Mario Villalobos

Letting Go of Minimalism

I have this idea about letting go, but all my emotions and thoughts surrounding it are fuzzy. The way it started was that I discovered the Confidant hardcover notebook by Baron Fig. They have these videos from creatives and working people about how and why they use notebooks. Watching these videos just solidified something inside of me, and to better explain it, I have to delve deeper into something else.

Minimalism has constricted my life, and I didn’t even know it did until just recently. Simplifying my life excites me, and ever since I started living on my own a few years ago, simplifying was all I ever thought about. I wanted to know how to live more with less. I transitioned to keeping most all of my notes in text files because they were simple, future-proof, and highly transportable. That led me to learn Markdown, which is what I use to write the entries on my blog. It helps me keep some rich-text formatting while still using simple plain text. This is important to me because I am a writer, and the less friction there is between me and writing the better and happier I am.

Simplifying also meant getting rid of everything I didn’t actively use. Years ago I decided to go paperless. Over the course of a few years, I scanned thousands of pages into my computer, and they’re all saved and backed up on Dropbox. During the process of scanning all my papers into my computer, I decided to get rid of paper altogether. I threw all my non-Moleskine notebooks away. I bought an iPad last year, and one of the big reasons why was to use it for notes if I ever felt the need to. I haven’t, really, used the iPad for that. I prevented myself from using paper notebooks because I didn’t want the extra weight in my life, both physically and mentally. I felt bad whenever I added something new to my life because I felt like what I had not only was enough, but also more than enough. I wanted to reduce my possessions, not improve the quality of my possessions.

Which brings me back to the Confidant notebook. I purchased one today, and it should come within the next week or so. I still have one pocket Moleskine notebook I have not filled out because it used to be my journal, but this blog replaced that. I have two large Moleskine notebooks. I’m using one of them to transcribe the Great Gatsby, a project I started last year but have put on hold recently. The second notebook is completely blank, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. So why did I buy another notebook? It wasn’t really the notebook itself, although it is very beautiful and something I want to use. It’s because I want to let go of this idea that I can’t flow with things that I decide to enter my life.

Recently, I spent a lot of money on things. I bought a new bag, and as you can see, it’s not only beautiful but pricey. I bought stuff for my desk, for my car, and for other parts of my life I felt needed something to improve the quality of it. Even though there’s a total of eleven new things entering my life in the coming weeks, minimalism has taught me to use everything I own, and there won’t be any exceptions here.

Just because I can reduce my life to the bare essentials โ€” food, clothes, shelter, and warmth โ€” doesn’t mean I should. I want a quality of life that helps me be happy, healthy, and creative. Do I think this notebook will bring me that? Hell no. I’m not even sure if I’m going to use it as regularly as I wish I would1, but I wouldn’t know if I didn’t let go of a burden I didn’t even know was a burden.

  1. I want to use it for two things, mainly: to help me organize and plan out ideas I have for work. I want to map out the entire network structure of the school, and the best way to do that, I think, is with simple pen and paper. I also want to, again, let go of whatever is holding me back to just vomit all the ideas I have for my novel into a notebook. I want to just sketch notes and ideas I have and not feel burdened that I have to use it for my novel, or fear that I’m losing some sort of connection to “my muse” that only exists when I’m writing without a clear guide, like I am now. I want to outline and delve deeper into my characters with sketches and notes. Everything a notebook is perfect for, but I’ve never really used in my workflows. ↩︎