The Science Of Giving Up

The snow finally melted, the sun is out, and the trails are dry. Today was the first mountain bike ride since last fall. I loaded up the bike and got an excited dog in the truck and drove to the trailhead. Literally as soon as I got to the parking lot, the skies opened up and it started raining. Crap. I sat in the car for a full minute thinking oh well, guess I’ll have to ride tomorrow. Then I looked at my dogs face and didn’t want to disappoint him. I figured I wasn’t going to melt, so off we went.

Ooooh boy was I rusty. The balance wasn’t there. And it turns out, ski muscles are not the same as bike muscles. I was going pretty slow. This seemed like more work than I remembered. As I rode along, I started thinking about what route I wanted to take. There is a shorter loop and a longer loop.

I was already tired and being wet from the rain didn’t help my motivation. I started justifying to myself that there was no need to take the long loop my first ride out. It has a couple of steep climbs that I knew would hurt. I should probably get some shorter rides in before tackling the bigger one. Besides, it was the dogs first day out as well. No need to push him.

I got to the trail junction where I had to commit one way or another. I sat there for quite a while trying to decide. I really didn’t want to do those climbs. I watched the dog, trying to see if he seemed tired. What to do, what to do?

I listened to a podcast the other day that had two Navy seals talking about hell week. That’s the culmination of the first evolution trainees go through as prospective seals. A week of no sleep, little food, and nonstop physical training. Carrying logs, paddling boats in the surf, running, and never-ending pushups and pull ups – all while wet and sandy. There’s a massive attrition rate, which is the point of it all. Finding out who’s going to quit when things get really hard.

Anyway, the Navy guys said the interesting thing is that nobody quits during the hard stuff. They quit while on a break or after eating some food. Turns out your brain imagining what’s going to happen next and how you’ll feel is more powerful than enduring an exhausting exercise session. If you give your brain time to think, it’ll do everything it can to convince you to not do something it perceives as potentially unpleasant. I found that fascinating.

Long story short, I took the long loop. The rain stopped and the sun came out. I did ok on the climbs and the hound did just fine. It ended up being a good first ride. I got back to the car and was super happy I didn’t let my brain win the argument. It’s like going to the gym. I hate the gym and will come up with every excuse possible to convince myself to go tomorrow instead. And every single time I do go, I feel better and am happy I went.

So, this weekend – go take the long loop.

Polar Opposites

I ran into some commentary yesterday that I thought was interesting. Two people I follow and whose opinions I respect. For the first time (that I noticed) their opinion of the situation in Ukraine were completely opposite.

First up is Peter Zeihan. He’s a geopolitical analyst who always seems to have good inside sources and provides comprehensive, behind the scenes analysis of world events. He put out a couple of videos the other day about events in Ukraine. Russia launched a handful of hypersonic missiles at Kiev. Zeihan believes Ukraine shot down some/all of them and this represents a key moment in Ukrainian air defense against Russia.

He also thinks that Russia’s campaign is severely faltering due to a lack of troops and incompetent leadership. The fighting around Bakhmut have devastated Russian troop numbers and depleted ammo and supplies. Ukraine’s spring offensive is about to start, and they will probably conduct several feints to draw the limited Russian troops away from whatever the Ukrainian intended targets are. He seems to be fairly bullish on Ukraine’s chances at the moment, given the material support they’re getting from the US/NATO.

Next is Col Douglas Macgregor. He’s a retired US Army colonel who is a consultant and television commentator. He has consistently provided insight that indicates Ukraine is losing badly. He talks frequently about the devastating loss of Ukrainian troops and that they have run out of enough men to backfill the losses. He has shown video of fighting age males being forcibly abducted and sent to the front. He comments frequently about Ukraine’s battle losses that the mainstream media never seem to cover.

On the subject of the missiles, he said that no country currently has the technology to shoot down a hypersonic missile. He thinks the Russian targeting intelligence is quite good and that they’ve been very successful destroying any new equipment/ammo the west and NATO is sending as fast as it’s staged in-country. He scoffed at mainstream media for accepting Ukraine’s claims that they shot down most of the missiles.

So, what am I supposed to think? Two people whose commentary and analysis has seemed to be pretty spot-on. Now they have polar opposite views. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. When it’s all said and done, who had the better geopolitical analysis? I’m getting my popcorn ready for this one.

