Underneath All My Things... Is Me

I needed to write. So here I am.

Where to start? Well, I did a job that required me to live with only two suitcases worth of things for a year. 

And you know what they say the rule of thumb is… “If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it.” Well that posed a bit of a problem when I got home and faced alllll of my STUFF. 

At first I was so excited about the idea of having my own big room to fill and decorate that I covered the walls with photos and paintings and shelves and momentos. Yes I did actually have three different 2017 calendars on the same wall at once… 

And not only did I unleash all of my old trinkets that had been stored away, but I also made a trip to Anthropology to buy lots of little beautiful things to add flare to the space and to make my room feel trendy, or something?

I wanted my things to remind me who I am and what I love and what is important to me. I wanted them to keep me connected to my past and my relationships and my memories that felt like they made me who I am. And I wanted my things to look beautiful and give me pleasure when I saw them. After writing that all out now, I’m realizing that’s a lot to ask of a bunch of stuff…

After about a week in my full and decorated new home space I was over it. I felt overwhelmed and distracted and lazy and bombarded and most of all NOT HAPPY. 

In a big huff I took down every single painting and calendar and photo and shelf I had hung so painstakingly a week before, as my boyfriend, Josh, laughed in amazement. (He had helped with the painstaking hanging.)

From that first step, everything changed.

I opened the book Goodbye Things by Fumio Sasaki, and I saw the photos of his extreme minimalist house, and though I didn’t want quite such an extreme lifestyle, something very deep in me looked at those pictures and said YES!!! Yes. Yes. Yes.

Simple. That’s what I want. 

Everything around us is so freaking complicated all the time, but what if my home space wasn’t? 

What if it was just me and the things I absolutely need and absolutely love? 

What else would I have time for? 

What other parts of me would I finally be able to discover?

Well it turns out, there was SO much of me I had never been able to hear before when I was surrounded by the excess and the things and the chaos (that I had never really recognized as chaos before). 

Since getting rid of every single thing that I don’t love I have changed immensely.

I have:

  • become aware of all the toxins in the products we are sold and changed to all non-toxic
  • actually sustained a real desire to eat healthy foods and local produce
  • started a journey towards vegetarianism
  • realized my love for reading
  • become interested in the zero waste movement and started reducing my amount of waste
  • started learning how to meditate and made it a regular practice
  • started journaling every day

…among many other things.

These are all things that I thought I was “supposed” to care about before. And they suddenly became real, true desires that I have and believe in. 

It shocked me. I had NO IDEA that I cared about all of these things, but as soon as I started clearing the mental space that was taken up by my things, this happened.

We are constantly being pushed and pulled and trampled by what society and advertising and social media and our various cultures define as a successful and fulfilling life. More. More. More. We need more things. We need to stay in trend. We need this kind of house or apartment. We need these kinds of beauty products. We need to wear these clothes and have this body. We need to blah blah blah….. When will it end? When will we be satisfied and rich and famous and happy?

“I wish everybody could become rich and famous so they could realize it’s not the answer.” -Jim Carrey

For me minimalism isn’t about having the least amount of things possible, it’s about having just enough. I look at my things now, that all bring joy and value into my life, and I think, yup, that’s all I want. 

I am not distracted. I am not weighed down. I am not stressed out. It’s just me, in my house, ready to figure out what the hell is important to me in this life. One moment at a time.

And I think writing about it is important to me. So thanks for joining me here. See you next time.

With love and space,