Recently, for reasons that are unimportant, I ended up getting one of the new tiny laptops they call "netbooks" for free. It's a cute little thing, half the size of my regular laptop. I have to admit, I thought of it as a toy, but as I looked at what it actually was, all the specifications, RAM, storage, etc, I realized it's actually more powerful than the massive IBM tower I've had at home as a second computer for several years. So I am in the process of cleaning off the old one and making this tiny thing my second computer, which will actually run most of my Quarry House (what used to be Summit Manor) creative work.
So off the desk goes all the paraphernalia and tangle of wires and such that were part of the IBM tower, all replaced by this tiny little netbook. Simplicity lives.
Thinking on this, I realized this has been a pattern in my life in recent years. Three years or so ago, I found myself having to downsize considerably. I loved my big old home with acres of land and hated to leave, but I soon found not just acceptance of my smaller apartment, but an appreciation of a smaller, simpler life, how it gave me time and how it meant I spent less time thinking about the acania of taking care of everything there and more time to think on spiritual, creative and emotional things.
I've done the same thing in my work. I used to juggle way too many things, both my "day" job managing a broadcast integration operation in Washington, DC., and my free lance creative work, which was all over the map. As a result of the same changes that spawned my move, I slowed my creative work down to the few things I loved to do (write, teach and photograph). Less money, but simpler, less stressful, richer in pleasure.
My move to Vermont slowed my life down too. I have a house, but its small and simple, easy to take care of, with little land. Living in a rural area, there's less to buy, and no one cares what you have or don't have anyway. And too, I have always been active in my church, maybe too active, and I am now in a place where I church-searching and am not juggling the constant activity of teaching, singing, and serving on too many committees - all of which are good things, but too many of which can become a barrier to real spirituality. I'll become active again when I find a new church home, but this go around, I'll be more selective, and preserve the spirituality that faith should bring.
The things that spawn all these changes were involuntary (With the exception of the move to Vermont) and things I really didn't want at the time (Again, except for the move). But they have helped me go back in time to a simpler, richer life. Not rich in stuff and appearance, but rich in spirit and soul. Doing less and having less leaves places in life for other things, that are more lasting, and more joyful, in a deep, satisfying way.
So I'll enjoy my unexpected new little computer, for all the same reasons I enjoy my unexpected life. I'm a pretty grateful guy these days.
The picture is of the wall behind my desk in my Washington, DC office. For the past year it's been the only thing on my walls. You can click on it for a larger version.