One of the first things any and all minimalism practitioners will tell you is that you have to focus on the things you truly love, your passions, and then cut out everything else that is unnecessary. It sounds simple, but I'm a dabbler. Actually if I could cheat and say "Engaging in lots of different things," I would, but I know that's too vague for this activity. It took me the better part of an hour to pare down my many hobbies/interests to my five true loves (and it required me to make a list of 6-10 strong likes that I will allow myself to do if all of the first five areas in my life are completely fulfilled at that moment--or as part of fulfilling one of the five true passions). Here are my five:
1) Spending quality time with my loved ones (Min Gi, my family, certain friends who are practically family).
2) Maximizing my health (includes cooking, exercise, and proper rest).
3) Teaching (I love it, and it's my career that will support our family in the years to come).
4) Writing (I can't not write. I've tried--it makes me anxious. But more than that, I really want to write books one day and if I don't make this the priority it really should be in my life right now, I'll never do that).
5) Reading high-quality material (It's my go-to entertainment. I include here both books and online reading--though I am trimming the latter category significantly because some of what I read online is not really fulfilling).
That's it. Those are really my five true loves. My #6-10 cheating back-up "lusts" are:
10) Language study (especially Korean)
Here's the thing... I knew these before (everyone with a touch of self-awareness knows their passions without having to think too much about it), but it surprised me when I realized how much I really love exercising and cooking healthy meals. I thought it was just something I did because I was supposed to, but no... I really am happiest when I am being physically active and eating delicious vegetables. Currently, taekwondo is my favorite way to be active, but I also like other movement (most notably hiking, swimming, and dancing). This is kind of shocking for someone who never did any sports in middle or high school.
What's more... I realized that I absolutely do not prioritize my life around the things that make me happiest and most fulfilled. I mean, sure, I think about these things nonstop, but when it comes down to the daily grind of choices I make all the time, I often choose a mindless or pointless activity, such as watching TV, getting caught up in the politics/ridiculousness of a situation over which I have no control, or reading crappy things on the internet that piss me off rather than really interest me, instead of one of my favorite things. So both of my health goals/habits to change this week are rooted in pursuing simplicity and embracing minimalism. They are: 1) to spend as much time as possible pursuing the five passions and start cutting out everything else and 2) to clean, organize and trim my possessions down to less STUFF getting in the way. (And continuing with my previous goals, all of which are going very well, and have resulted in another 0.5kg/1lb loss as well as a peaceful, happy state of mind).
I think pursuing #1 is about little things--the choices we make every moment. For example, walking to the subway instead of taking the bus lets me get more exercise and read (reading on the bus is impossible, on the subway--it's easy); choosing to go to swing dance only when Min Gi or other good friends do because that means I'm spending time with him and exercising more; writing in my blog instead of watching a downloaded TV show.
Today I managed to do this very well. I spent the day with Min Gi's family in Pohang. When we got home, I was tired, but rather than get on my computer and watch Season 3 of Ugly Betty or read a blog I hate (yes, I do this), I suggested to my husband that we go for a hike on the mountain behind our house. We were both thrilled! And I was feeling tired before the hike and wanted to go out for dinner and blow the progress I'd been making on being healthy, but the mountain air re energized me (as did the good conversation,) and we decided instead to have an omurice cooking "contest" for dinner (each of us prepare an omurice, a Korean dish that wraps vegetable fried rice in an omelet, in our own styles and then enjoy the results together--teasing each other about who did a better job). It was wonderful (both the food and the company). And we may have developed a new Sunday ritual for us. Bonus!