I’ll Be Back

Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Terminator. Seven-time Mr. Olympia winner. Governor of California. I’ve always admired him, but definitely lost respect for him with the whole cheating with the maid thing. He’s been out of the limelight for quite a while, so when an interview with him popped up I figured I’d give it a read. Nothing earth shattering about it, but it affirmed why I always liked him. The dude works his ass off.

Many people don’t realize Arnold was already a millionaire before he got his start in movies. He took his meager winnings from bodybuilding and started a mail-order business. He then launched a brick laying business. He took the profits from those businesses and started buying apartment complexes. He had a sizable real estate empire before ever getting into acting.

Funny how the most successful people, be it business, sport, or art, all share a common trait – discipline and hard work. It’s almost like there’s a lesson there…

A quote from Schwarzenegger from the article:

“How I feel is irrelevant. I don’t give a fuck how I feel. What I care about is: What can I do to make it better? Sometimes I get out of bed and feel shitty. But I get on a bike or go feed the animals and suddenly I feel great. This country was not built by people feeling good. This country was built by people working their asses off. We have to work our ass off and stop worrying about feelings. Just swallow it. If you feel shitty, don’t think, just do things.”

That is not a popular sentiment today. Society today seems to be centered around peoples feelings. Universities now have to have “emotional safe spaces” and debate or dissenting opinions are not allowed. It’s rare for kids to have summer jobs. We’re a nation that no longer wants to work hard. This doesn’t bode well long-term.

Another quote:

“It’s also important to have a mission. If you have a mission, it’s so much fun. If you wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?” That’s bad news. Because then the mind starts wandering and you never know where it will take you. If you’re thinking, “I have to do this, so let’s get going …” Then you accomplish things.”

This one hit me because it’s true. Lately I’ve started feeling that I’ve lost the vision I had when I left healthcare. I’m slowly drifting into just doing day-to-day errands and tasks. I don’t have a mission. I need to find it again before I end up just sitting on the couch every day, eating bon-bons and watching soap operas.

So, the Terminator is right. The secret sauce is to stop worrying about your feelings, work your ass off, and have a mission. Hard to argue with that.

I Think It’s Over

Yesterday was a good day. The temperature approached 70 degrees. We got a bunch of yard work done. Multiple trips to the dump. I took a nap. We went out to dinner and watched the sunset over the lake. Just before bed, I rescued my garbage can from a marauding bear. We’re very blessed to live where we do and to be as fortunate as we are. It’s easy in my little corner of the world to feel like everything is hunky dory.

Meanwhile, there’s a literal invasion crossing our southern border. 10,000 people a day from countries across the globe. Folks who have limited job skills, can’t speak the language, no money, and carry scabies, lice, and TB. And our government facilitates it. We bus them to cities across the country. We give them cell phones. They receive court dates 4-5 years in the future. The majority of the migrants are single, fighting-age males. Your government is doing everything possible to hide this.

They are not leaving. No politician has the political will to take any meaningful action. We have conceded the southern border to the cartels. The cartels have clearly taken over the southern border states. They are now the primary gang in most major cities. Given our nationwide push to defund police and elect liberal district attorneys… how long do you think it will be before major parts the US look like cartel-run Mexico?

Mobs of violent criminals operate with impunity in major cities. They loot and steal without fear. Major brand name stores are pulling out of big cities at a record pace due to crime. If you’re stupid enough to try and defend yourself or others, you will lose everything. You will be prosecuted and vilified by the media. Antifa operates at will in most big cities and are never targeted by police or the FBI. Yet if you protest drag queens targeting children, you’ll be guaranteed to have federal agents busting down your door. Hate crime!

Our current national debt is $31.7 trillion. Our debt service alone is equal to our defense budget. The republicans have passed a bill raising another $1.5 trillion in borrowing, and the democrats immediately accused them of trying to starve grandma. These are not serious people. Debt, inflation, war, and a banking crisis don’t bode well for a long-term stable economy.

The average person in this country probably rarely hears any of this. CNN won’t cover it. They’re too busy trying to generate new Trump outrage for ratings.

So, what happens next? It’s the decline of the Roman Empire, 2.0. In my opinion, we’ve crossed the tipping point. There is no going back. It’s been a slow decline, but now it’s beginning to accelerate. I don’t think the collapse happens in my lifetime… but I also didn’t think society would crumble as fast as it has.

I fear two scenarios. The first is large portions of the country finally deciding they’ve had enough. Vigilante mobs form. Private “security” groups organize to patrol and protect neighborhoods. Violent encounters ensue with criminals and clashes with government forces trying to stop citizens taking matters into their own hands. The wild-wild west on steroids. The cartels will thrive in this environment.

