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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

You know how I love me a new month. I get all giddy about do-overs and possibilities. I make lists and set goals and talk about progress and plans. So it might surprise you to learn that I’m going to take the opposite approach this month. Instead of doing more, being more, thinking more, planning, accomplishing, improving more… I’m going to do less.

Lately it feels like there is too much more. Over the past few days I’ve been reflecting on reducing, eliminating, simplifying. It started the day I talked about decisions. And part of what prompted that was the organizing project I’ve undertaken.

An inordinate amount of time has been spent deciding what to do with the 437th USB cable and the zip top bag full of hex wrenches that belong to something but nobody knows what.

You’d be shocked, or maybe you wouldn’t be, at the sheer volume of junk that has accumulated in drawers and boxes and bags. I’ve spent a lot of time deciding what to do with these things because they may be important if we could figure out why, and we’ll probably need them four seconds after I throw them away.

It was as I sat in the middle of the floor in the middle of this cult of wires and doodads and pieces that I decided to stop deciding. Less thinking. Less figuring out. If I couldn’t identify it and didn’t need it, bye! We’re not talking about priceless gems here. Something tells me if I suddenly and urgently need [some random cable], I can ask Amazon to send me one in about three seconds.

You will be happy to know I have less cables and doodads and pieces. And yes, Grammar Police, I said less, because there will be less obsessing over perfectionism this month.

There will be less ticking off boxes of things I did and less documenting every miss. I may want to improve myself but this month there will be less of that, too. Somehow I will be fine if I don’t wash the dinner dishes every night and no worlds will implode if we eat leftovers four nights in a row.

There will be less worrying about things. Less worrying about how long it takes to finish the grocery shopping, because really, who cares if I get it done in 43 or 52 minutes? Less guilt about the fact that I still haven’t read June’s book club selection. Less nagging doubt over how I phrased a sentence in that last blog.

Less stuff. In addition to my home organization project, which is gleefully resulting in less stuff, I’m going through a digital organization project. Thus far I’ve deleted every last one of my browser bookmarks, and that’s saying something. Did I really need that 89th dinner roll recipe? Or that video of cell replication that seemed interesting when I heard about it but clearly wasn’t interesting enough to watch in the past year?

Digital clutter is really insidious. It’s a running tally of all the things you haven’t done or read or tried or paid attention to. I want less things clamoring for my attention and less things nagging me to consume them.

Less Technology. Enough said.

This month is about spending less time on inconsequential, trivial things. Which conversely opens up more time for things that matter.

I’ve gotten a head start on less by offering less resistance to the pumpkin pie spice malted milk balls. Sunday I had FOUR.

But don’t worry, I have no plans to be less healthy. Just marginally less neurotic about it.

Less planning. Nothing I plan happens anyway, and if it does, it certainly doesn’t happen the way I planned it. Things change. The universe goes into Thwarting Mode. Planning is hard enough when you don’t have to re-plan and un-plan. I hereby relinquish all attempts at planning. No plans. Not even a pl.

There will be less apologizing this month. I don’t mean that I will run over your toe with the vacuum cleaner and tell you to get over it. But you know how sometimes you get caught in this loop where you take responsibility for everything from the price of eggs to the weather? And all someone has to do is say “Wow, this was a bad day to go grocery shopping” and suddenly you’re saying sorry and explaining why you went grocery shopping and how you really needed eggs for the frittata, not that you had to make a frittata, but there are a lot of peppers in the fridge and you really wanted to use them up so they don’t go bad.

Less explaining.

I like this month already. And I’m going to start it off right now by using less words and simply wrapping up and saying… no more.

Photo: more often than you might think, I end up with a random screen shot of something and don’t know how or where it came from. This popped up on my phone the other day and it seemed like a message from the universe.