Hello September!


It’s a new month and that means it is time for a new wellness intention! Over the summer I read a couple books that have motivated me to start cleaning out my closets and drawers and I suppose my life, in general. Everything That Remains and Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life are two books co-authored by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The latter is their first book (although I read it second; I seem to consistently read books out of order) and it discusses multiple dimensions of personal well-being and details various challenges to enhance said dimensions. It centers on the concept of minimalism and while I don’t agree with or would abide by all the suggested practices, I did find the book helpful and a good reminder that I am more than what I own, more than the house I live in and the car I drive, and I am more than the title of the positions I hold at Drake and Grand View.

Without spoiling too much of what’s in the books, here’s a teaser: After much success climbing the corporate ladder and living large, the authors give everything up to pursue what they’re truly passionate about. One of them happens to be a writer so he turns his hobby into a career and now travels the world spreading what I guess you could call the gospel of minimalism. The authors and friends remind their readers that sometimes the things we own end up owning us. They encourage people to release any anchors holding them back or down from what they really want in life. It is safe to say that these guys took minimalism to an extreme, or at least what I would consider an extreme. One of them boxed up all his possessions and after 30 days, whatever he hadn’t used he donated, sold, or recycled/trashed.

Last spring I posted about taking various items in my household that were no longer of use or value to me to various places around Des Moines. While that made a small dent in my possessions, I’m determined to let go of more. These books motivated me to go back through the closets and drawers and the damp, cobwebbed basement and start going through all the stuff, in some case, some of the anchors in my life.

So here’s what I am going to do in September: I’m going to get my basement cleaned and ready to show to anyone who wants to see. At this moment I wouldn’t dare let anyone venture down its steep stairs. And really, it’s not a livable basement. I live in a house built in 1885 so if you’re thinking dark, damp, dirt floor, you are partially correct. The floor isn’t dirt, it’s poured concrete. I’m by no means a hoarder but you know how boxes and decorations and paintbrushes just kind of end up here and there? Yeah, it happens to the best of us.

We’re celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this month and we’ve lived in our house for the past nine years. You can imagine what one amasses over time and what we cling to just because or just in case. I’m letting it go, or at least I’ll be giving it my best shot. Stay tuned for my report later this month on how I do!Forrest and Johanna in back of convertable on wedding day (Black and White)