The second scenario is the rise of a hugely influential politician. One who pushes an extreme nationalism as an excuse to massively expand the security and military industrial complex. Someone capable of convincing the masses to give up just a little bit of freedom in exchange for security. As a nation of sheep, we would happily follow a charismatic leader down a dark road. A real-life handmaiden’s tale.

In the face of my Sunday morning dystopian view, what can we do? Not much. Long-term, I think it’s going to happen no matter what. Do everything possible to get yourself out of bigger cities and go to a small town and put down roots. Be ready for food insecurity. Read and watch news sources other than mainstream media. Be a contrarian and reject the status quo. Learn to be realistic about what’s looming around the corner and realize that nobody’s coming to save you.

But then again, maybe the future will be amazing! Flying electric cars and helpful home assistant robots in every home. A borderless society with people living in peace, love, and harmony. A gluten-free and tofu driven nirvana.

Maybe. Meanwhile, enjoy life. Go do something fun today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.

I’m Bored

It doesn’t happen very often, but yesterday it did. It was the perfect storm of circumstances. The weather was nasty all day. It’s the winter that just won’t quit. It snowed heavy wet snow most of the day, then switched to rain. Everything is just a snowy, muddy, mucky mess. I didn’t have access to the computer I usually use to do photo/video editing. There weren’t any interior house projects to do. I managed to get the dog a short, wet, hike, but other than that, I didn’t go outside.

I was honestly bored.

The worst part of being bored is that it’s hard to shake the feeling. I sat down to try and write something at least a dozen times and… nothing. I couldn’t muster the energy to write a single word. I told myself I should go to the gym, and then I’d look out at the snowy/rainy mess and think – blah. I watched a few YouTube videos, but the recommendation algorithm just seemed uninspiring.

I finally sat down and read a book that’s not very interesting. I napped. I made coffee and read a few more chapters. And then repeated that for the rest of the afternoon.

That level of inactivity is soul crushing. It’s like a heavy weight that slowly presses down on you and keeps pressing harder the longer you sit. It sucks your energy and makes it harder and harder to get up and do something. The longer I sat, the less interest I had in moving. By 3pm, I probably could have just crawled in bed and been done for the day.

Sloth may be the most insidious of the seven deadly sins. It robs you of the desire to do anything. And sloth is exponential. With each hour, each day, the power of sloth increases, and it becomes harder and harder to break free. Diet, exercise, being creative, being successful – all are at the mercy of sloth.

“Sloth subverts the livelihood of the body, taking no care for its day-to-day provisions, and slows down the mind, halting its attention to matters of great importance. Sloth hinders the man in his righteous undertakings and thus becomes a terrible source of human’s undoing.”

Breaking free of the gravitational pull of sloth is the key to everything. What was Newton’s first law of motion? “An object at rest, stays at rest. An object in motion, stays in motion.”

Stay in motion.

Yum, Fermented Milk

I had a follow up meeting this week with my gastroenterologist to discuss strategies to fix my gut issues. Two things jumped out at me from the discussion. The first was weight loss. The doc is a very fit guy who’s into brazilin jiu-jitsu. We’d been talking about diet, and he laughed and said, “these days I have to be careful about who I say this to, but losing just ten pounds would make a huge difference in how your gut feels”.

What struck me is not that I could lose some weight (I already know that), but that in today’s day and age he has to be careful about telling someone that. It’s sad that we no longer want to hear the truth. We want to be told to take this one pill and it will fix everything. In reality, we’d all be better off if doctors felt like they could freely tell their patients that they’re a disgusting fat-body and it’s time to do something about it. Unfortunately, that would offend our delicate sensibilities and someone would probably sue for damaging their self-esteem.

The second thing he said is that people don’t understand how long it takes to repair the gut microbiome when things go haywire. He felt it was going to take six months to a year to get back to normal. He said he laughs when people say they can remove a particular food or try a diet for a week or two and think it will do anything. Several months is the minimum to see real change. He said the gut is incredibly complex and we still don’t understand much about why it gets out of whack.

My official diagnosis is post-disease IBS. I contracted something at some point, and it threw my gut into a downward spiral. When we originally talked, I’d said Covid was the last time I’d been sick. He didn’t initially think that was the cause. When we met this time, he said he followed up with some research and studies are starting to show that Covid is having an impact on gut health. Interesting.

