You are probably pretty familiar with Marie Kondo. A beautiful Japanese woman with a renowned way of organizing your home. Her mindset drives you to determine if something brings you joy and if it doesn’t, then you get rid of it. A minimalist lifestyle that helps you declutter and dismiss.
I love a good declutter spree. It’s amazing how quickly a home can fill itself with SO MUCH STUFF. And as you start to sift through it, it hardly takes any time to realize that much of it is mostly trivial and trash. As I prepare to move, I am committing myself to the Kon Mari method and trying to master her full mentality to help me condense and clear out.
This is not making me happy.
This is not bringing me comfort.
This is not providing me peace.
This is not making me feel loved.
These are the primary proclamations I find myself voicing while I make my way through every closet, cupboard and corner. It goes beyond the single statement “does this bring me joy” because I need an affirmation that manifests a little bit more. I’m entering a new phase of my life and I am not willing to carry anything with me that no longer serves a particular purpose.
If I had the built-in bravery to be a REAL minimalist, I would move into one of those HGTV tiny homes and see where life would take me. I hate cooking so I don’t need a big kitchen. I’m not a gardener so I don’t need a big yard. Aside from needing one to get me (and my children) from Point A to Point B, I don’t care about cars so I don’t need a big garage. But I would like to bring all my fitness equipment, my skincare arsenal and my closet full of sneakers and sandals. And of course, my children. I’m pretty sure a tiny home would not accommodate all of the above. I’m also afraid the mad winters of Minnesota would bury that pint-sized place with zero pity. So, even though the tiny house living won’t really happen, I like the idea of what it represents.
For so long, I thought bigger meant better. I thought it was a token of one’s success and likeability. And perhaps it is for some. But for me, it didn’t bring me joy. I have fully realized that success isn’t measured by money. It’s not holding a glamourous gig. Living in a large home or driving a luxury vehicle. It’s not about having a big social circle. Or having to say yes to every single thing. All of those are tiresome. And they don’t elicit sustainable success; the kind that comes with who I am, not what I am.
I think it takes a certain kind of spirit to really find the courage to go against what society says you should be doing. Something that is heavily mirrored through social media; a daily element of involvement that makes it even more difficult to swim upstream. But that’s okay. I’m learning to look at those platforms as highlight reels, only. I love fairytales, glamourous scenarios and beautiful destinations. But I am also a very practical, purposeful Enneagram One. I’m a perfectionist in the worst sense of the word and I have spent the last decade trying to build what I thought was perfection. During that ongoing quest, I mostly failed. Expectations weren’t met, trust was demolished and I was grossly misunderstood. So, I am redefining what perfection looks like and feels like. It has not been a cake walk. Or even a breezy stroll. But it has been a very humbling experience. The kind that leaves you with a lesson, a memory and some freshly made motivation.
Together, those three things create a catalyst for change.
Last Fall I was presented with two job offers. I took the one that held a job I would love, even though it was with a company (and an industry) I knew nothing about. Not the one that I had more experience with, offered more prestige and came in at a higher salary. I picked happiness.
I am moving into a new place; it’s older and much smaller than the house I’ve lived in for the past seven years. But I know it will feel much more like home. I picked comfort.
I’ve been saying NO to a lot of things without the looming guilt. Not necessarily because I’m busy, but because I don’t want to. I picked peace.
I have found more value in having a smaller, tighter-knit circle of friends. People that embrace my vulnerability and ones that I can cry with just as hard as I laugh. I picked love.
None of these are things that I thought I would welcome with such open arms. I’ve had a wickedly wrong mindset for quite a while; always over-extending myself for the sake of saving face. Living in a space that has never fostered the feelings of comfort. Saying yes to more than I really wanted. And, feeling like I needed to dance through discomfort in order to maintain relationships that had slowly outgrown their season. My 40’s have given me unapologetic permission to do things that I haven’t been known for, in the past. Things that won’t always make the highlight reel. Things that have been outside of my comfort zone. But let me tell you this – I like it. And I’m getting better at still liking it even when others don’t.
It’s time to drop it like it’s not. Anything that is not for me. And a lot of that means letting go of MORE, so that I can make room for LESS.