Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only October 16th, but do you realize Christmas is nine weeks away?! I am a sucker for Christmas-the grandeur and excess of it. Yes, I admit it. It’s my most feel-good time of year, and I soak it all up.
But this year, I am determined to incorporate my new lifestyle into Christmas. I usually go all out with the decorating and gift-buying (not only for others but myself!) This year is going to be different -except when it comes to my babies. My nieces, affectionately known as my babies, are four and fourteen months. I will not cheat them out of the wonderment of a consumerist Christmas. Their parents are gonna spoil them rotten anyway…
This year, gift-giving will take some careful thinking and advanced planning. I am making all the gifts and cards that I plan to give this year (Thank goodness I’m an introvert and don’t have many friends. Ha!) I am a quiet observer. I pay attention to what the people I love like and care about and I plan to use that to curate my gift-giving this year. I’m both excited and nervous because my thoughts and intentions don’t always pan out the way I envision them.
But more importantly, I am nervous about all the temptation that will surround me once holiday ads are in full force. Pray for me…
So, I was thinking to myself; Self, how can I live lighter and still keep the things around me that make me smile yet not junk up the place?
Make them functional and purposeful!
I love owls (except when the bastards are attacking eagle nests with the little eaglets in them!). I love their big, bug eyes, their majestic plumage, and those damned hooked beaks. But what I don’t love is a house full of owl shit that just sits collecting dust.
So, instead of dedicating a shelf or wall full of crazy owl tchotchkes, I decided to cutify my kitchen with some owl salt and pepper shakers and a scrubber dish (I really needed this because I was just sitting my used SOS pad on the edge of the sink, and it was gross!)
And looky, looky! I also found some owl candles! Okay, so, technically I could’ve done without these, but they were marked down to $2.00 after Christmas last year, and I always lose power during a really bad storm, so there! Shut.it.
My point is that you don’t have to give up the things you love and bring you joy if you can find functional, purposeful uses for them. Now, if I could only make art with all these useless lipsticks I have…
I’ve been in my own world since I was thirteen years old. When I say my own world, I’m speaking of being attuned with who I am as a person. I don’t like large crowds. I don’t have a huge circle of friends. I don’t and have never gone clubbing. Getting me to go “out” is a struggle. I genuinely like myself, and I enjoy my own company. And because I spend so much time alone, it’s helped to form my own beliefs and principles without outside influence. I could give zero damns about what others think of me because I’ma do me regardless. And this is how I’ve earned this unspoken reputation as this unapproachable, stand-offish person when in actuality, I’m the complete opposite. Those who are “brave” enough to talk to me are often pleasantly surprised by the end of the conversation that I’m anything but.
I grew up with an extremely extroverted and animated mother. She was the literal life of the party, and she tried to her dying day to get me to be more outgoing. I appreciated her concern, but her pushing had the opposite effect. My mother was also a maximalist (My sister is so her in every sense…) It had to be big, and it had to be opulent and of the best quality. I will admit that it was my mother who taught me quality over quantity, but that’s another post for another day…
Deciding to downsize my life has been an eye-opening experience, mainly because it’s made me realize how much money I’ve wasted in the last year. I still have a consumerist mindset, and it’s like a disease. If I see it, and I like it, I have to have it! The newness of things is addictive, and I am disgusted with myself, even as I write this post. Wait til my September wrap-up post. I still have so far to go. An extra dollar burns a hole in my pocket. Still
When I see other minimalists try to trash fellow minimalists because they don’t fit their definition of what it means to be a minimalist:
First of all, nobody defines what minimalism means to me . Or you, for that matter. What lead me on this journey was not a desire to fit all my worldly possessions into a suitcase or cardboard box or live in a home with white walls and a neutral color palette because that just ain’t happ’n, bruh. I am not about that life. I live in color every day (literally and figuratively).
As my tagline states, my minimalism is about living light (er) and living right. Living light means getting rid of the things that no longer bring value to my life or serve an immediate need. Living right means being a kinder, gentler, friendlier, nicer me.
With that being said, here are some things I flat out refuse to part with. At least for now!
Photo albums: I’m old school. Pictures tell a story, and I love reliving those moments that helped shape and define the woman that I am today (Yes, all the important ones are backed up.)
Books: An introvert’s ultimate form of entertainment
Wall art/decor: Because looking at my artwork and family photos make me happy. ‘Nuff said…
Cassette tapes: The soundtrack to my life. Ain’t no way I’m parting with the music. I’ll cut my cable off first.
Craft supplies: I’m a creative, and I need the freedom to craft at will. Not sorry..
See y’all next time when I list the five things that I have given up. Oh boy…
When I say “people”, I’m referring to your circle — friends, acquaintances, but most importantly, your family. Have you ever been referred to as the “weird one” or the “on some next level shit” one of the family? While I was never explicitly called that, I’ve always felt that way because I’ve always marched to my own beat, even if it’s off-key and unpopular.
Anyway, my sister is my very best friend. We have so much in common, yet we are as different as night and day — in looks, personality, tastes, you name it. My sister loves “stuff” and having it all around her, even if she has no immediate plans of ever using it. I, on the other hand, look at my “stuff” and immediately feel claustrophobic. My “collections” of candles, snow globes, and unused craft supplies are stressing me the fuck out!
So, how do you tell your folks (friends included) about your new lifestyle without offending them? Personally, I’ve never sugarcoated a thing. I simply tell them, please do not buy me any more “chotskies” or “Oh, I saw this and thought of you” gifts. I think sis finally gets it.
While I’m so thankful and appreciative of the caring people in my life, I don’t need or want any more things that cannot be used for immediate consumption. And I feel like an asshole for suggesting things because then it seems like I’m making demands of peoples’ generosity. But my stance remains firm. Thank you, but no thank you…