I received the following post from the Minimalist Mom and it really hit home for me. I'll be the first to admit that attempting to live a minimalist lifestyle in what seems to be one of the wealthier cities in Canada, proves to be a challenge in more ways than one.
It's awfully hard to keep picking away at purging your things and "downsizing" your material posessions when it feels like everyone is racing to keep up with Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Having instant access into the lives of others (via Facebook and Twitter) makes it even easier to see what others are doing, where they're going and what they're buying...constantly. It's enough to make a person crazy...but only if I let it.
The post helped me the most by affirming the reasons why I've decided to venture down this road and included helpful tips to remember when faced with pangs of envy over a friend's awesome new kitchen reno or their latest and greatest vacation.
Live Your Values
This reminder is so incredibly important that I can't even begin to describe how much of an impact it makes in terms of remembering why I'm choosing this lifestyle and what I hope to gain from it. Chris and I had a conversation while traveling down the highway the other day about choosing to only spend money on things that aligned with our passions. For instance, he is a huge hockey fanatic and his collection of Pittsburgh Penguins Memorabilia is noteworthy. To me, that's okay because he's passionate about it and some may think he goes overboard but they're the same people that would drop thousands on designer clothes where we would not. To each their own, I say.
What doesn't fit with our values is going shopping and buying things just because: a) it was on sale, b) it was neat or cool or handy or c) because we had money burning in our pocket that most likely could have been put towards RRSP's or some other money-SAVING strategy.
Envy is a Choice
Why yes...yes it is. A choice that is sometimes naturally thrust upon you as you skim through your news feed each morning. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little because soon all of you will think I'm some crazy loon who harbours nothing but hate for my Facebook friends. That is simply not so. It can be difficult at times though when you're constantly bombarded with people inadvertently "bragging" about what happened to them that day and consequently, what did not happen to you. Let's be honest now...on any given day, please tell me you can't count on at least one hand a status update or tweet that boasts how quickly and awesomely someone's kid learned to roll, crawl, walk, poop, etc. I admit, I do it too...I think that the beauty and the curse of such social media. Or how about the posts about someone's new digs...or new ride...or new something... When continuously plagued with such magnificent propaganda, it's hard not to get into comparative mode...because everyone's life is just.so.perfect. Or is it?
Stuff Does Not = Contentment
Contentment. A state of happiness and satisfaction. I like this word. And I think this is something I'm going to pursue further. How does one get to be in this state on a semi-permanent basis? Oprah would tell you to keep a gratitude journal. Buddha would tell you to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. And I just used Oprah and Buddha in the same paragraph. Wow, she really is amazing isn't she?
Anyway, I'm not sure where this revelation will take me but I do know this: I plan to take more time (immediately) to count my blessings every day and be truly thankful for what I do have. For behind closed doors, everyone's perfect life is likely not so and better to be content with all that I know I have than to wish for something I may not actually want.
Up Next: What Am I Thankful For? (Yeah, I'm dropping the project numbers...)