Learning About Myself for Week 37 (Decluttering and Simplifying 2010)

You may have noticed that nothing new appeared on So Much More Life this week (other than the guest post reprint yesterday) — and you may be wondering why.

The answer is simple: I “rested” the blog this week so I could catch up on a few other things and you could catch up on reading and commenting on older posts. I’ve been posting so many articles recently that several posts I think are pretty good got lost in the shuffle. I think the resting worked — because I got several comments on older posts this week.

So what about the decluttering? Decluttering once again took a backseat this week to several other life-simplifying tasks, and that’s fine with me.

First, let’s talk about Friday. David and I had the brilliantly stupid idea on Thursday that we wanted to attend an event in Dallas Friday night. Dallas is about 60 miles from here — and, as they say, a world away.

We left home about 10:45 a.m. and did, in fact, go to Dallas. We visited the flagship location of Half Price Books, a mecca for booksellers like me. We found a quiet isle that hadn’t yet been attacked by the large team of corporate book buyers that were tearing apart most of the clearance section, and after a few minutes of work, we had chosen several books that were perfect for resale. We finished there at around 2:00 p.m.

We had two hours before we could even consider getting in the neighborhood of our event. Then — maybe because I got a bit too hot in the bookstore — something suddenly hit me: I don’t like being in Dallas anymore.

We didn’t stay for our event. Something about this bigger city — in which I’ve spent a lot of time — seems foreign to me now. The traffic is terrible, downtown looks overgrown… I could go on and on. Anything remotely useful about the town has a duplicate in Fort Worth, my real hometown, anyway.

I learned something surprising about myself: Living a simpler, rural life has changed me — perhaps for the better. I just don’t relate well to the silliness of traffic jams, skyscrapers and overdressed people with underused minds. After nine years living out in the country, I’m finally realizing how people learn to tolerate it: Living a rural life changes you to the point that you don’t tolerate the big city very well anymore. And that, I suspect, is a good thing.

Otherwise this week: I’ve been working to establish some new income channels, but my progress is slow and, at time, tedious. I believe that multiple streams of income are the twenty-first century way of making a living insulated from trends and downturns. As long as I’ve been in the online used bookselling business — since 2003, actually — I’ve been looking for other sources of side income, but I never seriously pursued any. Now, with the book business somewhat declining, I need the additional income, but I don’t have the right systems in place.

I’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks, but I’m mentioning it now because I spent a lot of unrewarded time this week thinking about this issue and working on it.

I’ve also been watching the odometer on the car to see how much (and where) I’m really driving in a week. It’s too much, but I haven’t reached any real conclusions on what to do about it. Expect more on that in the coming weeks, too.

It hasn’t been my best week ever around here, but my life is still getting simpler, more mindful — and better overall. And I’m starting to understand it more. That’s something.