Adopting a more intentional lifestyle has altered my ideals in a multitude of ways. But on a day to day basis, when things might get chaotic, I sometimes wonder how much my life has really changed since becoming a minimalist. For some perspective, I started thinking about the things that I valued ten years ago. Specifically the things that I did that made me feel like I was living a luxurious life.
I was a year and a half into my minimalism journey when I was finally able to pare down the items I was holding on to for nostalgic purposes. You know, those things you don’t use, but you keep because seeing it evokes fond memories. Often these are trinkets without large monetary value that you might keep in a small (or large) box. These things are not necessarily viewed as useful or essential, but they are often the most difficult to part with.
Since Big Brother (Alphabet) is always watching and my internet history isn’t varied, I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations for minimalism-themed articles and videos on social media. Titles like “The Best White Decor for Your Minimalist Apartment”, “12 Things for Decluttering Your Closet”, and “The Five Coffee Accessories Every Minimalist Needs”.
When I see these types of articles, it reminds me that the vast majority of people still view minimalism in one manner. And that would be what I refer to as phase 1.
Lately I’ve been exploring the idea of making my life a bit more luxurious. Wearing clothing that makes me feel fancy. Taking the time to do a “no makeup” makeup look. Adding a few cute accessories to dress up a simple top and bottom. Enjoying a hot coffee while skimming the newspaper. Drinking a glass of wine while I cook dinner. Then I wake up and a remember, I’m a stay-at-home-mom and it’s not possible to do all these things.
I’m going to wear clothing that is comfortable, skip the lipstick and mascara, ditch the accessories that get in the way when I pick up a kid or two, and just hope that today’s the day I get to finish my coffee before it’s cold. And forget enjoying a glass of wine while I cook dinner. Instead I’m just bribing the kids with tortilla chips and Netflix shows in hopes that they to stay out of the kitchen for two seconds so I don’t burn someone when I open the oven or stir a pot. There is definitely nothing luxurious about this situation.
But then I remember…..these are all things I did when I was working full-time. I wore cute clothing, my coffee was never room temperature, and I felt fabulous. How was I doing all of these things less than 20 months ago, and now I struggle to wear a bracelet everyday?!?!
Because I had established a routine. So I’m taking the knowledge from my days as working mom to develop a better routine for myself. When everything is simple, it immediately becomes easier.
The home renovation bug has bit my husband and I, and we’ve been spending a lot of time planning and executing projects lately because of it. As someone who prescribes to the idea of only owning what I need and what will truly improve my life, home projects, both small and large, can sometimes be a conundrum. I have to constantly ask myself if these changes are worth the time, money, and effort. Will I enjoy these changes for the foreseeable future or will I be yearning for something new next season?
Another question I find myself asking is “am I worthy of what I already have?” If I look around my home, feel overwhelmed by the clutter, and think “I can’t wait until we’ve changed the cabinet color in the kitchen”, then it’s not the cabinet color that needs to change; it’s me.
On Monday, I revisited the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year when I resolved to spend smarter. The year 2016 was focused on finances as it was the main goal for our family to purchase a home. We succeeded in that goal this May, and I have been so grateful every day since then to have a place of our own. While spending smarter will always to be important, we have set the habits that make smart financial choices easier to do in our everyday life. So in this upcoming year, I will be turning my focus to intentionality in other areas of importance. To promote a more intentional life, I will do the following:
As another Christmas season comes to an end, we have something just as exciting to look forward to…the start of 2017! Being the ever-optimist I am, I would like to make the argument that 2016 wasn’t just the great big dumpster fire we all claim it has been. For myself, it has been a year of growth and change. I have spent the whole of 2016 being extremely intentional, never settling, and always striving for improvement. My family and I finally have a home to call our own, a place we can put down roots, and really enjoy our own time together. Granted I’ve also had to say goodbye to more loved ones than ever before and my immediate family has had a couple of health scares. But, overall a lot has been accomplished, and I wouldn’t want to erase this year for anything. Instead, I would like to revisit some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year to see how they panned out.
In the two years that I have been a mother I have not just learned how to be a parent, I have also learned which tools are really necessary as well as the luxuries that are worth adding into your home. One of the first overwhelming experiences you can have as a parent is deciding what to add to the baby registry. You haven’t even held this tiny person yet and you are supposed to know every single thing you need to buy in preparation. That’s a lot of foresight to ask from a person.
As I sit here writing this post, my home is currently clean. Like actually clean. Like everything is orderly and put away. There might be a pile a boxes on the counter waiting to be dropped off at USPS, but, overall, things are looking pretty damn clean. And why is this worth mentioning? Because today just felt so much easier than it usually does. My day was pretty usual. Woke up before 5am for barre, had a yummy breakfast, showered and dressed, woke up and fed the twins, played in their room while a contractor cleaned our chimney, went to the grocery store, made lunch, played a bit, and put them down for a nap. If this were any other day, the beginning of nap time means me collapsing on the couch with a bag of snack food while simultaneously watching Netflix, reading blogs on my laptop, and checking Instagram on my cell phone. This goes on for an hour or so while I contemplate the chores I’ve been putting off and stress about everything I have to do. It feels nearly impossible to lift myself off the couch and pry my iPhone from my hands just so I can accomplish SOMETHING before nap time ends.
Happy August, folks! I’m kicking off this month with a quick recap of the 30 Days of Less Screens challenge I completed from June 17th-July 18th.
Of all the self-imposed challenges I have completed, this was, by far, the most difficult. To recap, I challenged myself to complete the following during the 30 day period:
- no social media
- limited TV
- limited cell phone
- limited computer
- more blogging