Over the last month or so I’ve made some huge progress toward adopting ultralight philosophy into every aspect of my life.
Here in the front country it’s not all about weight. Some of what I’ve worked toward has been lessening my financial expenditure (having an ultralight expense ratio).
Taking care of my body with the same care I would show to a cuben fiber shelter. Treating myself like the high-performance piece of gear that I am. Metaphorically speaking…
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. I enjoy the extra time! Selling my desktop computer and having my laptop die within the same two weeks opened up huge amounts of time. I sit here typing this blog post on my iPad Mini 2, the same device upon which I earlier was reading an in depth account of the causes of the Great Recession.
Ultralight in the front country means having an ultralight load on your time demands. It doesn’t mean doing nothing but, rather, finding what is exactly worth taxing your valuable time and doing only those things.
2. I’ve been able to reconnect. Getting rid of FaceBook meant reestablishing deliberate and thoughtful correspondence with intentional people. Even before deleting FaceBook, as I reached out to people to get contact info, it was nice to be intentionally communicating with some lost friends, rather than just commenting on their statuses.
Now, when I have something worth sharing, I send it straight to those to whom it matters. It feels much more clean and appropriate.
I’ve also been able to reconnect to things which matter to me. I’ve had more time to choose what to do with and I’ve filled it with things I enjoy. Walking to the library and perusing the shelves, reading books of topics as wide as motorcycle repairs to personal finance.
3. I feel more focused. Having less distractions on my schedule and around me physically leaves more room for me to focus on things that are truly important.
My to-do list today is about 12 items long and arranged on the Reminders app of my iPad (I’ve tried a few other apps but none seem to offer me any real value). I have the to-do list scheduled out so that i can get as much done as possible on one of my few days off.
4. There is little pressure. I have more time so I can go to bed a bit earlier, wake up a bit earlier.
I can shave each morning and enjoy the simplicity of a fresh shave with a clean razor (I’ve recently started shaving my head regularly). My drive to work is lazy, I never exceed the speed limit and watch as other cars shove part me to make it to their cubicle on time. Walking in to work I take it slow, enjoy the cold mountain air on my head and in my lungs.
With few financial pressures and absolutely no debt, it’s pretty easy to manage money. I work a job I love, make a very meager income, but still have more saved and disposable than most people I know. Of course, my “disposable” income I also save and will be happily investing while others are out buying 30’s of PBR.
Having ultralight finances and schedules means more time to enjoy the day. Just as we all love having a little more time to enjoy the morning on the trail with a hot drink in hand. Having a lighter, simpler pack, means more enjoyment of the trail. It’s no different in the front country.
5. I have room to make changes. From better time management and productivity, to exercise habits and long desired travel. With ultralight finances and schedule it’s so much more simple to find room for things I’ve always wanted to focus on.
Since I was a kid I loved video games and I still do. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me since I got addicted to the first Poke’mon game. More and more, however, in the past years I’ve begun to realize I’m wasting time. Finally, a month ago, I sold my very expensive gaming computer (along with a huge library of expensive games).
Why did I sell it? Not because there was something wrong with it. No, the computer was fine, and I took a huge loss financially on my investment.
I had been arguing with myself for ages to keep it because I’ve already spent so much on it. The other part of my brain, however, knew that playing games was slowly draining my potential.
Finally I just pulled myself up by the bootstraps and made the change I knew I really wanted to see. I wanted to move forward with my life more than I wanted to level up characters.
I wanted a positive direction for myself so much that I was willing to loose somewhere in the ballpark of a grand to get rid of a perfectly fine computer.
I’m glad I did.