Not long ago I embarked on an exercise in minimalism. I moved myself, my dog, and my favorite things into a 430-square-foot casita, leaving my house and 90% of my clothes, shoes, and other crap behind (read more here).
Letting go of the stuff
So far, I’ve been very, very happy. Choosing an outfit is a breeze when you only have what’s in a small closet to choose from. Cooking and grocery shopping is simpler (forget the 3-course meals, microwaved eggs taste just as good, and hey, they’re faster!). Cleaning is a snap when you only have 2-minutes of floor to vacuum.
When I got the flu, I definitely missed my bath tub and my arsenal of over-the-counter drugs. Here and there I’ve felt a ping of, damn, I wish I had my fill-in-the-blank, but just like a craving, it passed quickly and other choices presented themselves.
By and large, it’s been overwhelmingly freeing to detach and dissociate from my stuff. Because, sometimes, it almost felt like my stuff owned ME. It didn’t contribute to my well-being or offer me comfort or love. But I kept wanting to get more.
Do you ever feel like that?
Do you ever feel like you’ve collected a whole bunch of crap you don’t need for a reason you can’t place?
That the things you own define you or give you status?
That your self-value is dependent on what you have?
That you collect more stuff just to take up space in your house?
That you can’t live without ______ (something dumb that you CAN live without)?
My goal for this exercise is to reduce my possessions from a level of “I really need this” to, in 3 months, “I forgot I even had this.”
Letting go of the people
This got me thinking. This outlook can transcend into our personal relationships: letting go of people who take up space in your life.
I tend to hold on to people (men) past their expiration date. When things are clearly wrong between us, I hold off kicking them to the curb while hoping for a reversal, only to suffer through our eventual demise.
(Doesn’t save me any heartache, I’ll tell you that much.)
In every relationship, my regret is the same: I wish I had let him go sooner. Pretty interesting, to see such a steadfast theme among your dating regrets?
Awareness is the first step to change.
Come along with me on my exercise in minimalism. Keep only what you need, what brings you joy, what fills a purpose. Don’t keep what takes up space — possessions and people included.