As I’ve been reading through (and learning to practice) Essentialism by Greg Mckeown, I’ve been struck by his metaphor of our life as a closet. We have a limited amount of time, as our closets have a limited amount of space. While we can get a bigger closet, we will never get more time in our day.
Symbolic of the lifestyle change of essentialism I am beginning to practice, I am cleaning out my literal closet. In the process, I’m learning valuable lessons about how to fill the precious gift of time I have.
Cleaning my closet has struck me with a harsh reality – I am fairly careless with what I allow to occupy space. My mind is quick to justify things for poor reasons. “Well, this might actually come in handy if I bought some shoes to go with it”, but I will never buy the shoes. “Actually, I might wear this at some point,” but I will never actually wear it. It’s hard to clean out the closet. Our fear of missing out causes us to be afraid to get rid of that shirt we haven’t worn in a year (and probably won’t wear for the rest of our lives). And our fear of missing out causes us to be afraid to say “no” to activities we don’t entirely care about or uses of our time that are actually unimportant.
The disciplined pursuit of less is a difficult one. But giving away the twenty-three shirts I never wear and keeping the five I do is a valuable beginning.