I used to love shopping. I felt a thrill from every new purchase. My closet was full of clothes, jewelry and accessories. I overloaded my bathroom with makeup and other toiletries. Buying a pair of shoes was like buying a cup of coffee, oh yeah I used to buy Starbucks coffee every day too. I grew up with parents who had a million things in their house. I don’t know, it might be the communism they grew up with where everything was scarce, but things were falling out of every possible and impossible place. It was like a living in a hoarder’s house. With all the stuff, the things I bought were not making me happy, on the contrary I felt like they were giving me more anxiety. While in counseling I have discovered that people sometimes buy things because they feel empty inside, their life lacks meaning and meaningful relationships, and they are trying to fill in those holes with things.
So I’ve decided to stop being one of those people. I stopped buying things like a crazy person preparing for an apocalypse. The word SALE didn’t excite me any longer. I started downsizing. I’ve realized that Black Friday iss a giant scam. I avoid it at all costs. I felt a thrill when I made money from selling something I hadn’t used in a while instead of buying something new. Whatever I couldn’t sell I donated. And then almost two years ago I moved out to my own place and have discovered a whole different part of myself that I didn’t even know existed. This part and was dying to come out. I didn’t know that I was actually becoming a minimalist.
What the hell is minimalism anyway? I had no idea there was such a thing until I discovered TheMinimalists blog. I just knew that I enjoyed simplicity and that having too much stuff gave me anxiety. There are several definitions of what minimalism is. Definitely check out their blog, they are amazing. The one that resonates to me the most is: living a more meaningful life, spending time on things that are important to me, and not having to worry about stuff, getting more stuff, and maintaining stuff. Don’t get me wrong I like nice things, but I am not attached to them. If my apartment burned down tomorrow ( as long as my dogs weren’t in there), I would be upset for maybe a second but not terrified because my biggest assets are intangible. In the last several years that I have worked on simplifying my life, I have also worked on accumulating more memories from meaningful experiences.
Minimalism has helped me do a better job at:
- Living in the moment
- Eliminating anxiety
- Spending more quality time with those whom I love
- Ridding myself from unnecessary stuff
- Helping others more
- Living with intention
Living an intentional life does not mean we have to get rid of everything we own, it just means that we have to shift our focus and attention to things that truly matter to us. I love this saying: “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff”. I value experiences more than things, so I choose to invest money into experiences. We all have to figure this out for ourselves but what I do know that buying stuff does not bring lasting happiness, at least it doesn’t to me. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this.