I want to shout about minimalism as loudly as I can with the same ruthlessness as those anti-abortionists on college campuses. Why?  Because I think it can be an antidote for a broken and over-consumed soul, at least that was true for me. Overconsumption and solving our problems with more stuff is the only way that we have been taught to fix our problems.

It is not your fault that this has happened. So you are not allowed to be hard on yourself about this, sis. Overconsumption is a product of large marketing budgets and years of false images flashed in front of our eyes every waking day of our existence. As a millenial, I feel like I was the product of an experiment of a new-age, smart marketing technique. “Let’s make them insecure so they buy more stuff to solve their problems, it’s genius!!!” It was genius. It did work.

My financial choices reflected this experiment as I acted in a Dr. Jakeyl and Mr. Hyde of sorts. On one hand, I knew I was a smart and well-intended human, on the other hand feeling unable to control deep impulses and not able to even recognize myself after buying frenzies  And yes still feeling a little empty. When my spending started feeling totally out of control, I committed ~12 months of my life to “Opt-out” of consumerism and instead spend that time focusing inward. This was the most pivotal point in my life. It gave me the time, money, and energy to go get some therapy (everyone should), get my shit together, and work on myself. I put a wedge in the cycle of my consumerism and I finally, finally broke it and found myself. 

Minimalism is thought to be an aesthetic, ironically that is yet another marketing tool. Minimalism, in reality, is me being aware of my own needs and being the only person who gets to make the choices on what I need. I am the CEO, CFO, and entire board of my life. I choose my values, how I want my finances to look, who I want to spend time with, and WHAT STUFF I own. See the difference? 

I have learned the meaning of things and their place in my life. Stuff does serve a function. Cups are needed for drinking. Clothes are needed for coverage. Cars are for transportation. I have unlearned the idea that those things are somehow entangled deeply to who I am.

-The right glassware does not define my style and make me artsy. I am creative and do creative things regularly- that is what makes me feel artsy.

-Clothes do not define my confidence in my body. I define my confidence in my body, by loving my body daily.

-My car does not reflect my wealth. Wealth does not reflect my worth. I was born with worth.

When people hear the word minimalism, images of minimalist kitchens with empty clean counters flash before their eyes.  Minimalism means none of that to me. My counters are not empty, my dishes are dirty in the sink as I am writing this. 

In reality, it means I gave myself time and the tools to take care of myself, grow my confidence, and sharpen my decision making by stepping outside of the consumerism culture. I did not take a step back until I was ready and equipped with a stronger sense of self.

Minimalism for me, has nothing to do with the actual stuff, but everything to do with my relationship to stuff. I am kinder to myself, a stronger decision maker, and a more confident person because I explored a minimalist lifestyle.

Starting minimalism can be super intimidating, I understand. I did it all on my own and it was hard, so I am creating a community to support each other.

If you’re super new: I wrote an article on 5 Simple ways to Try Minimalism. No better way sometimes than to just do the damn thing. And If you love community like I do, I also started a facebook group Aspiring Minimalists – join us! <3

A picture of me at Glacier National Park this week during my 8 weeks off work. I spend most of my money on traveling because that makes me the happiest and wholest version of myself.

Carmen at Saint Mary Lake at Glacier National Park June 2021

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