Anyway, as a part of repairing things we talked about foods and supplements I should be taking. Big amounts of protein, wheat dextrin fiber, yogurt with live cultures, and fermented foods like Kefir. I had to Google kefir. I’d seen it in the store but didn’t know what it actually was. It’s fermented milk. Uhhhh… I don’t know if I can do that.

When I was in my early twenties I worked at a restaurant. During my break I was in the habit of chugging one of those mini cartons of milk. One fateful evening, I grabbed a carton and started drinking it down like I was shot gunning a beer. The carton as almost empty before I realized the milk was… chunky. I ran to a garbage can and vomited up all that spoiled and curdled milk. I haven’t drunk milk since.

So you can see why I’d be a little hesitant to drink fermented milk on purpose. I think I’ll put that on the back burner for now. Besides, it turns out sauerkraut has the same benefits. I like sauerkraut. I like hot dogs. I could do a sauerkraut dog a day. What could go wrong with that?

Do You Have A High Social Score?

Every single aspect of your life is available on-line. Every purchase you’ve ever made. The prescriptions you had filled. Every text message you’ve sent. Your phone calls. Any picture you took with your phone. Every single thing you’ve liked, retweeted, or commented on with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your browsing history. It’s all out there in the cloud. Don’t believe me? If you use Google Maps, go have a look at your timeline. Every mile you’ve ever driven, walked, or traveled is there. Every single store or destination you visited. How many minutes and hours you spent driving or walking. It’s a bit disconcerting the first time you see it if you didn’t realize all that info was being harvested.

Your devices are listening to you 24×7, vacuuming up everything that’s said. How do you think those recommendations on YouTube or ads in your Instagram feed get there? All that data is being collected and mined for information about you. Why? Right now, it’s mostly so companies can market and sell to you. That information is collated and sold to anyone who’s willing to pay for it. Increasingly however, that information is being used to authenticate who you are.

I mentioned it previously – Dynamic Knowledge Based Authentication. Companies buy all this personal information about you and then use it to generate authentication questions. It’s presumably more secure than the previous method of Static Knowledge Based Authentication. The static version was the canned questions you’d set up and be asked; what was the name of your first pet, or what city were you born in. The static version has become too easy to hack, so smart dynamic questions are now generated from the massive databases of information collected about you.

As we start to add AI to this huge collection of data gathered about you… systems are soon going to be able to start making judgments about you. They’ll be constantly creating and updating a profile of you. And that, my friends, is the beginning of the end. Here’s a few scenarios I can think of off the top of my head:

  • You go on to OpenTable to make a dinner reservation for tonight. Hmm, not a single restaurant has a table available except for a few one-star, lower end places. That’s odd for a Tuesday night. Not really – your profile indicates you infrequently eat out, most of your clothing purchases are from Costco, and you rarely buy alcohol. Odds are you won’t order drinks, may share a plate, and probably aren’t a big tipper. The algorithm will hold on to that reservation for someone with a better profile.

  • You’re trying to find a new job and haven’t received any interviews, despite applying to at least 50 different job postings. You went to a good school, have a killer resume, and have been a loyal employee for many years. What’s wrong? Well, your profile indicates you might be a problem employee. You travel a lot and seem to be a big shopper – often during work hours. You comment quite a bit on social media and appear to be vocal about your opinions. Based upon your shopping habits, you buy a fair amount of alcohol and there are quite a few pictures of you drinking with friends. You’re not a good risk, despite a solid work history.

  • You have a USPSA shooting match coming up next month, so you go on-line to buy some bulk ammo for practice. For some reason the sale won’t go through. You contact your credit card company, only to find out they’ve cancelled your card for violating their terms of service. You apply to other credit card services, but every single one declines you. You’ve always paid your balance in full every month. What happened? Your profile indicated that you attempted to buy more than what is considered a “safe” amount of ammo. You posted an anti-BLM meme on Facebook at one point, which puts you in a white nationalist category. That, combined with support you’ve expressed on-line for various right-wing politicians and causes, makes you a risk.

  • You suddenly receive a notice that your auto insurance is dropping you for violating their ESG (environmental, social, & environmental) terms of service. As you shop for new insurance, all the rates you’re quoted are at least five times what you were paying before. Why? Your profile shows that your car is more than ten years old and doesn’t meet MPG requirements. You drive more than 15k miles per year and your route data shows that most of your driving time is on high accident routes. Your consumer profile indicates that you may not be performing all the recommended service and maintenance on the vehicle, which increases emissions, reduces performance and increases the chances of an accident. You’re a poor risk.

