A Green Spin

‘Isn’t it boring to do nothing constructive with your day?’

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I just read The 112 Hour Week (And I’m writing an eBook) [here], a criticism on the latest trends of ‘minimalism, lifestyle design, mini-retirements and 4-hour work weeks’ (interestingly, he’s a minimalist himself):

And what’s this obsession with not working anyway? Isn’t it boring to do nothing constructive with your day? I think humans have an innate need to create something, or else they get fat and die.

From what I’ve learnt so far from the people who want to follow a minimalist lifestyle or work for 4 hours a week, it’s not about doing ‘nothing constructive’ with your day, and has everything to do with the fact that ‘humans have an innate need to create something’. The reason why people want to leave their 9-5 jobs is to pursue their real dreams and passions, particularly those of a creative nature. People in dead-end jobs are particularly interested in minimalism, and being free of the drudgery of today’s working society is to let go of what has stifled their creative passions before, and to allow them to grow.

Which leads me to my next point, these 4-hour work weeks or better 2-hour work weeks or EVEN better 0-hour work week. I think I finally got what they meant. These bloggers seem to define “work” as any chore that you do for money.

[…]

But me. I like working. And I like to use this definition of work:
work |wərk| noun

activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result

So using this definition, walking to the beach is work. Updating my Facebook status is work. Sex is work (or if you’re doing it wrong it can be a chore). You see I think these 2/4 hour work week people have it all wrong. Work is awesome. It’s all about having a purpose and knowing your outcome. I don’t want to read a book on how to work 4 hours a day and then fuck around for the rest of the day. And I don’t want to “outsource” my life. It’s my life and I want to experience the most of every waking moment.

I’m not so sure it’s as utopian as all that. I don’t believe that people come to the ‘4-hour week’ books thinking, ‘great, I can quit all the chores and boring things in my life and be lazy! I don’t have to work ever again! I hate work!’. The vast majority of people I know don’t want to quit work just so they can lie around watching daylight TV for the rest of their life. They want to quit work because it is suppressing their real dreams and passions which they have no time for. They want to work towards these dreams, right? And ‘having a purpose and knowing your outcome’ is often unreachable when a person is stuck in a job that hate. The minimalist movement is popular because people want to ‘experience the most of every waking moment’.

 

That’s what I got out of ‘The 4 Hour work week’ anyway. Just putting my six pence out there.

Am I wrong? Are people who follow the ‘4 hour work a week’ ideal, just pursueing laziness instead?

 

I quite like this ‘no bullshit’ blogger, other than disagreeing with this post. Especially his comments on the 100-things challenge – “Personally, I think it’s a cop-out to have exceptions but then to really have only 100 things would be way too difficult”.

Written by Peppidee

March 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm

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What Makes You ‘You’? Or, How to Declutter Without Thinking About It

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Look around at everything you own. Open the cupboards that are stuffed with papers and Things To Do. Pull open your drawers and observe everything that you think makes you You. Open your wardrobe. Take out every secret, hidden thing, and lay it out bare.

Sit, and take in everything. The books you’ve yet to read, the notebooks full of half-started ideas and writings, the clothes you haven’t worn for months, the bulging folders. This is You.

This is You, because you’ve let Yourself become the items you own, the crap you hoard, the things you’ve made yourself believe Matter to you.

Breathe in, and breathe out.

Breathe in.

And out.

Get a few bin liners, one for Charity, one for Recycle, one for Get-This-Out-Of-My-Face Rubbish. Pick up the first item you don’t like the look of.

And let it go.

Because you know that these clothes and these papers and these books and these notebooks and these things are Not You.

Get rid of as much as you can.Maybe for as long as 2-3 hours – it’s easier once you’re on a roll. But probably best not to get rid of every single thing you own in one fell swoop; you might regret it the next day.

Then again, you might not.

Written by Peppidee

March 27, 2011 at 3:03 am

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Earth Hour: Why it doesn’t matter, and why it does matter.

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So here I am, 23 minutes into Earth Hour, plunged into darkness in this little study with nothing but the computer screen to light up the room, because I have Essays to Write, Duties to Do. Downstairs, electricity hums. A TV screen cackles. Fridge doors open and shut. Lights in every room beam out, trickle over the floor of the study. I look out of the window at a city lit up, cars moving with their flash beams sweeping the road. Nothing has changed.

Is Earth Hour the biggest hypocrisy of all?

Well, kind of. But not really.

Right now, I am  probaly violating Earth Hour, by having computers on. I am violating it because my printer is on and there’s a light on in my bedroom and there’s a TV up here on standby and my phone is charging. ‘Lights out’ is easy enough to say, but to unplug every electrical appliance is the next step, and that’s not going to happen is it?

An hour with lights turned out. ‘How will that help the world?’ cry the great general public. Including people I know. ‘An hour with the lights out is nothing compared to the UK’s power consumption overall! Earth Hour is a waste of advertising and resources!’

