Ten years ago, I created Discardia as a reminder to myself to let go of what wasn't making my life awesome.
For the first year I was focused very much on the discarding part of the holiday, both of physical things and mental baggage, but soon the other aspects emerged as equally important. By the end of 2004 Discardia also served to remind me to be more true to who I am now, and to continually seek ways—even tiny ways—to make my life better. Sometimes those ways have involved acquisitions and upgrades, not divestment and that's just fine. It's not about just having less stuff, it's less of the wrong stuff and more of the right stuff.
By 2005, the year before my post-a-day writing adventure throughout 2006, many of the themes of Discardia had already appeared in one essay or another that I'd posted to my personal site or on Discardia.com. It would take the book writing process (beginning in summer of 2009) for me to pull together a clear and concise overview of the whole framework, but the pieces were there and integrating themselves into my life.
Bit by bit, in decisions and affirmations and recognitions, I have examined and adjusted my life; at first quarterly, but soon constantly and continually for all the years since.
You know what? It works. My life is awesome.
I hope yours is too, more and more every day.
We've a good long Discardian season now, with plenty of time to look at the year behind and the year ahead. Acknowledge where you've been and what you've learned. See the possibilities you've created for yourself. Choose where you want to be heading.
When Discardia comes around in December on that shortest day—the winter solstice—celebrate by releasing yourself from a self-imposed deadline and giving thanks for what is good in the world. In addition, let this also be the season of giving yourself what you need to be truly joyful and just plain happy.
Look back on your year and see how things compare to last December. Recognize and enjoy the improvements you’ve made in your world.
• What has provided you with the most satisfaction?
• Can you do more in that area to provide a similar payoff?
This is the season to say thanks to yourself. Seek out the right choices you've made in the past year, great and small, and acknowledge your good sense in curing those causes of dissatisfaction.
You have a supportive framework of good habits, can see the rewards of your decisions and what you did about them, and have replaced some of your less exciting quantity with energizing quality. Now it’s time to turn up the volume on the awesomeness and build the habit of upgrading your experiences.
Think back on your past:
• What did you learn from good but not ideal apartments, jobs, and relationships?
• Are there patterns or antipatterns that point you in the direction of positive change in your life today?
Add this question to your mental toolbox: “What does this look like when it works?” You can apply that to any functional object, space, time, or relationship that is currently less than ideal.
This mindset leads to other good questions. For example:
• What do I want to see (and not see) when I walk in the front door?
• What is bedtime like when it leads me into a great night's sleep?
• What would a good mentor provide me now?
Give that part of your world a nudge in the right direction.
First step: Do better than just survive December.
My pal Ilona just moved and said on Twitter, "now to the unpacking. not my strong suit. anyone want to place a bet on how many boxes will remain untouched a year from now? :-/"
This one's for you, awesome lady.
I'd bet that more of those boxes will hang around than the closet space would be worth to you in the meantime, so chip away at them faster and reap that reward sooner.
Give yourself until Valentine's Day to settle in. Then after that, every other week, turn up the music and for the duration of four upbeat songs, open a box or drawer and paw through it, seeking items which can go into active use, or (more likely) your charity box, recycling, or trash.
Odds are if you didn't dig it out before this foray, you neither love it nor use it and it can move on to someone who does.
Just four songs. You can do this easy-peasy.