Why I’m Choosing Minimalism

 

Everyone can agree that we live in a society of mass consumerism. Advertising bombards us all the time, telling us what we need to buy to make us better, stronger, healthier, prettier, and happier than the people we interact with on a daily basis. Somehow our society has become convinced that more possessions will make us happier, when in actuality, the opposite is usually true. Being surrounded by objects and products at all time often causes more stress, frustration, and dissatisfaction than happiness.

This is just one reason why I have decided to make a life change and become a minimalist.

whyImChoosingMinimalism

Now, don’t freak out. I’m sure the word “minimalism” conjures up images of bare walls, five items of clothing hanging in a closet, and maybe a couch in the living room if you’re lucky. But don’t worry, I’m not going that far off the deep end. Each person and their situation is unique, so minimalism will play itself out for different people in different ways.

For me, it will veer more to the side of simple living. I really appreciate the allure of a simple lifestyle, one that is uncluttered and uncomplicated, and there are a few reasons why I want to make the switch.

1) Less Clutter, More Creativity? – I’m a writer who works from home. While it sounds great, I struggle to find a space where I can focus and get loads of work done. If I can cut down the clutter in my room, I will hopefully be able to focus more on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by everything around me. I also won’t have to clear out a space on my desk to work at before sitting down.

2) Mobility – This fall I will start my senior year of college, and then after that, who know where I’ll be. If I only have a few possessions, I will be able to move around a lot easier. I will feel more free to accept jobs in different parts of the country because I won’t have to stress about moving quite as much stuff. 

3) Less Stress – All the clutter in my room makes it really difficult to just relax. I’m always seeing something that needs done, but at the same time being completely intimidated by the amount of work that has to happen. So I just lay on my bed and watch YouTube to distract myself from all the crap around me. It really

4) Less Attached to Possessions – The two things that I value most in my life are friends and family, so I don’t think I really deal with an attachment to possessions. But I want to be completely honest with myself. A lot of the things that are contributing to the clutter are relics from high school and I have to be honest with myself because those things aren’t me, yet I cling to them.

5) More Saving – I’ll admit it: I might have a slight spending problem. I buy things that I might use for some hypothetical situation sometime in the future. Ridiculous, I know. And don’t even get me started on coffee. I have been known to buy coffee and snacks from Starbucks up to two or three times a day at school. Hopefully by going minimalist I’ll train myself to buy less and value what I have right now.

What do you think of the minimalist lifestyle? Do you find it ridiculous or practical? Are you minimalist? If so, give me your wisdom! I need all the help I can get.

Put On Your Big Girl Panties

Smile-Used

I just finished my last shift at my summer job! Yippie!! For the past few months, I have worked in a deli; up to my elbows in lunch meat and cheese all day.Glamorous, right? A deli is one of those places where it’s really easy to be grumpy. It’s hot and sweaty, customers can be a pain in the butt, coworkers are sometimes cranky, and certain lunch meats are just gross. Needless to say, some days are an awful, stinking mess.

Last week, I found myself in the rut of self-pity and job-hatred, both things that are easy to slip into. I would gripe and groan at work all day then come home and be grumpy and unsociable for at least the next hour. My parents and family would ask me, “How was work?” Although I felt awful and overly grumpy, I couldn’t think of one thing that made it a particularly bad day. All in all it was a good day with just a few hiccups, yet I couldn’t explain away my lousy mood. I would say, “I’m just ready to not work there anymore.”

After a few days in this rut, I was talking to my mom and the How-was-work-today-honey? question came up. I started complaining (again) with nothing to complain about it. She listened for a while, then looked me in the eye and gave me some of the best advice I have gotten in a long time:

Put on your big girl panties and get over it.

 Now anyone who knows my mom knows that she would never say something that harshly. She’s too sweet. However that was the essence of what she was saying. She pointed out that while some people work in a deli their entire life, I only had to do it for a summer. In just a few sentences, she broke down any excuses I had for being grumpy.

At that point, something became real to me that I had been mulling over for a while: My attitude about a situation is entirely up to me. I can choose to be grumpy and unpleasant about a situation, or I can choose to look at the good and smile as I go about my day. I don’t have to let the situation control my attitude. Only I control my attitude, and no one else has that power.

Since that conversation with Mom, work has been a whole lot better. I’ve been able to smile and joke with the other employees and the customers. I’ve felt light-hearted when I get home instead of dragged down. I was able to walk out of work today with a genuine smile on my face and a spring in my step; a great way to end a summer job.