I’m a carpenter by trade and usually carry an over abundance of dirt under my fingernails. But now, I find myself a writer in Paris, and have traded in my bag of hammers for a pen, or a Mac. My hands have never been softer. I’m thinking of changing my name to Madge.
When Marie Kondo published, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, like many Americans I owned (me and the bank, mostly the bank) a 2500 square foot house, chock full of cool but mostly unnecessary stuff. I was occasionally called upon to access this stuff, which sometimes required me to contort myself like a potato bug into the crawl space and pull the items out, look at them, think about them and rearrange them to try and make them smaller so the new stuff that invariably found its way into the mix would be comfortable. Did I really need 9 caulk guns?
Before throwing this extra piece of clutter that I paid for in the trash, I read Kondo’s book and answered the question, Does this item bring me joy? The answer was that taking care of all that shit was just a big hoohaw. A waste of time, time that I can never get back.
My friends Sam and Suzanne, who co-authored Wealth and Well-Being Workbook told me, “You’re going to come to a point where you have more money than time.” I’m not exactly there yet, but the theme that kept coming up for me was, Do Not Squander Time. I believe what they say to be invaluable, check out the link for their book above, they know of what they speak.
The purge is on. I sold my house, and gave away a mountain, selling only a mole hill. I like money as much as the next guy, but it takes time to sell stuff, and how important was it anyway. That was a good place for me to start. Now my wife and I are dream chasers in France. I parked my truck, and for the time being do not drive, which has netted me 3 hours a day, enough time to write a book. Really, it’s glorious.
I want to do that thing, take that walk, see that place and eat that pastry. In Seattle, when I wasn’t working, I got into a bad habit of looking out the window and waiting for the street to come to me and move under my feet. I’m basically a lazy person waiting to happen. Now, in Paris, my apartment is 320 square feet. If I leave a coffee cup on the counter, forget it, the whole place is out of whack. It forces me be organised, get outside and use less. But it doesn’t force me to be less. I schlep our clothing to the laundry mat and read a book. I iron my shirts and meditate on what kind of trouble one of my characters will get into later. I commit crime vicariously through them without ever having to see the inside of another cell. This is what I have gained by stepping into the void and letting go.
Parisians, that would be me, have incredible resources available to them. Like the George Pompedou Biblioteque, a bi-product of the French revolution, where, four days a week, I work on my manuscript along side hundreds of other inspired folk who make make use of the incredible gift. I love the freedom of experiencing life to the fullest, stripped down to the unpolished bone.