All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.
- Rod Dixon

I'm feeling rough. I'm feeling raw. I'm in the prime of my life.
- MGMT


The Lifestyle: The Weight

[It's been a while since I put up any original content on here. Sorry for the delay. I have lot of ideas to share but I tend to sit on them too long. Here's the latest I've been kicking around in my head -- enjoy!]

One of the things that I like about endurance sports is that it reminds people to place experience above possessions. For many of us sunny days training with your friends quickly eclipse nice cars and fancy watches. Sure, as my friend Kelley put it, most of us have a "fetish for nice equipment" but it's just that - equipment. Tools for training.

I was thinking about this as I was listening to one of my favorite records of 2008 (and one of the best breakup albums ever), Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago and I remembered reading that Justin Vernon had recorded the album in the woods or something (his website is here). I looked into it and it turns out that he recorded the entire album while living alone for a winter in a cabin in northern Wisconsin. This was also the inspiration for his recording name Bon Iver which is play on the French bon hiver - good winter.



This got me thinking about running away for a few months -- maybe it would be good for me. I started thinking about what I might learn about myself but then I quickly realized I couldn't do it. I have a lease. And even if I find a subletter I have a car loan to pay off. And even if I sell off the car and use my savings to pay off the remainder of the loan I have student loans to pay. But maybe if I pay the minimum on my student loans I could do it.

Maybe.

And then I remembered the speech that George Clooney's character makes in the recent film Up In The Air. Note that I'm cutting out a pretty significant part of the monologue in the context of the movie but I want to focus on just his first point.

How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life... you start with the little things. The shelves, the drawers, the knickknacks, then you start adding larger stuff. Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, your TV... the backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. You go bigger. Your couch, your car, your home... I want you to stuff it all into that backpack ... The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living.
I agree.

Our lives have weight to them. Weight can be good or bad. Weight can keep us grounded, shelter us and give us a home. But sometimes it's important to be able to move, sometimes we need to have the freedom, sometimes we need change.

Everyone has a different level of weight they like to carry. I like to stay light. I never feel more alive then when I'm traveling. Or when I'm biking solo between DC and Bmore. I feel good about throwing things away - uncluttering in my room. I like that I own no furniture larger then a dresser and no TV. It just makes my life seem ... manageable.

I know that we've moved past the "New Year's Resolutions" part of January (and I changed me banner and quotes on this blog to reflect this) but one thing I want to try and do in 2010 is lighten my life a little more. Even though I don't own much I could easily throw out a few boxes of just ... stuff ... crap, things I have no need for. I want to strip my life down to the essentials.

Who knows with time maybe I could just move into one of these:



Yup. That exists. Or maybe I'll just buy a 100 square-foot house:




Kinda neat eh? Yeah it's a yuppy/midlife-crises trailer home but get past that and it's pretty cool. Like a treehouse for grownups. Upside: no mortgage. Downside: the house still costs $45,000. You can check out other models on their website.

My favorite part of this video is how he overtly mentions that the bed can sleep two. Kinda odd. Then in the last few seconds you hear the camera person talk to him and --- would you look at that it's a women! You ODB you just drive around the country and seduce women with your novelty house! Not a bad idea actually!

Anyway, what do all of you think? Is there a correlation between sports and appreciating experience over possessions? How about sports and a minimalism lifestyle? Do possessions feel like "weight" to you or are they comforting? Do you think I'm destined to live in a glorified trailer and become a creepy old man?

Thanks for reading.

6 comments:

  1. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this as well. I'm looking to massively de-clutter again this spring. I threw away 3 garbage bags of stuff just out of my room in November. It felt fantastic.

    The idea of picking up and heading out just anywhere, going walkabout, is alluring. Having a place that's familiar, that you can call "home" and always feels like home has definitely kept me rooted here in Madison.

    Awesome post.

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  2. You could fit like 600 of those little houses in Kris's new crib. And this blog post sounds like the beginning of Fight Club. "The things you own end up owning you."

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  3. Back in 2004, within three months my apartment was broken into and struck by lightning. Whatever electronics weren't stolen were fried. That taught me some sort of lesson about what belongings were important: not the big stuff; that's for sure.

    When I moved away from Baltimore, my life's "weight" was subject to airline restrictions (plus one box I mailed). You're right that it feels good. As long as I have a computer, a mobile phone, a bed, and a plate to eat off of, I'm doing all right.

    On the other hand, I have some stuff stored at my parents' place, but almost all of that fit in my Toyota Celica, even my huge bean bag chair (www.cordaroys.com), which is what I miss the most.

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  4. How have I never seen one of those before? Did I not go to college? Were they invented only in the past few years? So much better than a flip-n-f*[<. What was the street name of that thing? A bang bag?
    I wish I had less stuff. I fit all my worldly possessions in the trunk of my A4 when I left GT in '02. Now I have a house full of crap and a giant anchor of a mortgage. Don't ever grow up.

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  5. Here's another link, with a better name:
    www.lovesac.com
    They used to sell only beanbag-chair type things, but I guess they've branched out.

    Unfortunately I didn't have my "slam sack" in college, which is probably why I didn't get much action. I first bought my "fluff-n-fu$%" when I got to Baltimore (mail order). Now it's in my old bedroom at my parents' house; that makes me feel a little dirty.

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