Be less. Enjoy more.
I truly hope everyone had a wonderful break, filled with love, joy and laughter.
My holiday was terrific, but as many can attest – at times a little stressful and definitely busy. You try to see all your friends in town, spend time with your family and if you’re my age – most likely are taking on the responsibility of hosting/planning the holiday for the first time, instead of just enjoying it like every kid does (which is truly underrated). I’m a yes person (always have and probably always will be) so in a brief (and not fully factual context) I always find myself helping/executing too much – simply, doing too much.
Upon returning to work from the holiday, I wanted to relax and recover from the busy break (why does the term “I need a vacation from my vacation” always come to fruition? I hate that). I stumbled across a documentary many close friends mentioned to me (maybe subtly hinting to slow down), The Minimalists.
Simply put, it truly changed my perspective on how I was living my life. Go watch it now, then continue reading.
Minimalism is the act of simplifying our life. Do what you enjoy, cut out the distractions that prevent you from doing those things. Keep what brings you happiness, but don’t own things just to have them. Cultivate genuine relationships, not collections.
It starts with consumerism, how our culture has been brainwashed to think we NEED more than we do. As a past fashion industry publicist, I preached that exact sentiment everyday at work and, truthfully, I lived it too. So, first step: purge my closet. Do I really need 3 black booties? No. Do I really need 25 blouses? No. (Disclaimer: shoes and sweaters were harder to get rid of – so I did my best, but the challenge was real.) When going through each item in my closet – I just asked myself: do I feel GREAT when I wear this? If the answer was maybe, or no – it was a relieving BYEEEE!!! (Now, I can actually see and remember all my clothes, so truly, a ‘less is more fairytale’ was born).
The documentary makes a good point though – if you LOVE collecting something, and those things brings you happiness (ie you like to talk about our collections to your friends, it has value in your everyday) – then keep it. It’s really up to you to determine what you want to own and what you have just to have. Ultimately – you decide your happiness. But remember: Less stuff = less dusting :).
The second purge was to think about the things I’m trying to accomplish personally, and what is getting in my way of finding the time to achieve it. I know you don’t want to hear about my aspirations/goals, but essentially it came down to this: Social Media.
Social Media: It’s a time sucker, and if you use it like most people my age, really, you get about 1/10 value of the time you’re spending using it. I love taking photos, and editing them to my version of perfection brings me happiness. I thought this is why I needed Instagram – a creative outlet. I also justified that since I work in PR/Marketing, I should know what is trending. Lastly, I want to stay in touch with my friends, so seeing what they’re doing on Instagram is a valid way to remain ‘in the know.’
Wrong. See realizations to my claims below (at your own discretion).
I was posting my creativity on Instagram because of the joy I received when others ‘liked’ my photos, saying they enjoyed my content. Why should I need validation from others for doing what I love? I thought I was building a brand, but really, I’m not a professional photographer, nor will I be in the near future.
The amount of accounts I followed that just posted funny quotes or memes made me laugh when I saw them, but really, I’m not challenging my brain in any way when I’m on social media (I do defend Twitter in this specific reasoning). I could learn just as much (if not more) about what was on trend or happening in my industry (by an even more valid source) by reading Adweek or Fast Company. So, now every time I’m bored and anxious to open Instagram, I instead open Texture instead – I read, and I learn.
99% of social media users don’t post their reality. They want you to LIKE what they’re saying (why do we need validation from how many likes we receive?). So it’ll usually be pretty imagery (in which they took 15 different shots and then edited the chosen photo for an hour), accompanied by a cute caption (which probably spent another 15 minutes thinking of it), to share much later than when it actually happened. But really, none of it will be real, or a true portrayal of their ENTIRE life. (And then most of the time it’ll make you question your actual reality wondering why you don’t put sage on your breakfast or have a cute mug from CB2, so when you have breakfast it’s just as picture-esq and you can post a similar picture?)
So, ask yourself this question. If social media didn’t exist – who would you actually care about enough to CALL and keep in touch, or want do something together in person? My answer (which of course may vary from yours) was simple: I tried to keep up with too many lives via social media – preventing me the time I could use to stay in touch with those who actually mean something to me.
Last night, I actually felt bored (granted, I stayed in on a Saturday night) – but in the past week, I worked more hours in a day than I typically do, I started AND finished a book, I worked out 3x this week, I visited with multiple friends (in person and over the phone), cleaned out my closet/apartment, spent quality time with my husband and dogs, watched my favorite TV shows, completed my errands (and a manicure), and had time for me — to work on my book, AND write this blog post!
I don’t remember the last time I accomplished so much in a week, and never felt more relaxed or rejuvenated in my life.
So far, the minimalist approach to life suits me, so that’s why I’m encouraging anyone who just feels run down to give it a try.
Use things. Love people.