So, let the record show, this post is not from a high horse. We are currently living minimalistically by force...not by choice. So, don't think that I am laying judging eyes on you if you choose to splurge on new Airpods or another new pair of boots. Keep doing you, boo. Right now, we can't possibly splurge on anything. As a matter of fact, my knee is killing me because I can't bring myself to drop 100 bucks for a new pair of running shoes (that might sound extreme for a non-runner, but when you think of all the miles you put on a pair of shoes, it's really not that much money).
Anyways, I have had some unexpected residual effects from our dramatic decrease in income due to my shift in jobs. We literally make half as much as we did at this point last year. At this point last year, I was planning a spring trip to Disney with my family. We were eating out whenever we pleased. I was buying new clothes when I couldn't decide what to wear. Life was "good." (That doesn't account for the fact that I was so stressed that I was physically ill more often than I wasn't...but that's a discussion for another time.) I cherish our Disney memories, and I miss all those "date nights" with my husband;
HOWEVER, I'm here to say that there is actually freedom in living a minimalist lifestyle. Now, we are, by no means, anywhere near the type of minimalists you might see portrayed in media. Simply put, minimalism refers to living with less. In August, I vowed to go an entire year without buying a single new article of clothing for myself. I initially did this as an environmental act which means you're allowed to thrift. I want to do my part to make a smaller impact on our earth (if that's not your jive, I get it). Now that money is even tighter, I've realized that this vow is also going to be a survival tactic for our family. This past weekend, I went through my closet. I bagged up anything that was too big or too small, and those clothes are going to our local thrift store. I have a few pairs of jeans, a few pairs of dress pants, some dresses, and some leggings. I don't have a ton, but ironically, I'm happier now than I was when my closet was busting at the seams.
There's actually some scientific proof that too much choice stresses us out. Too much to choose from, and we freeze. We make impulsive decisions. We make decisions that aren't sustainable in the long run. It really is a pretty cool concept. Check out this article if you're curious: https://galadarling.com/article/happiness-is-simple-why-too-many-choices-make-us-miserable-5-ways-to-improve-your-life/
Here's what I've learned: when you realize what you really need, you learn exactly why you do what you do every day. In living with less, I've learned that I was running myself ragged for things that really didn't matter as much as I thought they did. Not only that, but living with less stuff means living with less fear. You understand that you will find a way to survive when you're forced to find a way. Last year at this time, I would have vomited if you'd told me my salary would be cut in half. This fear was rooted in the idea that we needed everything we had. We needed 100 dollar cable. We needed a $1,500 vacation. I needed 10 pairs of pants and 50 pairs of shoes. Here's the thing, we didn't. We can survive on thrift clothes. We can survive with Hulu plus. I can listen to Pandora with ads. I'm not afraid anymore because I've learned that we can survive with less...and...more importantly, we can STILL BE HAPPY with less. We will still take a vacation and make memories, and I have a feeling that vacation will be even more meaningful because we will have saved for a year for it.
Like I said, if you've worked hard and have the means, I am not telling you to neglect your family. I do challenge you to take inventory of what you have and what you purchase. Being cognizant of what you buy and use and why you buy it will reveal a lot about who you are and what you do. Chances are, you're stressing yourself out about things that really don't matter as much as you think they do.
Keep fighting the good fight, friends!