“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost from The Road Not Taken
Have you ever tried to lose weight? I have. You set your goals, you visualize a thinner, more muscular you. You work hard. You count calories or cut sugar or carbs or whatever. At first, it’s so easy because it’s so fun. Every minute spent working out feels like you are getting closer. Soon, your favorite clothes will fit again, your skin will glow, and everyone will ooh and ahh over the new, fabulous you. You’ve got your eye on the prize there’s no stopping you. But then maybe
months weeks down the road did you start thinking oh eff this! I’m getting liposuction!?
Everything turns to rubbish. Your once-beloved salad combo makes you want to gag. Your favorite exercise guru has grown horns and uses her/his pitchfork to remind you of how you just need to work harder. Maybe you’ve lost a little bit but you still can’t zip your old jeans. And then you really must decide if it’s worth it. I call it the liposuction crossroad.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose the one with all-you-can-eat chocolate cake and potato chips.
No I didn’t (though I do love chocolate cake and potato chips). It took me a year to lose twenty pounds. Not four weeks or even four months. A year. This post is not about why I wanted to lose twenty pounds. It’s about minimalism. Really. It’s about my decision to not take the easy way out.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose the one with fewer processed foods and trails for running.
When I was about ten years old, I had a teacher tell me that I always take the easy way out. Ten. Years. Old. It was like a curse in a cheesy movie. Only she failed to tell me how it could be lifted. I had to find the “cure” on my own. I took her words and lived them and fought against them. I still do. My antidote for the curse is a constant dose of gratitude and forgiveness when I think of her. (And I think of her every time I hit those cruxes in my life.) I have to ask myself if I’m choosing the easy way out.
Here on my simplicity quest, I am at my liposuction crossroads. I just want it to be over sometimes. Throw it all overboard and get on with it. I want instant clear spaces and hours and hours to write and dance and run and think. I’m tempted to take a few boxes back up to the attic. The Minimalists, and Leo, and Courtney have become like my old Daisy Fuentes workout video. Irksome reminders of how far I have to go. I’m one phone call away from telling Clean Sweep to come and make it all better. Or go on a shopping spree.
Then I’m ten years old again. I see my teacher’s face. I hear her words. And I have to ask myself if I’m going to let this curse affect my simplicity quest and my desire to fully embrace minimalism. Will I take the easy way out by quitting?
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I chose to take the wide open path marked by rows and rows of incinerators and shopping malls.
I take a deep breath. I go for a run. I watch the clouds roll by overhead. I remember how much I’ve sorted through already. How good it feels to see the empty space where a box of stuff used to be. Stuff I don’t need and stuff I’ve thought about and sorted and pushed out of my life. I think about how having less of that stuff means having more time for the important things.
I remember that there are others who have chosen the more difficult path to simplicity. I find strength in their stories. I am not alone…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…and I took my ten-year-old self by the hand, gave the finger to the curse, and grabbed another box from the attic.