I’ve always hated coming up with titles for posts, I feel the uneasy need to be creative or witty, or just matter of fact. None of it ever seems right, so I just say fuck it and throw caution to the win and *ABRACADABRA* “TITLE”. Kind of like ripping a band-aid of a skinned knee, just get it over and move on to bigger things. Speaking of which…
Hello I’m Danny. Some of you may know me from my previous site and some of you will be all together new. I’ll address the fellahs (no PC gender fluidity crap here, we’re all pals) that know me first. I retired from the Navy in 2014, tried my hand a few different trades skills courses and felt robbed. I learned jack shit outside of knowing that welding is pretty cool until you wear a full cape and full welding garb in 101 degree NO heat with a blistering 96% humidity to top it off. You sweat buckets destroying the zen focus welding requires that I came to love.
After some sulking a soul searching I realized I was barking up the wrong tree. I was retired. A forty something year old man drawing a pension/disability and sporting free health care. I was in fact……free. Roof over head, check, Bills paid, check. Food on table, check. People who honestly love me close by, check. But I still felt like something was missing. I thought I’d run right out of the Navy and into some new venture. WHY did I feel like that, who put that notion into my gullible American mindset? I was a kid searching for a prize in a cement bag like it was a box of Cap’n Crunch: optimistic yet misguided. While having all the earnings (or trappings?) of success I wasn’t happy. I still hadn’t “let go of everything” as Tyler (Durden) advised me back in ’97.
I quit the notion of going back to school (for the time being). I quit pushing myself into the possibility of some new job simply because I thought it was something I was “supposed to do”. In short, I took a deep breath, ripped the band-aid off and let all the preconceived notions of what I “should be doing” for the sake of being a good participant of this chaos filled circus known as life and made a carefully thought decision to slow down and just enjoy everyday for what it is. In doing so I have learned a few things.
- I sleep better at night. I was having trouble just getting 5 hours a night, and I didn’t need to be anywhere the next which made it worse.
- I actually enjoy what I do day to day now. I might just go to a (family owned- more on the place later) coffee place and read for 2-3 hours. I might uber out to the lake and write for a few hours. I might do nothing at all; fortunately the Japanese taught me the peace and tranquility of solitude when I lived there for 3 years.
- I write more (bonus for you lucky readers) than before. Writing has always been a source of relaxation for me and I’m hoping this site will get me back into the habit of doing it more. I’d LOVE if I could make something off writing but I think that would require more work than I really care to undertake and talent that I don’t consider myself to possess. I guess casual is key for me.
- I’ve lost weight. I had gained what I dubbed my “retirement belly” which I’d say was from my sitting on my ass constantly beating myself up over “doing nothing” but wasting time since I didn’t have a job. I assumed not clocking in somewhere equated to “wasting away” and burning precious time I could never get back. Since I have “let go”, I’ve put more emphasis on doing what makes me happy: organizing/decluttering my house. riding my bike, getting out more, taking mom out for lunch, reading more…
- I’m less stressed. See above. I’ve always loved the mantra that the human animal is only as happy as it allows itself to be, and the concept of removing anything from ones life that is causing it undue stress or worry. Granted, this can be highly subjective, but so is ones definition of minimalism. In short, I do less on a day to day basis, but i enjoy what I DO do more. Kind of hokey I know, but it works trust me.
- I’ve come up with a small list of things I want to work on, and I work on them. No deadlines, just do something that focuses on the “to do list. I want to type better, so I have to practice and type more. Maybe I’ll take a class if I can find one. I still want to lose weight- so I ride the bike as often as I can and continue to accompany my uncle on his M-W-F 2 mile walks (he’s developing diabetes so his Doc wants him to exercise more) at LaSalle park. I want to keep decluttering my house and do so one small portion of one room for a few minutes each day. I could go on but you get the picture.
In short, while I seemingly have nothing to do- no job to clock into and earn my keep as a responsible citizen of this spinning mass of haste and insanity. I found a better place for me and a lot of it stems from me stripping away all the excess I had accumulated over the past 20 years. And guess what, I’m still in progress of doing just that. It all started a few years ago while I was sitting in a beautiful 1800 sq ft, 3 BR, 2 bath home I had purchased and furnished well enough to make Martha Stewart tingle (especially as a straight man).
I wrote about that before at some length on the old site (but I shan’t be covering girl shit anymore), and I know I brushed on minimalism on my said site, so I’ll be focusing on it exclusively here (with some food porn occasionally- don’t fret). I’ve seen some documentaries, read some books, watched some shows….HELL “downsizing” seems to be the trend on certain cable channels geared towards home ownership. So I’ll share what I’ve picked up, make some book/viewing recommendations and simply be the same old down to earth Sailor you remember from the olden days, I’ll just be doing it with less.
Also feel from to follow me on twitter and instagram as nola_minimalist
For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Danny. I joined the navy when I was 20- I had gone to college for a year and had an ok job. After hanging out with some friends one afternoon, I realized I knew EXACTLY where my life would end up: married, a kid, same job my friends had making decent money working 4 days a week at a refinery, and watching cowboy games on sunday; all the while bitching about the lives we’d voluntarily chained ourselves to. A life without excitement, passion, adventure, and never leaving the safety of our own backyards and living rooms. It scared the SHIT out me. I wanted to see the world and I knew of only one way to swing that while learning a decent trade in the meantime. During my tenure as a Sailor I’ve lived in: Sicily, Japan, and Spain and traveled damn near everywhere in the world I wanted to visit. The experiences I’ve collected are dearer to me than any material possession I could ever wish for. I’ll write more about that later.
For you newbies, some pictures of my place in Florida before I retired when I started to seriously minimalize. I gave everything I could to a newly married 20 yo couple. I don’t regret it for a second; especially considering I spent most of my time in about 200 sq. of space in this lovely (hardwood floors, marble counters, stainless steel appliances, etc) home in a beautiful (boring) suburb of Orange Park.
I now live in a rented 3 bedroom home my family owns outside of New Orleans and am still in the process of unloading 20 years worth of shit garnered from all over the world. I now purchase much less, and recycle much more. I cook 95% of what I eat and stay away from anything that comes in a bag or box. Yes, I still watch tv and play video games (don’t judge me), but I make an attempt to get out more and take in some of the amazing things this city has to offer. 365 days in a year, nearly 450 festivals annually all with 30 minutes of where I live. Life’s a garden, dig it. If you aren’t convinced to keep reading the site….it can only get better from here, right???!!! Trust me, I grow in you if you just give me a chance. The older readers will vouch for that.