Embracing Done

This post isn't really about my bike, but it does have a cameo. 

At my birthday dinner last night, my mom looks at Alhen and I and says, “Two of you and not a car between you to get around?”

Beaming, I answer, “Nope!”

I’m a little concerned that my giddiness is just new lifestyle change jitters, like getting a new gym membership or sweet new running shoes. I’ll admit, the day I sold my car, I went straight to my 2017 Shopping List (which is proving more useful than I imagined!) and bought all the goodies to trick out my bike. 

I made sure to only buy what I need and only what I could carry at any given time. I also made sure to not duplicate things we already had, like a large-liter capacity bag or a light set. I didn’t need new, I needed complete.

And just like that, it was done. 

The project of selling my car to become a bike commuter, and henceforth setting myself up for commuter success was done. 

Done is not a common word in my perfectionist world. Everything could use tweaking, everything is up for review and update pending feedback.

My dear friend Angela recently shared with me the Done Manifesto. Upon reading it through (and continuing to return to it almost daily), I began to feel a mindset shift. I’d hear the term:

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.”

But the way that she presented this to me was:

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of done.”

In choosing the items for this small section of my life called “Bike Commuter”, I chose items that would ensure I was safe, protected from the elements, capable of my responsibilities, and that the chosen items were quality and would last. Were they the coolest/best/all adherent to my ideal color scheme of English Hunter Green and Camel Leather? 

No, but I was set to ride and the project was done. 

I started to look at the other areas of my life (okay, all areas) that didn’t feel “done”. My wardrobe, my health, the yard, this house, my projects at work, the personal projects, all the books stacked on my desk, St Petian, my Wildflowers100 List, minimalism. 

Oh, minimalism. Something I considered myself a bit of a failure on due to not figuring it out the first time. 

Without going on a tangent, my biggest takeaway from the Landmark Forum, a completed (done) Wildflowers100 item, was: 

I am a meaning making machine. 

Nothing has meaning unless I give it so - meaning is so personal that something which means the world to me may mean absolutely nothing to you.

I was giving my experience with minimalism meaning.

I was giving everything in my life meaning. The state that it was in, based on the perfectionist mindset and the ever-turning hamster wheel of un-meetable internal expectations meant it wasn’t done. 

Standing there, in that space of undone and unsatisfied and discontent, I thought, “What if it were done?” 

What if I accepted the time spent, the experience, the results, and decided that it was done?

In that moment, as multiple seemingly disconnected items on a silly projects list I wrote on a whim for my first 100 days of 2017 suddenly started to weave together, the meaning of minimalism occurred for me: 

Minimalism, for Amelia Bartlett, means having awareness, acceptance, and gratitude for something that is now done. 

I can purge all of my things, drain my closet down to a capsule, rid myself of my car and not buy anything but what’s on some list created by another version of myself months ago; none of it means anything if I am not whole and complete with the doneness of it all. 

With the introduction of done into my life; the embracing of minimal living, conscious consumption, and a more present means of transportation; I find myself with a more accurate sense of meaning in line with my values. I am regarding resources, time, people, and myself with a sense of grace and gratitude for their finite nature.

They are not a work in progress unless I create them so.

They are not up for review unless I make it so. 

They are not incomplete unless I accept that meaning as my responsibility alone. 

How complete and perfect the world becomes when you allow things to be done.

This must be what it feels like to relax and enjoy.