...and I have NO RAGRETS, not one letter.
In my experiment with my half year of less, I decided to not shop outside of the necessities until the end of 2020. Much like Cait realized during her own experiment, it would be more aptly described as a "browsing ban" more so than a "shopping ban". I have to shop for my normal such and such, it's aimlessly browsing that then leads to unintentional spending that I'm looking to stop.
As a thrifty girl who loves to peruse the aisles of all nearby Goodwills, I knew this would be painful to stop doing. I prefer to remove temptation rather than test my willpower so I initially decided no more Goodwill visits until 2021.
I really wanted a desk.
I won't say "need" because clearly my life has been going along well enough without one all these months while working from home, but I wanted a place to station my WFH setup that I wouldn't have to keep moving around.
I had been popping into any Goodwill I passed while driving alone for a few months now and had absolutely no luck so far, but yesterday I found my new girl. The one I've been waiting for. So I pulled the $57.77 trigger and I have never been so excited to bring a piece of furniture into my home!
It should also be stated that as I contemplated buying this desk, I traipsed through the clothing aisles. I found a Madewell flannel that I absolutely knew I needed, shopping ban be damned! In my former thought process, I would've had no problem rationalizing spending another $5 on top of the nearly $60 I already was. This time, I put the flannel down and paid for the desk while beaming on the inside and hell, maybe even the outside.
I am sharing this because little victories are indeed victories, and I'm counting this as one. It's the thousand little promises we break to ourselves (that seem so insignificant) that teach us not to trust our own damn selves. I want to be a trusted individual, to myself most of all. I really believe we show up for others how we show up for ourselves.
Here she is!
Far and away the most frequently asked question I get is where to begin this whole minimalism/mindful/decluttering journey.
I have been on this kick since 2016 ish, and I have consumed a lot of material that I am so happy to share with you! It's also worth mentioning that this journey is uniquely your own. You'll forge your own path and find what works for you, and please share with me when you do! There are so many great resources out there, and here are some I've found:
I hope this is helpful for where to start your own minimalism journey. These individuals have inspired me to really make a change in how I approach the things in life. I am sure you know that people matter, things really don't, but their work has made it possible to put knowledge into action in my life and I hope it does the same for you!
Let's get down to it.
The steps laid out by Cait in the epilogue of The Year of Less are as follows (grossly oversimplified by yours truly):
I think I nailed the sixth order of business, hmmmm?
One of my favorite aphorisms of Cait's is that "personal finance is personal" and so is this experiment. I won't be opening a new savings account for this six month sabbatical from spending or taking inventory of the items I own the most of. I am midway in my decluttering journey and no longer have large accumulations of crap I don't need or use. I do however have medium accumulations of crap I don't need so I will be beginning with step 1.
I won't be perfect at this. I will falter and fail and pick right up where I left off, and I will take you along for the ride as much as I possibly can.
Tomorrow's post will be a compilation of my starting points for aspiring minimalists along with a collection of "before" pics..
Thanks for being here, this should be fun.
Last week I finished listening to the audio version of the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. She so eloquently sums up many thoughts and experiences I've had while stumbling through the world of minimalism. Whether or not minimalism has any relevance to your life, I can't recommend the book enough. She also covers topics that are widely relevant to humans in general and honestly calls herself out without tearing herself down. That's a tricky balance and I think she does a great job.
That brings me to my own experiment with concepts derived from The Year of Less. We're about to head into July which means the year is halfway over. I genuinely can't believe the strange turns this year has brought us all, and can't even begin to imagine where it will lead us for the second half. One thing that hasn't changed in my life is my desire to live it more intentionally.
I recently looked back through old journal entries and realized I've been praying for the same change of heart for years now. I want to put my people first and foremost, pay my full attention to what's in front of me, and surround myself with only the things that add value. I love my people well (though there's always room for improvement), but mindfulness and minimalism have not been anywhere close to "mastered". I could tell you my priorities all day long, but I was speaking about them rather than living them.
I've been on a minimalism journey since around 2016 (or have I always been on this journey, technically?). I became obsessed with The Minimalists podcast, books, YouTube channel, every work of their's I could consume. I went through decluttering and organizing sprees but quickly found myself back to my old habit of shopping to fill my time and the large hole in my heart.
It turns out old habits do in fact die hard.
Shopping has held a special place for me since I was very small. That was always THE thing to do on the weekends, after school, honestly anytime I possibly could. Herein lies a major discrepancy between how each of my parents operate in the world. My dad would buy a new $8 pair of jeans from Walmart and call it good for a decade whereas my mom could easily buy 8 pairs of jeans in a weekend. I'll let you guess whose side I emulated. I didn't understand as a child what I was doing, and I never took the time to question it. I continued these shopping habits into my post college years, though it ebbed and flowed. It's only been recently that I started investigating into why I leaned into shopping so hard and truly came to grips with the place it was holding for me.
The truth is I no longer need shopping to distract me from what hurts. I know how to sit with it now. And though I'm not perfect at it, I at the very least understand that I HAVE to sit with it.
I did the hard work of burrowing out from under the sad bomb shelter I spent years creating, and I'm ready to embrace the next chapter.
I want to invest this time so that my future journal entries don't read exactly like those of years past, wishing I behaved differently rather than actually behaving differently. The difference now is I've got two gentlemen on the scene who've already taught me so much. Rob is a natural at minimalism and inspires the hell out of me just by getting to witness how he operates in the world. Babies are minimalist by nature, and Gavin has shown me how little things matter and how much our time together does.
Tomorrow's post will outline what my "Half Year of Less" will entail in detail. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Happy quarantine day 39754836923 y'all.
Mother's Day weekend is upon us. This holiday is one I had no idea was so triggering for so many until I wrote this post on the subject matter two years ago. Motherhood, the lack of our motherhood, the loss of our mothers, our mothers not meeting our expectations, us not meeting the expectations of ours mothers, etc. is very emotional and potentially carries immense hurt, joy, fear, love.
But the greatest of these is love.
In Untamed, Glennon Doyle writes,
"Parents love their children. I have met no exceptions. Love is a river, and there are times when impediments stop the flow of love. Mental illness, addictions, shame, narcissism, fear passed down by religious and cultural institutions--these are boulders that interrupt love's flow.
This is something I did not believe until recently. I'm sure I'm not alone in having deemed myself unlovable or the love not existing rather than there being a boulder in the way. It's so much easier to vilify the ones who've hurt us than to release the situation from our hands entirely. It was really never ours to carry.
How others love you speaks only about their ability to love and not about how lovable you are.
This is applicable to all interpersonal encounters, including the well-intentioned folk who ask when you'll finally have kids, the oblivious well wishers who have no idea your pregnancy was unplanned, those who don't even acknowledge that this is your first Mother's Day since your own has passed.
We never mean to hurt our people. And yet there is so much hurt.
We won't all become mothers, but each of us is a daughter. I am going into this Mother's Day with a heart posture of gratitude for the one who carried me in her belly for nine months, and in her heart ever since. She hasn't loved me perfectly, but that was never going to be possible. The love is there and has always been, and the boulder gets smaller each time I let go of the middle schooler in me who couldn't understand any of that.
I so truly am with you this weekend, regardless of what your mothering situation looks like. Celebrate, don't celebrate, do whatever you need to commemorate or simply get through this Hallmark holiday. I hope you feel seen and loved and appreciated, and that the mommas in your life feel the same--from six feet apart.
Happy Mother's Day.
PS- I hope you caught it, but just in case the title reference is to Love in the Time of Cholera.
"She had never imagined that curiosity was one of the many masks of love."
Behind the dainty days is a whole lot of planning. And coffee.