During this period of working backward I stumbled onto a concept that helped more than you’d think, minimalism.
No, I didn’t try to live with only a hundred possessions, or anything equally extreme, but although some parts of my life were gone, I still had all the accoutrements and still spent time cleaning and maintaining those things. Things I no longer had any use for.
As you may have guessed, when life suddenly and fundamentally takes an unexpected turn, confusion follows. This confusion is different from the ordinary confusion of being temporarily befuddled by a task or idea not immediately understood. It’s a howling beast with sharp claws constantly tearing apart concentration and sending trains of coherent thought into the abyss.
While wrestling with the ugly brute added distraction is the last thing you need. This is where minimalism shines. By disposing of possessions that had lost their purpose and value, I not only made space in my house, but space in my head as well.
That mental space was essential. It allowed me to view the beast from different angles and slowly begin finding ways to tame it.
The take away for me was the insight that owning something, regardless of what it is, is a commitment. I was committing time, energy, and resources to every single thing I owned at some level. When I looked at things from this perspective I found many that, rather than add value or joy to my life, did the exact opposite. They weren’t things I needed, but things I needed to be rid of.