Happy Birthday to Me


Yep, that's really how many unread messages I have in the two inboxes I use for my less-personal email.

At some point, I discovered that I can let pretty much all of that email go by unnoticed without it costing me very much. So why not just delete all of it, every single message, unread? Well, unfortunately, it may not cost much, but it has a cost. A bit more often than I'd like, missing emails leads to me missing things I actually care about. I've missed concerts that I'd really like to see. I've missed some museum shows. Here and there I've missed a sale that would be useful to me. Things like that.

A while ago, my approach to email was to try to filter things into folders and deal with each in turn, but now I just let the stuff in those folders pile up, too. So my current "system" isn't working, and it's costing me energy and I'm missing enough things that matter that I want to do better.

In a not-dissimilar vein, I had an interesting experience this winter. It started in relation to clothing. Perhaps because I was in ski gear so much, I found myself rotating through only a small percentage of my winter clothing. Ultimately the conclusion was undeniable: I have more than I need.

And then one day, I was looking at my stuff again, and my thought to myself was a little different. It came out like this: "I need less than I have." It took me a second to realize that I'd expressed something a bit more powerful. Yes, one possible meaning of that sentence is, "I have more than I need." But the other, potentially more profound one is, "I need to have less."

The more that I clear out clutter from my life, the more I realize how profound the stuck energy from such things really is.

Today is my birthday, and my present to myself for this year is a real focus on clearing out as much unnecessary stuff as I can manage, to let go, to discover ever more deeply the freedom and lightness of less. I'm going to start with goddamn email, and it's going to feel great.

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