Posted on November 11, 2016
I was speaking with someone a few weeks ago about how Minimalism is becoming the cool thing to do; a minimalist is the latest fad if you want to be up to date. Most people have heard something about minimalism whether they are parents, young people, married, single, it doesn’t really matter. It often seems like it has become a competition to see who has fewer things. If I have 100 items and you have 50, then I might feel as if I need to have 30 items so that I am doing minimalism right.
However, that is the clue that something is wrong with the way we are viewing or “doing” minimalism. A minimalist, or a person who is striving to be a minimalist, does not need to be perfect. Your way of doing things is not always going to be my way of doing things…and that should be o.k. No one has a life that exactly mirrors someone else’s. I am a single mother, I love to travel, I am very much like a nomad and it fits me. My brand of minimalism means that I am someone who fits all of my possessions in one bag. But that is not what my life as a minimalist looked liked at the beginning of the year. We must remember that life is a journey. Therefore, minimalism should also be a journey. Once we reach one stage, it is necessary to continue to the next stage. If we don’t, then we will surely stagnate in many areas in our lives.
For example, at the beginning of The Great American Road Trip, I had a suitcase full of summer clothes. I thought I would keep most of them throughout the following months, add a few layering pieces and wear the same things throughout the winter and into next year. I have this dream of having a perfect wardrobe where I will not need to buy a single new thing for years because I have chosen the best fabrics, the best cut for my shape and timeless pieces that do not go out of style. Then, I read other blogs where people decided not to buy a single new thing for a year or a few months or something. That appealed to me. At the beginning of our trip, I knew that I had all that I needed…everything. It was enough. Then there was another voice that said I was suppose to love everything that I owned, I was supposed to find joy in my things. I didn’t and as a result, I found myself buying this item of clothing and that item of clothing. I donated many things to various clothing boxes around the country and also here in France.
Letting go things should have been enough, but at first, I felt a little guilty. Why was I buying new things? I am a minimalist after all. I should not need anything new. Chasing after the joy factor,I am not content with functional pieces of clothing. I must have the items that I feel happy wearing. I must discard the items that may suit me, but in the end, do not live up to my dream of a perfect and beautiful wardrobe.
But wait, what about uniform dressing. Someone said that was the BEST thing for freeing up mental space every day. Can’t I just use what I have and wear the same thing every day? I have a lot of black items because they are simple to mix and match. What if I just wear a black top and a black bottom every day? That is what other people have done. It worked for them, surely it will work for me. Yet, I still must have that perfect black top or black bottom. What is the solution to this dilemma?
I feel the solution is finding what it is in minimalism that works for me. I think that is the solution for everyone. There will always be a movement for something to make our lives better, whether it be minimalism, eating organic foods, simple living, or being frugal. There will always be individuals with blogs and businesses telling us how to improve our lives. I must know myself. I must know what I can and can not accept in my life. I must discover what makes a change or a challenge given by members in social media attractive or distasteful to me. They may each have a place in different phases of my life. I don’t need to make drastic changes to live a life I love. I may desire to tweak a few things, but it makes no sense to be running around from one idea to the next. My life works as it is.
If your life is working as it is, I give you permission to do it your way. Sometimes that is all we need, permission to quit trying to please, trying to be perfect, to just be. Be you, do you, because I am. If you get what I am saying, that life is too short to try and live up to someone’s idea of perfection, let me know in the comments below!