Seven months ago, I seriously started flirting with the idea of a minimalist life. I'm not going to be dishonest and say that I'm100% Minimalist at the moment however, I did find a group of people who had started a 30 day Minimalist challenge. It seemed like a good way to dip my toe in the waters.
Here’s what it looked like on paper:
Pick a start date and an accountability partner
On Day 1, choose 1 item to get rid of. Day 2 : Pick 2 items. Day 3: 3 Items....
Brag and bask in the freedom my new lifestyle would give me.
Here's what really happened:
Day 1: I gleefully kicked off the challenge with a dreadful mug my husband likes *don't ask me why* Day 2: Workout clothes that were a size too big. *preening*
Day 9: Things get dicey at this point. I've run out of ugly mugs & old shoes to surrender.
Day 21: I'm scared. This wasn't what I signed up for. I'm not sure I can do this. *I thought about quitting but my accountability partner came through*
Day 30: I just want to sleep for 30 hours. There's a part of me that's scared about needing some of my stuff back but I've read enough comments at this point and I was expecting this.
I had a good laugh at myself, got rid of a ton of stuff and learned some essentials I would love to share:
Mindset Matters: I was raised in a society where wealth and success had to be on display. It wasn’t hidden. At all. Wealth was measured by the number of cars, houses, servants… Did you just visualize Crazy Rich Asians? If you did, you're spot on! Even though I've come a long way and live in a completely different place, I still needed to examine this Max-Mindset and address it. I wasn’t even aware that this was a thing with me but it was. Minimalism is an intentional lifestyle. It leaves little room for extra stuff we don’t need and keeps our minds fixed on the essentials.
Our Feeds make a huge difference: We consume an alarming amount of information daily and are inundated with never-ending sales pitches [IG, Netflix, YouTube Watch Later, etc.] I follow a ton of fashion/jewelry & kid item influencers and that reflected in my feed. This challenge proved that I needed to take care of that.
Your attachments reveal your deepest fears: There was just sooooo much stuff I was attached to but never made use of! There was also plenty of wedding stuff and everything my boys owned from when they were babies. Like how could I part with their baby blankets!?! I cried over socks. The intensity of my emotions got me examining my attachments. I ended up letting them go but only after deep self assessment and a photoshoot of their favorite toys and stuffed animals. It also helped that they went to kids who had lost their home in a fire and had nothing. They would cherish them too.
The Scarcity Mindset: I had to accept the truth which was that I spent a considerable part of my life in an environment filled with uncertainty and scarcity. Although my parents gave us what we needed (Needs trump Wants) and tried their best to shelter us. They couldn't shield me from their hushed conversation when they thought I wasn't listening, the political unrest, worker strikes, inflation hoarding, neighbors in dire need, lost jobs or the desperation. It left its mark. I think many Immigrants can relate with this.
I didn't take the Minimalist 30 challenge to confront these feelings but I’m glad I did. Do you feel like we spend considerable time doing and not enough time examining our Whats & Whys? What if your manic lifestyle (living on the grind sans reflection) is the very thing keeping you from living the life you desire?
I've resolved to make this a personal annual challenge because old habits die hard and I hope you'll accept this challenge too.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you do. I would loooove to see/hear about any physical/mental baggage you discover .