True. So why aren’t these same proclaimers stopping to evaluate THEIR consumption, instead of shouting about how an hour isn’t enough?

Do these same proclaimers take the time to go a step bolder, to have their lights out for an hour once every month, or week, or day?

Do these same proclaimers evaluate every single way they can possibly save power?

I don’t think so.

So instead of saying, ‘I can’t have the lights out’, or ‘That’s a waste of time’, why don’t you consider what you CAN do for the earth instead? Whether that’s turning your computer off for an hour, or your TV, whether that’s turning your electricity off entirely for an hour, or whether that’s considering everything they can do, every single day, for this perishing planet?

Do what you can.

What did I do? I turned my lights out. Maybe tomorrow, once this damn essay is done, I’ll be able to turn off the computer too.

Written by Peppidee

March 27, 2011 at 2:18 am

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The black hole of Facebook

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I was over at Be More With Less the other day and stumbled across this post, Farewell Facebook [here]. Personally I am not in a position to delete my account. I’m a uni student. Deleting Facebook would be like deleting my university e-mail account – I wouldn’t be able to see the latest on the societies I’ve joined at uni and the various socials they’re holding; I wouldn’t be able to converse with seminar study groups and share the work we’re doing; I wouldn’t be able to easily contact the vast majority of my friends on when we’ll next meet up. This all makes me an active user of Facebook, and I don’t see much point of deleting my account.

However, up to the other day I was a huge passive user of Facebook as well. That ever-dangerous News Feed was the first thing I’d look at when I woke up in the morning and when I went to bed at night. If I was bored when I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d check my Facebook feed on my phone. Not for any weird, stalker reasons, but just out of pure habit. I’d do the same with my favourite news sites.

Back to my original point: the ‘Farewell Facebook’ post didn’t strike many chords with me, except one comment which I adored and which stopped my behaviour instantly:

Mostly, Facebook felt like a loud coffee shop in my head. I’m more of a loner and like to hear myself think sometimes. Twitter can be similar. Leo Babauta calls it a river, he says, “you can’t drink it all so just take sips once in a while”.

[this comment refers to Leo’s post on Twitter and using it productively: A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly]

After reading this comment, I tracked my behaviour over the next day. Within hours, I had eliminated the habit of checking my facebook feed. I haven’t gone back, and I don’t think I will again. Here’s how…

  1. Recognise what you SHOULD use Facebook for. I knew I couldn’t really delete Facebook, but I didn’t want to be a passive user anymore. I went onto Facebook notifications and stopped every single notification to my e-mail address EXCEPT for notifications on new messages. I knew if I didn’t allow it to notify me for messages, I would constantly be logging onto Facebook under the pretence of checking for messages, then allow myself to be distracted by the news feed and by meaningless notifications. I then paid attention to how many times I logged into my account – I only logged in when a message came in, and then I’d deal with my notifications at the same time, before logging off. This stopped me from being distracted by the Facebook tab in the background.
  1. Recognising why you use Facebook OUT OF HABIT, and why it is interfering with the rest of your life. This is where the above comment came in. Every time I was dealing with something difficult, I walked over to my computer to check my Facebook, under the pretence of ‘taking a break’. I must have sat down about twenty times that day and stood up again when I noticed I was logging into Facebook… this happened when I was decluttering my closet for Project 333. It happened when I was trying to write my essay. It happened when I was attempting to do some creative writing. Facebook is the loud coffee shop in my head of endless statuses and profile changes that allows me to be distracted from doing something for myself, from doing something that requires a bit of brain power, a bit of trial-and-error, and a bit of personal failure. I was so worried about writing a bad page of creative writing, that I preferred to tune into the coffee shop instead of my own mind.

Interestingly enough, the minimalist movement of blogs and websites has replaced Facebook to become my new distraction from my projects. Hopefully, that will end up only being a good thing.

Written by Peppidee

March 23, 2011 at 1:45 am

What this blog isn’t – and what it is. On ‘Minimalism’

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If you’re looking for an advice column on how to live a minimalistic life, you’re probably at the wrong place.

I like the concepts of minimalism, but I’m not here to tell you how to do things; I doubt I’ll ever write an ebook on minimalism, for one. I’ve always like ‘How to do this’, ‘how to do that’ articles; they give me the idea ‘wow that’s easy!’, but I tend to forget it afterwards. I have nothing to hold me to those values, those ideas.

Personally, I prefer the kind of blog where I follow the story of someone who is actually living this life. I like the kind of people who inspire me. I’m also better at writing stories than advice columns. This blog will be about my journey.

What’s my story? I’ve been a participant in this ‘minimalist movement’ for a while now, but only recently have I found the blog community and decided finally to set up home in my own little section of the web.

One thing you’d better know about me, before we get started; I like my conservation. I’m a reasonably heavily active WWF volunteer, and the kind of person who will probably piss you off in real life because I’ll go around taking cardboard out of your bins and turning your lights off. But don’t worry, you won’t have to experience that side of me in my blog. It’ll just be me, being cool and telling my story.

