Working Toward Minimalism

My boyfriend, Bryce, and I have been discussing where we are going to live in the future. His first choice is California, where he currently lives. I have never been to California, but in a month I will be flying to LA to visit for the first time. Unless I absolutely hate it, I will probably be moving there within the next year.

Bryce’s main concern for me moving is that I have a lot of stuff, and in California I will have a small apartment with nowhere to put my stuff. Where to put things is something I’ve never had to worry about before, because my parents have a very big house. If I didn’t have a place for something at my apartment, I could leave it at their house until I found a place for it. Or forever, if I forgot about it.

Another reason I have a lot of things is that my parents have a lot of things. It seems natural to me to have stuff. My dad doesn’t wish he had something; if he wants something, he’ll go out and buy it. My mom takes having things a step further. To her, nearly everything can be recycled. She always has a project, whether it’s in her garden or a craft she wants to make, and most things can be used in her projects. If she can’t use a thing in her current project, she will save it for the next project.

The result of this is that they have so many things they are overwhelmed by it. My mom will take boxes of stuff to donation centers, but it never seems like they have less. I am starting to see that it is better to have less. There will not be enough room for all my stuff at an apartment in LA and I don’t think there enough room for it in my life at all.

My goal is to get rid of one thing a day until I feel like I have enough and not too much. I will sell things or donate them or throw them out until I only have what I want and nothing extra. I don’t think I will ever have a true minimalist lifestyle, but getting closer to it will simplify my life and make more room for the things I really like.

Why my mom needs to give up on being first

My mother does not like to lose. She’s super competitive and hates being last at anything. When we went hiking on a Backroads trip on Maui and Lana’i in May, she was not happy that we were always the last to finish the hike. She felt like she was the slow, old person who couldn’t keep up.


Charging through lava fields.

The problem with her assessment is that we were not the last to finish every hike because we were the slowest. She wasn’t even the oldest person in our group and she certainly wasn’t the slowest. She was actually one of the most adventurous. We were the only people in our group who wanted to continue hiking up a narrow wall into the rainforest.


Worth it.

We were always last for a reason, but it wasn’t because of age or speed. We were always the last to finish a hike because we are artists.


She can’t pass on a potentially good shot.

My mom is an athlete who practices multiple martial arts and teaches fitness classes in addition to running a farm. She has some physical issues that slow her down, but she’s in better shape than most of my friends and I have no doubt she would rocket past any of them on the trail.

Her problem is with how she’s framing things in her mind. At the end of every hike, she viewed the end result as us being the last to finish, but the reality was that we were the ones who stopped to get the best pictures. During one of our last hikes on Lana’i, she mentioned to Katie, one of our trip leaders, that she felt bad for always being the slowest person in the group. She was shocked when Katie assured her she wasn’t too slow and that we were last because nobody else takes pictures like we do. Katie was right, it’s hard to finish a hike ahead of the group when you always have to stop to get that perfect shot of some lichen or get up close and personal with some turkey footprints.


Not what most people care about when they’ve paid thousands for a vacation.

My mom’s problem was that her ultimate goal was to get the best pictures, but she also didn’t want to be the last person to finish a hike. It’s hard to not be last when you stop to take pictures of everything. If you’re always focused on being first you may miss something.


This is what a champion looks like.

How scuba diving is forcing me to be a better person


I started learning to dive in September. I needed an extra credit to fill my semester and my university offered underwater photography as a recreation course. I love photography and snorkeling, so it sounded perfect. The class was taught by Aquatic Adventures, a scuba shop, so I got to try scuba diving during the class. I was super nervous learning how to clear water out of my mask and take the regulator out of my mouth, but it was so much fun!

While I was taking the class, I decided to apply at Aquatic Adventures and got hired as the media specialist, managing the social media pages, creating content for the website, and keeping the online shopping cart up to date. I was the first person they ever hired who wasn’t a certified scuba diver, and getting certified was one of the requirements of working there.

Since my university also offers Beginning Scuba as a recreation course, I decided to take it through school and get credit for it. The classroom sessions went really well. When we got to the pool, I was an immediate disaster.

I always forget at least one thing every time I leave my apartment, and one day when I was heading to the pool I forgot my contacts. I almost always wear my glasses simply because I’m too lazy to put in contacts and do makeup. Throwing on glasses, whichever clothes are closest, and finger-combing my hair is my usual look.

I’m severely visually impaired, so diving without contacts wasn’t an option and you can’t wear glasses under a scuba mask. Luckily, since I work at the store and the instructors love me, another instructor was willing to come to the pool to work with me once I had gotten my contacts so I wouldn’t hinder the rest of the class or get too far behind myself (I did get too far behind, but because clearing my mask was scary).

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Almost a real diver. #scuba #scubagirl #pool

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This experience impressed upon me that I should try to wear contacts as much as possible, because you never know when glasses will get in the way. At the very least, keep some contacts with you at all times. Extra contacts immediately got put on my list of things to keep in my gear bag, just in case I’m running late and forget again.

Besides, it’s so much easier to look fabulous without glasses getting in the way.

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Birthday look. #bdaygirl #25 #quartercenturyclub

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