Beginning of 2018.
I was finally in a better head space now.
It took some time, but I was starting to see significant changes in myself and the way I was acting. It was a new year now and I was determined to make this MY year. I had my 50 kilometers a day for 50 days challenge going on and whilst it was hard and painful, I was still going strong. I was determined to finish.
By this time of year, it’s the middle of Canadian winter and the snow is beginning to pile up outside, compounding with ice and blistering winds, going out is out of the question.
Still, despite the challenges I had overcome in the last few months, I still felt unfulfilled. I was doing well in school, felt satisfied with my projects and my work and had a fantastic, supportive group of friends to back me up. I had gone from one of the lowest points in my life to now, what I presumed to be one of the highest.
But I still felt unfulfilled.
Something was off.
It was a bizarre feeling, one that I couldn’t quite shake, regardless of how hard I tried, except I couldn’t pick out what was causing me to feel this way.
I used to crave human interaction and social attention, so much so that the only times I was alone was when I was sleeping. Even then, sometimes not.
Now, as I saw the days of January slip into February, almost a year ago to the day, I decided I needed to start enjoying personal, alone time more. I didn’t know what it would do for my head, but I thought it couldn’t hurt.
One Saturday morning, after I had woken up, fixed myself breakfast and made a fresh cup of coffee, I sat down at my (crappy) dorm desk to get to work for the day.
I remember having lots of work to do, which was pretty normal at this point of the semester, so I decided to throw a movie on Netflix for background noise when I worked. I needed a break from headphones and music.
I spent the next fifteen minutes scrolling through Netflix in search of something to watch. I favourited a few movies, thinking I’d watch a few in succession and finally, decided I needed to just pick one and go with it.
Documentaries are always good, because watching them makes you feel smart doesn’t it? So I went to the documentaries page and found my movie. I had seen it advertised on Netflix before, but it never grabbed my attention as much as it did now. The movie was called: MINIMALISM. I thought to myself: “Huh, sounds interesting enough, I’ll give it a shot.” As a design student, minimalism is all the rage right now. Who knows, maybe it would be pretty good?
So on it went and I got my sketches and work set out on my desk, ready to start getting shit done.
The funny thing is, is that I never got anything done while that movie played.
I was hooked, transfixed through the lens of the film. I didn’t know who I was watching on that screen or what their story was (even though I learned quickly enough through the film’s backstory) but they had my attention.
I sat back at the end of the movie, wondering what I had just seen.
Something inside me felt different. Changed, altered, shifted.
At last, it felt like someone had shifted the weight in my head and both side of the scale are now reading equal.
That movie and the principles it talked about never left my head for the rest of the day.
I started my Minimalism Challenge the next day.
I decided that I was going to follow this trail of inspiration as far as it went. Maybe this was the thing in my life that I had been subconsciously looking for, to allow me to finally feel comfortable and at peace with who I was becoming.
A few days later I started listening to podcasts. My first podcast, from the two blokes featured in the movie I watched, who called themselves ‘The Minimalists’, was their episode 115-HAPPIER. I sat at my desk, staring out my window, listening, learning and understanding. As soon as that episode was over, I queued up a second one, episode 104-SIMPLE.
I felt understood. I could relate to nearly everything they were saying.
Over the next couple of days, snowed in, I continued to listen and learn. I came across a movie called ‘Small is beautiful’ another Netflix movie about living in the latest home trend, Tiny Homes. These people were unintentionally forced to sort out which of their items they truly found value in and ditch everything else. After all, there’s only so much that you can fit into such a small space. That got my gears turning.
Next I listened to a podcast called: The Ground Up Show, hosted by Matt D’Avella, the same guy who directed the Minimalism documentary. Episode 043 of his podcast with a man named Dan Harris, made me understand my own personal issues and shift my thinking of myself. I finally felt understood, completely.
I consumed these podcasts and documentaries and videos endlessly. I didn’t leave my room for an entire day, I just sat there listening to hour after hour of talking about this crazy concept called Minimalism.
I knew I could do something like this, so I did. And from there, I never looked back.