Carving out quiet amidst the noise.
Last summer I hatched a plan that someday I’d ditch regular home living and live in a tiny home or RV. I’m not ready financially to do it now. But, someday, this is the plan.
In anticipation of packing my life into a tiny living space, I started getting rid of shit. Like, a lot of shit. I minimized everything. Kitchen gadgets. Books. Toys. Clothes. Bins of things I had moved with me from Boston to our apartment in Portland and again to my house in South Portland. On the weekends I took trips to Goodwill and the dump. I did a first pass that was easy. Trashing obvious junk feels good. Then I did a second pass that was much more brutal. Getting rid of an Ani DiFranco CD you’ve had since you were 16 is fucking tough, even though I haven’t listened to a CD in over a decade.
Reducing physical clutter made it clearer what other kinds of clutter were in my life. I moved my to-do list from the kitchen table and taped it up inside a kitchen cabinet. I deactivated my facebook account for a few months. I unsubscribed from dozens of email lists. I changed where I store my laptop so I am less likely to use it as a tool of distraction. With all of this I reduced mental clutter. I found a little quiet amidst the noise. When you think about it, we are constantly bombarded with clutter and noise. Our nervous systems constantly have to navigate an overwhelming amount of stimuli and information from our children, media, phones, email, our work spaces, social media, shops, restaurants, etc. The list could go on and on with the things that hound us. We don’t have much quiet or space. I made some for myself. It is precious real estate.
Preparing to live tiny has allowed me to escape my daily routine nearly as much as actually living in a tiny home or RV. The space and quiet are nice. Whenever those peaceful moments arise, I appreciate them for the short time that they last.
Last week, I took a short hike with my daughter around a nearby tidal pond. It was a crisp weekday. The path was deserted. The pond silent. I stopped and whispered to my daughter, “Hey, do you hear that? Just the birds and the wind in the trees.” We paused a long time in the silence. It felt like drinking water after being parched. It quenched something. We continued our walk, satisfied.