With 2018 coming to a close, I have to reflect on the year for a minute. It’s been an incredible year – my husband and I got married in March, traveled Europe in May for our honeymoon, bought a house in July, I started a new job in October, and we witnessed almost two dozen of our sweet friends get married. We hosted surprise birthday parties for family. We welcomed a niece and the sweet babes of a few close friends. We continued pursuing our MBAs. I started this blog. We’ve had weekends away with our families and our friends and made sweet memories.
But I’ve also had an incredibly challenging year watching loved ones experience hardship, pain, and setbacks. These souls are incredibly strong – one in particular – and I will never be able to express how much admiration I have for those who continue to fight when they’ve been pushed back time and time again.
It’s truly been a year with peaks and valleys, and it’s left me dizzy. With so much going on, I feel hesitant to even commit to the idea of committing to less. I am constantly trying to balance professional and personal commitments with academic efforts, full renovation projects on our house, and finding time for family and friends. I’ve made this list of commitments in my head dozens of times – mostly to justify why by Friday of each week it looks like I don’t own a sponge or know how to wash a pan. And then I realized how much is not on the list that really should be – including myself. I’ve approached self-care practically every month this year, but never quite gotten there.
For years I’ve made my New Years resolutions are always made by month. I have the opportunity to focus on 12 things over the course of the year – and I truly believe 21 days makes a habit. I’m going to set a theme for 2019, though, and then break that down into monthly goals. This year I’ve decided to change my energy, though. While I’ll have monthly projects, I’m going to have a year-long theme.
At this point, minimalism is really seeming like the energy I need.
First of all, my focus on minimalism is not the result of complaints. I am truly grateful for all of the blessings in my life. I have a tremendous support network and endless opportunities. I just feel like I have lost control over some aspects of my day to day life, and I need to take back that power. And take back my closet because it is a disaster.
In many ways, I’m beginning this because I feel like I am drowning in things and rushing through social events as though they’re responsibilities and not happy bubbles. I need to change my environment and my outlook to get back to me.
For me, minimalism is going to mean less in the effort for more.
I plan to have less stuff – less clutter, less clothing, less crap laying around – in the effort to have more time experiencing than deciding and more time enjoying than searching.
It will clear away the unnecessary and leave space for what is important.
It is also going to mean less superficial commitments. Although I truly love my friends and feel so grateful to have them, I realize I’m making efforts in directions that do not lift me up. Saying no to these commitments will allow me to invest more energy into the relationships that matter – including the one with myself.
It’s also going to mean more space for intentions. I want to be more intentional with how I spend my time, my energy, and even my money.
My health should also be brought forward in these efforts. I need to find the energy and motivation to care about what I eat and how I move my body every day rather than grabbing something to eat while I rush through my day. This will also reduce waste in what we don’t eat each week, and what we throw money at despite having options in the fridge.
With an upcoming move, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to get rid of possessions that no longer bring me joy or serve me. I’m eager for the opportunity to reduce my possessions and to only find joy in what I have to carry.
I’ll start with clothing – donating everything as much as possible, and maybe selling some nicer items if I can. I have easily four times more than I need, but I always convince myself I have to keep a top or a dress because I might one day have the opportunity to wear it.
I’ll also stop saying, “yeah that sounds great!” to every event – only to find myself too busy or too exhausted to enjoy it. I’m going to prioritize time for myself, and balance commitments from there.
Finally, because I will have a de-cluttered physical space and mind, I’ll be able to create healthy moments. This will include more yoga practice and healthy, homemade meals.
I’m not sure if undertaking all of this with a full time job, part time MBA, and a house with all DIY renovations is the best idea, but it seems like the only idea. By the end of January I hope to have a sense of how minimalism will support me in creating a happy lifestyle that I can maintain.