If one pays attention to “professional” photography, even the advanced amateurs that make recognizable names for themselves, one finds that a key component in the professional’s success is reinvention, possibly re-imagination, of their working methods. Likewise, successful minimalists of all stripes almost invariably experience reinvention of multiple facets of their lives, for the good of their lifestyle…smaller homes, smaller collections, more efficient tools, fewer tools, less things and more experiences ideally. Not all minimalists experience the same range of reinvention…some were minimalist from the start, growing up with the minimalist mindset or developing it naturally as part of their own growth…but successful minimalists, like successful photographers and most other professionals, must reinvent themselves at least occasionally and probably on a regular basis.
My wife and I are turning a corner, looking at reinvention, in our daily lives and in our home. We talk regularly of moving back to Oregon. We talk about my starting a new job. We talk about my returning to school. We talk about the possibility of selling our large home for a smaller one. Mostly, it seems that my efforts in returning to a minimalist existence are having a positive effect. Jessica seems to be embracing the notion of collecting and keeping less stuff, particularly the redundant and just plain unnecessary things…books that will never be read or are no longer relevant, clothing that will never be worn or is worn beyond acceptable, knickknacks that don’t contribute to any discernible mode of decor and basic clutter that has a way of lingering just because it came to rest too far from the trash can. It seems we are at the earliest stages of reinvention of our life together…doing stuff rather than acquiring stuff and preparing a more mobile lifestyle. Personally, I like stuff…but I tend to like stuff I can pick up with my hands and use to change and create other things…I like tools. My wife likes to decorate with the trappings of the life she imagines for herself…everyone does this to a certain extent, myself included…but now we are taking strides to be sure our collections and decorations fall in line with our re-imagining of who we are. Let’s decorate with the tools we use to hike, with the tools we use to make photographs, the tools of our lives as dog owners, with the tools of people that cook, garden and participate in their own lives…rather than a conglomeration of furniture and trinkets that restates the obvious (we live a rural lifestyle and stuff gets broken, dirty and worn out). We want to get out and do, not decorate as if we did.
Let’s get out and do something today, change something today, create something today…reinvent ourselves today…participate in our own lives today.