There are a billion other scenarios you could come up with where an AI generated profile of you might impact the outcome. Does any of this seem outlandish or tin foil hat conspiracy? I don’t think so. I think we’re on the very cusp of this being reality (if it’s not already). As this trove of personal data is increasingly shared in massive databases, and as AI becomes more prevalent… your social credit score is going to dictate your future quality of life.

So, what can you do about it? At this point, not much probably. I think it’s going to happen regardless. Especially since all of it will be put in place “for your own good”. Virtually all of us have been sheep – oblivious to what the technology was doing. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

If I was a parent of young kids, I’d be thinking about creating and maintaining multiple identities for them. One that’s used for any casual on-line activity (the web, social media, your phone) and one that’s protected. Anything you can do to enable them to enter adulthood with a clean, neutral, social profile. Educate them that everything you do, say, purchase, or interact with will be evaluated and potentially be used against you at some point in the future.

We are no longer a free people. If you want to interact with society, have credit, make purchases, rent a car, or get a job – your profile better conform to whatever is deemed to be acceptable.

Hmmm… this has the making of a good movie screenplay.

Pink Dumbbells

I bit the bullet and joined a regular gym. This will be a supplement to my garage gym when I’m away from home in a secret, undisclosed location. My home garage gym has quite a bit of non-traditional globo-gym equipment. Clubbells, slam balls, medicine balls, rings, kettlebells, etc… For better or worse, I haven’t been following a “normal” lifting program. My swinging heavy clubs and jumping around on plyo boxes has fixed my back pain but hasn’t done much towards traditional strength measurements. So in anticipation of going to the regular gym, I searched the interwebs and found a pretty basic globo-gym lifting program.

It’s what you’d expect – every other day schedule of pulling movements, another day of pushing heavy stuff, one day of legs, repeat. Armed with a list of what to do, I took a deep breath and walked into the gym. Luckily it wasn’t busy, or I probably would have turned right around and left. I’m self-conscious just in general, so a gym environment is one of the worse places to be. It’s hard to hide all the jiggly bits. I have to wander around to find the right machine and figure out how to use it. And worse of all, I usually have some steroid monster watching me having to reduce the weight on a machine down to 10-year-old girl levels.

Anyway, I started in on my new lifting routine. It went pretty well. I didn’t drop anything and felt like it sorta looked like I knew what I was doing. I started thinking, this isn’t bad. Why hadn’t I done this before? I finished the last set of an exercise and pulled out the phone to see what was next. Lateral raises. I knew this would be challenging. I have a messed-up shoulder that hurts 24×7. Not to mention the aforementioned lack of strength.

I really wasn’t sure how much weight I’d be able to use. The gym had huge stacks of dumbbells against one of the walls. They were fancy dumbbells, coated with a rubberized material – each weight size a different color. I started picking up weights and experimenting to see what I’d be able to lift with my jacked-up shoulder. None of them seemed right. After picking through every color I could see, I was down to the final one. A big pile of shiny pink dumbbells.

I picked one up and, son of bitch, it was the exact right weight. Pink. It had to be pink. I glanced around the gym and nobody was paying attention. Deep sigh. I grabbed the pink dumbbells and went over to a mirror to start my sets. As I worked through the reps, I started breathing harder. Grunting a little bit. As I said, my shoulder hurts, so I was having to push a bit to complete each set.

I glanced at myself in the mirror. I had an awkward grimace on my face. Sweat was dripping down my brow. And then the worst scenario for a self conscious gym newbie happened. A couple of younger, fit, gym-bros came to the station next to me and started loading up big time weight plates. There I am, huffing and puffing, horrible form, struggling to lift up my shiny pink dumbbells. Of course.

Not much I could do other than bravely finish my set and then do the walk of shame across the gym to put away my pink weights. Sigh.

Working out gets expensive when you now have to join a second gym where you won’t be recognized. I checked; they don’t have pink weights.

Go Big Or Go Home

Today was a glorious day. It was the first night it didn’t freeze overnight. Sun. Clear blue sky. No wind. Snow has melted off all the roads. Birds are chirping and the chipmunks are going crazy trying to find their fall stashes. It’s hard not to be in a good mood with a spring day like this. So I decided to go for a run. Not a fast walk. I decided I would suck it up and actually run. It was the first time in two years.

