It is pretty clear that I’ll never be a minimalist.
Yet I am hopelessly drawn to articles about it.
Not too long ago I saw the headline Minimalist Connoisseurs and was immediately intrigued. The article was not at all what I was expected, but it really set my mind whirring.
First, there was the title Minimalist Connoisseurs. The author talks about how if you’re going to be a minimalist you should be a connoisseur of life.
And I thought, if you’re going to be ALIVE you should be a connoisseur of life! I don’t know about you, but just watching life filter away isn’t my idea of LIVING.
Then he brings in the idea of being a curator of your life. He quotes the authors of Rework, a book that has been on my ‘to get to’ list for ages:
“Be a curator. You don’t make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room. That’s a warehouse…”
Definite WOW moment. (Yeah, yeah, also a ‘Duh!’ moment; but that’s how my life tends to run.)
These two ideas smashed together in one article made me all giddy inside.
According to ye old Merriam-Webster’s, a connoisseur is an
“expert; especially: one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge.
One who enjoys with discrimination and an appreciation of subtleties.”
While a curator is
“one who has the care and superintendence of something; esp: one who is in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit.”
Think about that in the context of building an abundant life.
What could be more appropriate, or more necessary?
And if you want to build a life like that, live life like that, you have to really understand what’s important – either in life generally, if you’re up for that, or at least in your own values. What is it that really makes you tick?
And you have to weed out all the chaff: Pursuing something that isn’t right for YOUR life, or pursuing 100 different directions at once, simply isn’t going to make sense for a Connoisseur of Life.
That made so much sense to me!
It took me several stabs at achieving the American dream, and a ‘normal American life’, to clue in to the fact that those are just not me. And while my life definitely isn’t where I want it to be, I’ve been a lot less frustrated since I hit that realisation!
And I can’t think of a better approach to life than to enjoy it ‘with discrimination and an appreciation of subtleties’.
Just think about that!
First of all, I wonder how many of us are enjoying life at all? Between stress, busyness, and loss of hope, we’ve got frightening numbers of people dying from suicide, and a vastly larger number looking our days as just something to survive.
But how much richer is experiencing ilife so fully and intentionally as to enjoy it with discrimination and appreciate the subtleties?
Imagine a lift to savour. A life to breathe in deeply and experience with every one of your senses.
So, then, how do I get to this connoisseur life?
I think that’s where the curator bit comes in.
I firmly believe we’re supposed to be stewards of our lives: To manage and direct our lives is a critical job.
And it only makes sense to me, thinking about this quote from Rework, that my life is either going to be a museum or warehouse.
There’s a big big difference between a museum, and a warehouse. A museum expands us and draws us in. There aren’t many people standing in line to hand over their hard-earned cash for the opportunity wander through warehouses.
For all I know, there may be warehouses that hold exquisite paintings–maybe even finer and more expensive than the paintings in the Louvre. But those painting aren’t doing me any good. I’ll never even KNOW about those paintings. If I do ever seem them, packed in their warehouse, I won’t be able to distinguish them from the rolls of extra toilet paper, or gardening tools, because they are all just items stored away.
Not quite the way I want to treat priceless works of art, and therefore not a way I can afford to treat my one and only wild and precious life, you know?
So. It’s made me think about what kind of care I’m taking of my life! Of where my life needs some firmer direction, and of what I need to pull down off the walls of my life in order to appropriately steward the things that are most important to most valuable.
That’s going to take some thought!
It’s kind of an exciting little adventure!