Over the years, I’ve had to develop a short list of ways I can still look like I have a semblance of a healthy life without the ability to “give 110 percent” to fitness.
Whenever I meet another minimalist, I feel that same camaraderie as I used to feel when I met another marathoner. We cheer each other on, we talk about reaching small goals. I sincerely hope minimalism doesn’t become a competition, a zero-sum game where you aren’t a minimalist until you have the least amount of things and are living in a shack in the woods with no windows…and then a lean-to because you feel the need to do better than the guy with the walls.
In essence, the research shows that kids who engage in more screen time experience lower self-esteem and higher anxiety and depression. The results make sense but what does it look like on an individual level?
Doing laundry is a pain. So, one way I deal with it is to have less of it. Here is my method for paring down the kids’ clothes:
Heart-palpitating moments bring up an opportunity for me to write about anxiety and money, so it isn’t all bad. After all, who hasn’t felt anxiety over money? If you haven’t, you are missing out of some sweet lessons on how fear can simultaneously be your concierge motivator and paralyzer. Fun stuff. Hey, have you checked your credit score recently?
There is that part of me that wants to chant “One of us, one of us” just to make you nervous. Minimalism, however, isn’t about an adoption in a set of codes and morals that feels akin to finding a new religion.
After what felt like a year of cleaning up the same mess, I gathered all the toys that my children barely touched and packed them away in the car to drop off at Goodwill. After I added knick knacks and what I cleaned from my closet, I ran out of room in my sedan and had to fit the rest in what would be 5/6ths of my husband’s Buick Enclave.
You may feel dismayed to find that creative geniuses are messy folk. How about you? Are you the type of person who can’t get a task done in a room that isn’t tidy? We often use tidying as an excuse to avoid the work but there is power in a clean space despite what the …
Plastic is everywhere…obviously. From the clothes we buy (synthetic poly blends), to the diapers and toys we get for young ones, to the fast food meals we eat (silverware, lining of wrappers, straws), and our toiletries, building materials, and cleaning supplies.
Let’s be blunt. That’s too much for one concerned adult to keep track of.
Carl Jung would pin it on our evolution as hunter-gatherers. Sigmund Freud decided that our need to collect comes from our trauma in infancy in releasing our bowels, thereby instilling in us a fear of being separated from things that we feel belong to us.
Once you’ve had the workout of running to and fro in an attempt to locate all of your frocks, smocks, and socks (don’t forget coats, wedding dresses, and unmarried socks) you can commence with the culling.
The person I envision is edgy, witty, and well read. She is beautiful, strong, and wealthy. She is self sufficient but also a great partner and a doting mother of semi-free-range children. She speaks different languages, she gardens, paints, plays the ukulele, runs ultramarathons, climbs mountains, cooks wholesome meals, takes excellent photos, writes, is a great public speaker, and is generally and at all times in the running for teacher of the year.
She sounds absolutely neurotic. I probably wouldn’t even be her friend.
When I was in my 20s, engagements seemed to be taking place all around me on my college campus. What a nice thing to be loved and to love someone in return, I thought. However, when someone got engaged, the first thing people ask about isn’t how excited they are for the wedding or how wonderful their spouse-to-be is.
“Let’s see it!” We demand.
I’ve gotten rid of my things and we have pared down our items and our kids’ items. As soon as my mission towards minimalism passed through Me-town and We-town, I failed to hit the brakes and flew right through my husband’s border security.
If we let it, mid-life can be a place of purgatory. We aren’t old enough to be free of work and we are too old to start something new. So how do we live a better life? A happier life? A more grateful existence?
We tend to use our bookshelves like bumper stickers. As in “Hey everybody! I’m literate and we might share values!” However, unless it’s something that is picked up often and read like a bible, it probably has little place in your current life. Why live seated next to the guilt of an unachieved dream?
What we ended up with, at the end of a deep dive into our cupboards and our cooking ambitions, was a pretty simplistic list of tools that get food on the table and make life easy for us. Your list might look different. That’s OK.
Too often I’ll see my kids abandon toys after mere minutes or start piling toys near them but then not play with what they have so near. This made me curious enough to do some research on the subject of how many items a kid needs in a playroom.
Zero waste can happen for the rest of us. Still, you can’t go from 6 thousand to zero in no time flat just like you can’t go from 0 to 60 in no time flat. Your tires will burn out or you will get tired. Oh so tired. Here are some solutions for the rest of us.
I still have fond memories of watching mom or grandma cook and occasionally helping out. The most important gift of all was our time together. Today, as the girls and I spent time making lunches in the kitchen, I hope that they will savor these moments in the future and try to recreate them with their own children one day.
I admit, recently I’ve left the linen closet door open to marvel at it at how organized everything is. I know that’s lame and I should be embarrassed over my lack of KonMari-approved folding skills but I don’t care…it’s glorious.