It went about as well as expected. I felt like a gazelle for about two minutes. Then I realized my heart rate was maxed out, so I slowed down. I looked back and could still see the house. Well, that’s discouraging. I continued to plod along and ignored everything that hurt. I ran a route that I used to run way back when I thought of myself as a runner. All I remembered was that it was my “quick” route in town when the trails were too muddy. I managed to jog most of the way, but definitely had to walk from time to time. It took me a lot longer than I remembered.

By the time I got back to the house I was pretty tired. Once my heart rate slowed down, I checked the mileage. 4.6 miles. Hmm. That was probably a bit much for first time out of the gate. I guess my memory of mileage was a bit off. I’m going to pay for that tomorrow for sure.

Besides the beautiful spring day, why did I suddenly decide to go for a run? We have a new friend who’s in his early sixties. As we’re getting to know him, I just found out he’s a competitive bodybuilder. He frequently competes with guys twenty-plus years younger than him… and wins. We had a fascinating discussion about diet and workouts. He’s just about to go to a competition, so he’s just started his weight cut. It was hard to hear how easy it was for him to cut down to 8% body fat. He said, yeah I’m a little hungry but I have a formula that just works.

I found our talk really inspirational. If someone his age can do that, I have zero excuse. If he can have the rigor to work his job, workout at night, and dial in his bodyfat exactly where he wants it, I should be able to drop a few pounds and get my ass to the gym.

I found our talk super energizing. I counted calories all day yesterday and today. I went for a morning hike with the dog and then the run. We’re going to keep this momentum. If he can do it, I can do it.

After today’s bit of overdoing it with the run, getting out of bed tomorrow is going to hurt. Going to the gym is going to take some motivational self-talk. But we’re going to get it done. Go big or go home, right?

Spring Cleaning

In my part of the world, spring has been very slow coming. Winter just won’t let go. I love winter and winter activities, but you don’t realize how much you miss warm spring days until you don’t have them. It’s been day after day of wet, grey, and windy. But finally, it looks like sun and 70 degrees this week (hopefully I didn’t jinx it). Thank god, because I’ve felt my mood dimming a little more each day. There’s just something about that first week of spring warmth and sun to recharge and lift your spirits. I live in a very active town and the first week of nice weather usually prompts an explosion of hikers, mountain bikers, and runners. Everyone is generally in a better mood. It’s a tangible feeling throughout the city.

That improved mood motivates people to start working on their yards, to wash cars, and the inevitable spring cleaning. We went all in on this tradition yesterday. We’re having our hardwood floors sanded and refinished this week. To prepare, we had to move all the furniture. This meant opening drawers and removing contents to make things lighter for moving. As you start pulling stuff out you ask yourself, “why in the world am I still keeping this?” One thing led to another, and we decided to do a massive clean out of every room.

We were brutal. If it hadn’t been touched in the last six months or so, pitch it. Everything went. It’s amazing the crap you hold on to. I’m definitely worse than Mrs. Troutdog. I had multiple boxes of old phone chargers, cables, electrical fittings, pieces of Velcro, fasteners, and odd parts I couldn’t identify. Why? Because I might need to use them someday. You realize “someday” hasn’t happened in the last five years… no reason to think it’s going to happen tomorrow. Out it went.

It’s interesting. We never had to think about a massive spring cleaning because we tended to move quite a bit. We were sort of gypsies for a while. We’d throw tons of crap out simply because we didn’t want to have to move it. But we’ve now lived in one place for just about the longest we ever have. And with that comes the accumulation of stuff.

It reminded me of something I’d written about before. Our current house required a major remodel before we could move in. So we put all our belongings in storage and moved into a motorhome for a year. An entire year with nothing but a few pots and pans, a couple pairs of pants and shirts, a mountain bike, and some lounge chairs. And we were happy as could be. I didn’t miss all my “stuff” in the slightest bit. When we finally moved into the house – BOOM, we started buying and accumulating things. And then you have to buy shelving and bins to store and organize all that stuff. And then more furniture. And clothes. And more and more and more.

The old adage is true… you will expand to fit whatever space you occupy.

So even though I need to be pushed into letting things go, I highly recommend it. It’s cathartic to start anew. And spring just feels like the right time to do it. The birds are chirping. The sun is out. So, take your next weekend and clean out your house. Top to bottom. If you haven’t touched something in six months, out it goes. Be brutal. Nothing is off limits. Clean slate. It feels good to be minimalist, at least for a while. Because you know you’re going to fill up that space again. It’s human nature.

Like a clean and empty desk to start a project or a blank sheet of paper – that emptiness is a new start. Anything is possible. It’s exciting. So just do it. You’ll thank me.