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minimalism in a nerdy world

Category: First Principles

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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Better with less (“Why?” Part 2)

I got tired of waking up in a world that somebody else owns
– Bruce Springsteen “Racing in the Streets” (demo version)

In my last post, I focused on my Why. This time out, I want to share the notes I made when I asked myself the question posed by The Minimalists – “How would your life be better with less?”

I am more focused on my future than I ever have been. I am starting to see a picture of where I will be in 10 years. And when I picture that  ideal future, most of these Things aren’t there.

Jotting down notes of how my life would be better with less, I found they all fit into 4 broad categories – My First Principles, benefits in the present, benefits in the future, and financial advantages.

I could, and very well might, write an entire post about each item on this list.

First Principles

  • Reduce selfishness
  • Practice making better choices
  • Support creators more effectively
  • Be more in the moment
  • Create more

The Present

  • Less content guilt
  • Calmer space
  • Better choices
  • Appreciate what I have more
  • Not settle for so-so
  • Less clutter
  • Less being judged

The Future

  • Freedom for more choices
  • Less to move
  • Less for Wifey to deal with
  • Could downsize
  • Open to new things


  • Lower debt – not paying to owe
  • Digital final format reduces rebuying
  • Safety net – by paying no interest charges
  • Encourage using free services – library, apps
  • Spend less on what I hope I’ll like

You can’t win the Things Game except by conceding.

-Keith Callbeck

getting to my Why

I was thinkin’ that if you know a way out,
Then I’d like to go with you.
-Our Lady Peace “Paper Moon”

One of the slow living thinkers who has influenced me the most has been Brooke McAlary who hosts The Slow Home Podcast. Brooke focuses on what she calls “your Why.” The Minimalists ask a broader question – “How would your life be better with less?”

I have put a lot of thought into these questions as I approach the end of my purging and decluttering.

In many ways, where I think I stumbled at the end of my 900 Things project was that I failed to ask myself enough questions through the process. Why was I reducing? How should I stay minimal? What do I want?

I think I always gave a lot of meaning to possessions. As a child I had a ‘library’ of books, read and unread. And I would meticulously catalog and count my comics. Checklists and ‘want lists’ and price guides.

For a lot of my youth I did not feel a lot of joy or connection. As a bullied kid, I had very little sense of control over my world.

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the oddness of an autograph

We cling to our memories as if they define us. But they don’t. Our actions do.

-Ghost in the Shell (2017)

It is a First Principle for me that I support artists. And when I have the opportunity to meet one whose work I love, I like to show some gratitude.

Which leaves a conundrum. How, at a comic convention, do I support the creator, start a conversation, show appreciation, but not bring any of their Things home?

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Thoughts on the Panel One Comic Creator Festival 2017

First Principles: support the artists, not the IP.

-KL Callbeck

This week was one of my new favourite Calgary events – The Panel One Comic Creator Festival.

Begun in 2016, this is a comics-only festival begun to highlight the work of local creators in a venue free of celebrity photo ops and t-shirt walls.

As I minimize and focus on the Things that bring me joy and value, I have thought a lot about the comics I buy at conventions and the festival.

A few of the creators sell their work online and I often support that way. Many others, of course, will print copies of their work in the hundreds and hand sell them at shows. The physical Thing is the only way the work will ever be available.

Which leads me to this First Principle:

Above my desire to reduce Things is my commitment to supporting local comic makers. 

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