At this maximalist time of year—post Christmas presents and holiday clearances— I’m wishing for a world of minimalism. I know minimalism is trendy now and we’ve all read enough about it, but I’m a minimalist at heart. I’m not chasing a trend when I write about it, I’m chasing my real self. Which is all I really feel like doing these days. I have no patience left for being not-me.
America is the land of maximalism. We shop a lot, we eat a lot, we talk a lot. We like things BIG.
You’d think that shopping a lot (this IS a style blog, so I’m focusing on the shopping aspect) would take more work than shopping a little, but it actually takes less. Shopping is automatic. For Americans in 2013 shopping is not a means to an end anymore, it is the end. We don’t shop to buy things, we shop to shop. And so we end up with too much stuff.
If we want less stuff, we have to think more and shop less and smarter.
I want less stuff. I have a desperate need to have less stuff because I only have a certain amount of room AND because I don’t want to spend any more time shopping. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing.
The older I get the less I can be bothered to go shopping. Ah, the hours I used to spend happily browsing for stuff. But now I can feel my annoyance and sense of ennui rising about five minutes after I step into a store.
And that’s the key to minimalism for me: I do NOT want to spend any of my time buying or maintaining things. I just want to live.
I used to want everything in my life, including myself, to look perfect. But that’s a quest that will never end—you get one bit looking perfect and the next bit falls apart, and before you know it you’ve spend decades on your quest and are still looking for the next thing, the thing that will make everything REALLY look perfect.
I don’t know, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all along. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough to look good. But even if that’s the reason I haven’t succeeded, I don’t care. I don’t want to be constantly striving to improve my appearance anymore. I want to have arrived at my goal. And the only way to do that is to decide that what I look like is already perfect, or at least good enough. I think I may have achieved that. I think I may finally have gotten to the point where I am not always thinking that what I’m putting on is not good enough.
Oh I’m sure I’ll still get the craving to shop, but I’ve learned to sit with it awhile and see if it goes away. It usually does, which means it wasn’t really about the shopping, it was about some other urge that gets its wires crossed with shopping. But that’s a whole nother post.