6 Secrets Surgery Taught Me About Life And Minimalism

In June, I had a hernia surgery. It was the first surgery I’ve ever had. It gave me some pause to think about what’s important in life. It also got me to thinking more about minimalism. I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.

What getting my gut cut open taught me about life and minimalism: Photo of surgery room.

In the days after my surgery I was unable to do much. I had to rest. Other than a short walk each day, I lived in my recliner. Nearly a week of rest wound up being just what I needed. Heck, that week was almost like a vacation at home. That’s just one of the things that I didn’t expect after a hernia repair.

Large Life Events Get Us Thinking: That’s A Good Thing

  1. Life is uncertain: I have a touch of health anxiety. I’m generally in good health, but I am getting older. I’m 53. Whenever a new little ache or pain starts, I worry a little. It was no different in regard to surgery. I Googled hernia repair. It looked pretty common and relatively simple. Still, I read a few of the horror stories, too. But it came down to this: Life is uncertain. We can worry, but it won’t make any difference in the outcome. 
  2. Fear is nearly worthless: If you’re in the woods and you round a corner of a trail and unexpectedly see a bear a few yards ahead, fear will kick in. Stop. Listen to your fear. Slowly move away from the bear. Fear has it’s place. But most of our fears are excessive. I read that seven in 1,000,000 people have an adverse reaction to anesthesia that causes immediate death. I wasn’t one of those people, but what good would it have done to fear that fact. It would have only added more stress to the situation. 
  3. I’ve got too much heavy stuff: After a hernia repair you’re not supposed to lift heavy stuff. Guess what I found out? I have too much heavy stuff. The surgery experience has challenged me to reconsider some of my heavier belongings. Are there some heavy things in my home that I could do without?
  4. Family is more important than minimalism: I’ve made no qualms about questioning hardcore minimalism. Although I believe in keeping life fairly simple, I don’t take it to an extreme. One reason for this outlook is family. If I get so caught up in anything, including minimalism, that it takes time away from family, I’ve defeated the purpose. Family is number one.
  5. It’s time to purge: The outcome of any surgery is unknown. I could have died on the operating table. If we truly put family first, we need to think about what we’ll leave them when we die. I don’t want my daughter to have to deal with an estate that’s overflowing in worthless stuff. That said, I’ll be doing another purge of excess stuff over the remainder of the summer. 
  6. It’s good to slow down: The week after surgery actually felt like the most restful week I’ve had in a long time. I was forced to slow down. We often get moving too fast in today’s world. I encourage you to take more time to slow down and relax. You’ll be glad you did.

Learn From Your Experiences

I hope I don’t have to have another surgery in the near future. But I’m glad I went through this experience. I learned a few new lessons that I’ll be taking to heart. I hope you’re able to take something away from these lessons, too.

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2 Comments

  1. This applies to all retirees even tho they don’t need surgery now or have health issues. Mainly, it is to make things convenient to heirs who will have to go thru your stuff later. De cluttering several times a year is ideal for anyone really, old and young. I had to clear out a house twenty years ago full of junk as inlaws lived during the depression, married a year before the crash. Kept broken chairs and old boxes of fabric, yarn, etc. Too many sets of dishes and kitchen supplies. Half their furniture was donated, rest stayed with the sold house.

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