“When you recognize that this life is yours — it is your one and only life — everything changes ~ AJ Leon”
Over the holidays, I watched the documentary Minimalism. An awesome film that shares the stories of people who are living with less. But more than the notion that our lives would be so much simpler if we just got rid of stuff, the message of the film is about creating a life of meaning. To fill your life with the things, the people, and the experiences that add value.
That really struck a chord with me. And it also made me think about the boots.
The boots, which now sit slumped over and lonely in my closet, are a shining example of an purchase gone bad.
Did I need those boots? Hell no.
Are they the best boots ever? Not really.
Have I worn those boots? Umm… only one time (and they’re so uncomfortable.)
Do I love these boots? Not even a little.
The honest truth is that I just wanted the boots. That’s it. There is no mystery here. We all like having new things. And when I saw those cute boots hanging out on the display, I just wanted them to be mine. In that moment. And, of course, the “high” I got from owning those stylish new suede boots vanished faster than the charge showed up on my Amex card.
Those boots add no value to my life. Quite the opposite happened, actually. Not long after tucking those boots into my closet, a very heavy guilt set in. Regret, with a capital “R.” I thought of the boots, often. How they were just there, not being used. Not coupled with the cute dress (that I don’t even own) that completed the fabricated image that flashed through my mind when I saw the boots. The image that said “OMG, you have to have those boots.”
I felt, quite honestly, ashamed to have bought those boots on such a whim. I had this sense that I had completely let myself down.
When I watched the film, I was reminded once again of those blasted boots. The message of only having things in your life that matter. Things that you love. That make you happy. To clear the clutter and provide space for just those things that give you the greatest joy. Yes.
Being a minimalist, or living more simply, doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself. Quite the opposite, really. To me, the message is that living a simpler life just means that you are being more conscious of what you are doing with your money – and your time. And whatever that is, it will look different for everyone.
If I look back to 2016 — reflect on the memories that stand out above the rest — the boots, and other impulse buys like them, don’t even flicker in my brain. But these memories do:
- Spending time with my granddaughters
- Volunteering to help feed the firefighters on Thanksgiving Day
- Watching sunsets with my husband at the cabin
- Hiking in the mountains with my boys
- Laughing so hard with friends that tears ran down my cheeks
Family. Friends. Love. Gratitude. Connections and experiences that matter. That’s the good stuff. And if there is a pair of boots that just bring you such joy — that’s good too!
I don’t know where those sad boots will end up, but I do know this: In 2017 I will live with intention. I am taking a step back, taking a breath and embracing simplicity. Being more deliberate and present in my life. It’s far too easy to shuffle through the days, not taking time to reflect on what you really truly want your life to look like. We have a blank canvas ahead of us and I, for one, and ready to create a masterpiece.
Hello 2017. I am very excited to get to know you!
Happy New Year to all! Wishing you a year filled with happy days.