Never has everything been more accessible to us than today.
We are constantly being shown ways to pass our free time with new experiences, hobbies, sports, and activities. The internet makes it easy by showing us how to do things, who to read, where to be, and what you need to buy. There has never been a better time to be a beginner. So, it is no surprise that we so highly value new experiences and strive to have broad and diverse interests and skills.
The decision is now simple: "That is interesting, I should do it". Try everything, do everything: everythingism.
No doubt, this has elevated areas of our life, but I question what it has it done to our ability to enjoy endeavours that require serious commitment and what it has done to our efficiency with free time. You cannot get really good at anything if you are trying to be really good at everything, just as you cannot truly see anything if you are trying to see everything.
Eschewing everythingism has been a theme of our blog -- we have written about it HERE and HERE -- it was a big part of this blog's inception as we realized that the most efficient use of our free time and resources was to enjoy our own backyard in the pacific-northwest and pursue one hobby rather than many. We have come to relate with Essentialism.
For example, when we relocated from Kelowna to Victoria, I had budding and maturing interests in baking, hiking, weight-lifting, distilling, hockey, fishing, golfing, drinking, canoeing, snowboarding; not to mention I was also working full-time and studying for my CMA. I think I was pretty normal and most people my age had a similar list. But then, together we made a conscious decision to move to Vancouver Island and, for me, a big part of moving to Vancouver Island was to learn how to surf.
Little did I realize that it would completely claim the time I once reserved for tending sourdough starter, working on my short game, and taking wristers at hockey socks hanging off cross bars (a reliable pickup goalie is something to treasure). I realized that surfing is more of a lifestyle and I was not going to have as much time for other pursuits. Good bread I could buy, but waves I could not. I am thankful because it reminded me to look at how I spend my free time critically. Don't get me wrong, it is not surfing all the time and nothing else, but it certainly takes precedent. For me, surfing became essential.
The other aspect of focusing on one activity, which we have talked about BEFORE, is that it allowed me to trim non-essential activity specific gear and clothing from my closet, allowing us to comfortably downsize our living arrangements.
The idea of Essentialism is really quite simple: identify what is meaningful to your life right now and schedule time for those things. The other things that need to be done will naturally fit around it, and all the unnecessary things will go undone. This means learning how to say 'no', but not just to tedious and unfulfilling things, but as the author Elizabeth Gilbert said, "learn to say no to things that you do want to do" -- so that we have time for the things we damn well want to do.
Would you classify all your various activities and endeavours as essential?