So what will this be? I guess it’ll be the story of someone taking a green spin through life; wiping away the footsteps and momentos of failed dreams and unfinished goals, and starting again with nothing, living more consciously of my actions in a 21st century world, and simply living MORE. So, enough chat and more action. Let’s go.

Written by Peppidee

March 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

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On minimalism, and what it is to me

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I’ve spent a large proportion of the past week (although it’s been an interest of mine for months, if not years) scrolling through minimalist blog after minimalist blog, and I thought I’d offer my own views on it ‘so far’!

Although I like to say I’m a right brained person, I love my lists, I love my order and counting certain numbers of sets and subsets. 40 pairs of socks. 21 notebooks. 39 pens. Whatever it is, I love to list it out, one by one. (Although in a way I guess this ‘helps’ my right-brainedness – knowing I only have 33 clothes to worry about whilst I’m busy composing and writing and generally creating, it’s much more reassuring for the madness of my mind, as I know I have nothing ‘in the real world to worry about. Make sense? hm…)

I stumbled across this post – my 288 things [here] – which struck a slight discord inside of me, and so made me consider MY view on minimalism. On the other end of the spectrum, I loved Castles in the Air [here].

288 things – woooah. that makes minimalism from home sound like more of a chore than anything else. When I consider myself ever having a future minimalist home, I envision a caravan or a studio flat, colourful and vibrant, but probably using a box as a shelf, a beanbag for a half bed, half chair. I wouldn’t imagine myself being a high-flying kind of person, methodically choosing the pieces of furniture that suit my minimalist home style, a room with very little personality, very little ‘me’. I like a BIT of myself out there in the wide world, and not just a complete white canvas.

I would also want to be the kind of person who has, say, 33 things – 33 real, tangible things (number chosen because of project 33) – or at least having a backpack of things, y’know? When I think minimalism, I think MINIMAL, and not of the home designs I see nowadays. It sure as hell makes the creative process a LOT easier, knowing I don’t have 200 items of  clothing to sift through every morning, that I don’t have a drawer full of old, incomplete story ideas (already shredded), that I’m ready to start afresh for the first time.. So yeah… maybe I’m not a minimalist, maybe I’m a nomad/minimal-living kind of gal.

Written by Peppidee

March 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm

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On purging and singing

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In these two days I’ve deleted, thrown, cut up and screwed up and stamped on and purged so many familiarities so far, so many little fragments of my heart stored and invested away in material nonentities. A dress bought for me three years ago, and never worn since. A notebook filled with incoherency and scribbles. A stack of Christmas cards, old messages. Dated, 2005, 2006, 2007.

My room is not peaceful. I cannot be myself there, because there are little bits of the old me everywhere, little failures and tiny lost dreams and miniature self-hatreds. Here, is a jumper that’s never fitted me, a folder full of unfulfilled story ideas; there, is something I need to do. NEED and HAVE and MUST are stamped everywhere in bursting ink. Want and desire and hope lie curled in dusty corners, now peering behind unread books, now hidden from view.

Even my blog is full of writings that are not my own, advice written to uncaring hearts, memoirs written to downturned eyes. But the problem is me, the little voice in my mind that can’t escape. The voice that trembles and lies out of view, scared of failure, that quietly criticises myself and others without offering an alternative. Hidden voices. Hidden dreams. There are too many people I’m scared of. There are too many situations from which I shrink away. I do it today. I do it right this minute,  but the sad thing is that in years to come, only I will know my own failure. People have their own successes and failures to deal with, and I will mean nothing until I make myself something.

I have dreams that I feel I won’t be myself until I reach. But really, I’m that person right now.

Today, a few minutes ago actually, I read this. Castles in the Air: How to Self Destruct (I think this is better than ‘Completely Start Over’).

I like Point 1. Erase everything. There are a lot of old pictures I must let go of, right now, to keep my sanity. It’ll be difficult, but I’m sure it’s possible.

And I really, really like this point, whether anyone but I understands it:

Let me tell you something. Back when I first started Castles in the Air, with a simple wordpress account in April 2010, I was obsessed with tracking my statistics. I was a new blogger, I was eager to please, and I was also completely addicted, like a crack addict that needs her next line immediately, to keep that high going for as long as physically possible.

I erased all my writings from April to August 2010, which is 5 months’ worth of articles, along with 2 eBooks no longer available, and as a result, countless hours poured into it. Erased. Not archived. No back-up. No secret compartment online or on my computer that has them stored away safely. As if I’m going to say one thing and hide my true self by doing another.

Why did I do this? Why not just keep it up there for the world to see?

I don’t want other people’s approval for what I want to do in my life and what I am doing with my life. And that includes my past writing. For during this time, I was heavily entrenched in a life which was not making me happy. I was in a job I disliked heavily. I was not making good decisions. I was in a back-and-forth fight between my family over my life decisions.

 

Written by Peppidee

March 21, 2011 at 1:56 am

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