When I was younger I was on a search for happiness. I thought big house, lots of cars, lots of clothes, and a fancy job I hated but paid well would be the “American Dream.” I bought and I bought and I bought (really my parents bought and bought and bought) toy after toy, outfit after outfit, anything and everything that I thought could fill the void that was inside of me. I didn’t know that I was trying to fill a void, I just thought that I was being normal wanting to buy buy buy.
I thought life was this game of always having more and doing more and competing with the people around you. I was not happy if someone around me got something and I didn’t. I didn’t like the idea of anyone being better than me at something or having more than me. Quite frankly I was really self-centered, but at the same time I fully lacked self-confidence. I needed to have these things to prove to myself that I was worthy. I needed people to notice me and complement me on the things I had to feel better about myself.
In my younger years I think it would be safe to say I was a hoarder. My mom (hi, thanks for reading this and helping make sure I don’t make typos!!!) used to call me a bag lady. I had so much stuff that I would have to shove it in bags and put it under my bed. I was told that my bed grew in height from how much I shoved under it (I am thinking my dad made this up, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it is true). I kept everything and had more collections than I can even count. I was scared to get rid of anything and clung on to everything like my life depended on it.
As you can imagine, over the years I accumulated many many things. It is actually sickening thinking about all the money that was wasted on pointless junk throughout my life until the age of about twenty-one. I had a huge walk-in closet that was stuffed with clothes (in rainbow order of course). I felt as though I never had enough and I was always wondering what I could buy next. I was placing so many online orders that I began to forget what I had even ordered. I basically had a post office in my house with all the packages I was getting.
Once I switched my life around with my diet I realized that veganism also tackled environmental issues. I became aware of how much less water, land, and energy my food was using compared to the standard American diet (SAD). I wanted to learn more about the way that I could lesson my environmental footprint. I found minimalism.
I am what I call a practical minimalist. I definitely don’t own only two things, but I also don’t buy things just because. I like to look at the companies I buy from and make sure they are doing good for the environment. I like to invest money in quality products and not settle for the cheapest product. I also like to buy used if I can or to reuse what I have. I know that I can spend my money how I want and that I feel my best when I support companies that support the planet and their workers.
I spent so many years worrying about what I could have next and never appreciated what I had. Now, I feel so grateful to have everything that I do. I have so many blessings in my life and I am so thankful that I have the ability to spend my money on what I want. My wardrobe is very small, but it is all I need and I love every single piece of clothing that I own. In my mind I don’t see the point of hanging on to things “just because” or if I don’t love whatever it is.
I think it is still important to treat myself every once in awhile, but the way I treat myself looks different now. I would rather spend my money on something like hiking shoes or a trip than go to a mall and buy a bunch of outfits.
The less I own the happier and more free I feel. I find the idea of being able to pick up and move all my belongings and me simply to be so refreshing. I always say “When you die who is going to take care of all the stuff you have?” So with that mindset I guess having less really means you are caring for your loved ones and not making them clean up after you.
I am not saying that everyone must be a minimalist, but I do think it is very important that people realize where their money is going and if they truly support the companies that are getting their money.
Why buy objects when you can buy experiences?
Until next time,