Minimalist Collector video: Decluttering kitchen drawers

Everyone has a voice, but is anyone listening? Twitter noise

Everybody’s talking and no one says a word

-John Lennon “Nobody Told Me”

There are some hard truths I’ve accepted about twitter in the past year.

The days of idea exchange are long past.

No one cares what you think (unless you agree with them).

No one misses you when you leave.

The interesting people are self-censoring.

The reactionary and fringe are even louder.

As a comic creator I follow noted:

In the midst of this, Twitter is being put forward by the media as the be-all-end-all. Every newscast quotes the Tweeter-in-Chief. Lazy reporters no longer have to seek out the ‘man on the street’ for reactions, they can pull a thousand reactions in seconds, all matching the angle they want to take with the story.

I do not want to be one of ‘those people’ who rage about Twitter on Twitter. I am not making big speeches as I storm out of the room. But I am consistently reducing the amount I use the platform, and constantly reminding myself of the hard truths I mentioned at the start.

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Minimalist Collector video: Donation Day!

minimalism makes you strong at the broken places

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

-Ernest Hemingway

As I get closer to the end of the year-long minimizing project I set out on, I find that the times of calm and peace are punctuated by times of stress and challenge.

It turns out that minimalism is hard.

But not in ways you would expect.

Calming your mind, quieting your space, gives you time to really get to know who you are. But some of the answers you find might not be comfortable.

Awareness can bring more discontent.

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