Life can be so overwhelming and since I can remember I’ve always taken pleasure in the simpler moments. However, over the years and through the evolution of our materialistic society I have found myself in a place full of unnecessary possessions both at home, digitally and in my forever whirring mind.
I believe completing our family with the birth of Wolfie last year spurred a change in me. We knew after having Taormina we would like another baby so that was the next thing to concentrate on after our wedding. When I fell pregnant I instantly felt that this baby would be my last which was not what I had imagined at all but felt at peace when he was born. Suddenly my urge to keep moving on to the next thing in my life’s path ended. It was like somebody pressed the emergency stop on treadmill while I was running at full sprint leaving me flying off and sitting watching the World in their hamster balls.
It’s a long standing joke between Dan and I that I am ‘unemployable’, hate to conform and am ‘awkward’ anyway so I guess I’m always on the edge of the herd but this time something changed in my head and there is no going back. I literally see people going about their daily lives and feel as if I’m living in a parallel universe. Please don’t lock me up, I’m not going crazy I promise. Well no more crazy than usual.
Everybody is all consumed in their lives, the goings on between Stuart and Shirley in the office, the idiot that cut them up on the way to work, the way their friend forgot their birthday, their awesome new phone etc. and at the risk of sounding rude and dismissive I feel there are so many things each day that happen to each of us, our brains go into overdrive and before we know it our lives have passed by in merely a collection of thoughts. Now that I’ve taken time just to step back and observe I know I want to get even further out of this whirlwind.
My depression and anxiety are still lingering but I’m positive that tides are changing and I will one day soon watch the clouds ebb away into the distance. I can acknowledge that these are chronic problems that without lifestyle changes will never leave me and I’m not prepared to live that life any longer.
It has taken a certain combination of action and almost a year implementing changes to start my families stripped back lifestyle. I feel positive about what our future holds and wanted to share with you what changes we are making to help us enjoy our lives more through trials and triumphs.
Minimalism – Possessions
We are drastically reducing what physical objects we have in our life. I will be posting several separate posts and videos on this as it is possibly the largest task of all involving a huge investment of time. If I were to film my house now you wouldn’t actually believe we are aiming for a minimalist lifestyle – it is a pit full of junk, some rooms are literally identical to the bottom of a skip. I spent many months doing it all ‘wrong’.
Wrong in the sense that I went through everything to get rid of and it all ended up loitering in piles until we could make it to a boot sale, had time to take it to a charity shop etc. I have a new stance which is still taking a lot of time and energy but that is starting to pay off. This is sorting through room by room and section by section and ensuring I remove the items from the house. I am currently ebaying all of Taormina’s and Wolfie’s old clothes!
I have given certain items to charity but we could really do with the extra money we are generating from eBay to inevitably go towards any family travels we have coming up. This really helps me keep it up realising that these unused possessions are getting a new lease of life and we are earning money to put towards ‘experiences’ rather than things. Less possessions means more freedom.
Minimalism – Digital
This is a work in progress and a large one at that. I currently have 3401 unread emails on one of my personal accounts – ugh!
Our photos and videos spanning the last ten years are jumbled into files and I am aiming to capsulate them into individual events and delete any blurry photos so it is a pleasure to browse through out memories.
Stop Mindless Puchasing
I have varying moods and one thing that cheers me up is to buy something (usually in the form of cake) but could include anything on my radar really. Although Dan would disagree I believe I am doing pretty well with this particular aim and I will be posting soon on ‘What I’ve stopped buying’.
This aim links directly to the above as reality has it I have two young children who are constantly in need of new clothes etc and shockingly I really, really enjoy buying them. I am aware this is a post about minimalism so you may envisage that means we won’t have much at all but I love to surround myself with people, experiences and also certain ‘things’ that bring me joy. There is indeed far too much junk in my house that brings me no joy whatsoever but there are a few things that make me happy each time I see them in use.
The most prominent group of items here are my children’s clothing. We’ll talk about my clothing soon as my dreary, ill fitting wardorobe will be receiving a ‘capsule’ overhaul that I will post about but for now let’s focus on the beautiful clothing that my children wear. It is rare that I would walk into a shop and mindlessly buy clothes for my children unless I had planned it first and it meets my criteria. I now get a lot of the children’s clothes handmade, they are beautiful, ethical, long lasting, comfortable and unique. What more could one want?
I believe in quality over quantity when making purchases e.g. I would rather have one nice hand cream from Neals Yard than five filled with chemicals from Tesco that will likely get stuffed in a cupboard anyway.
If a purchase doesn’t bring me pure joy I no longer make it.
Dan and I have both embarked on an altogether healthier lifestyle. After three years of being vegetarian I cut out animal products entirely and have totally embraced it; it is something that we both feel extremely passionate about and Dan particularly likes the logic of it. Being vegan makes complete sense for us, for the voiceless animals and for the planet but that is another conversation. Oreos are vegan. This is a challenge when facing a sugar addiction but yearning for a healthier lifestyle and something we are working on. There is nothing simple about the huge amount of sugar, unsustainable palm oil and many other unmentionable ingredients in Oreos.
We are focusing on eating more simple, healthy meals and as we are not saints we still indulge on the odd treat; one cannot turn down vegan cake. Eating cleaner improves our body and mind along with exercising regularly. I feel that looking after our one and only self is incredibly important as after all we are our own lives.
As you may know if you’ve read my blog before I am a huge advocate of mindfulness. It has played a huge part in reducing my negative thought pattern and allowing things to just be. I now find it easier to be in the moment, to observe that my thoughts are simply my mind being busy and I am capable of slowing them down. This is a very valuable tool and one I intend to improve. If you’re new to mindfulness you can see my recommended mindfulness books here.
If somebody could send Dan the memo about this one it would be appreciated, he is still somewhat lagging in the GET OFF YOUR PHONE and actually enjoy the experience with your family part.
I love this reward of minimalism, less time spent consumed in things that don’t matter and more time and money to spend on enjoying life . I hope this will pay off far more in the near future but for now we concentrate on spending one day a week together having new experiences and spending time exploring. We hope to travel a lot more in the near future and having less to worry about at home will make this far more possible.
Have you ever considered a more minimal lifestyle? Do you feel weighed down by your possessions, unhealthy lifestyle or busy mind?