This time in May last year, I began to have a desire within me to eliminate excess. Six months ago, I chronicled this experience. I have six more months of experience now, and would like to take a second look.
At the end of spring semester 2013, I began getting rid of clothing, knick knacks, other things that I had little attachment with. It was easy, it was freeing, it was even fun. My dorm room was like a bomb: it exploded, and suddenly my clothes and possessions flew all over campus, into friend's closets, rooms, and cars. At this point, I was packing up to go home anyway, and it simply felt like an opportunity to trim the edges. Yet by the end of that week at university, I had a new goal: get home and clean my room.
I destroyed my room. I'm going to let pictures speak:
The mental progression related to this process is interesting. Like a teenage boy who hasn't yet grown into his lanky limbs, I had not yet mentally grown into my minimalism. I started exercising my muscle. I moved things; I donated probably 10 banana boxes of clothing, knick knacks, and toys. I threw out just as much (my one regret through this process; not finding ways to reuse/recycle. I was simply so focused on elimination at this point that I saw no other way), and gave away more to friends. My room was clean by Summer 2013. But it wasn't yet clear, focused, or thoughtfully arranged. Like the awkward teenage boy, I had grown- but I had to catch up my new physical advance. I had created a new room, but it was still awkward to me.
By Fall 2013, after a summer in Europe, I left for university with most of my possessions:
|Fall 2013; the remainder of my possessions.|
Physically, I had found a loophole against the self-defeating consumerism I was born into.
Mentally, I began to find joy in the simple, pure things- a good meal with friends or the beauty of the ocean at dawn. My mind was opened to the idea that the only thing keeping me from being happy was myself.
Spiritually, my conviction to live a simple life of caring for others came into focus. I gained a better understanding of the "big picture"- how my minimalism effected the large choices I had made in my life over the past year- and helped me to gain a new thankfulness for the blessings in my life.
|My dorm room packed up.|
|Everything I took to the non-profit (minus bedding and 5 articles of clothing)|
A year ago I decided to try something new. I challenged myself to become a critical thinker. Minimalism started out as a simply a physical aspect of that for me, but this year has proven that minimalism means so much more than that.
As I get older, I may have more possessions. I may have less. It isn't a number contest. I have trouble believing that I will ever blindly consume ever again; that I will take lightly my role in preserving our planet; that happiness can be found through things. But I will certainly continue to change.
I am proud to be maturing in this lifestyle. I feel as if some of my big lessons have been learned. I believe that as other life decisions come along, my minimalistic tendencies will allow me to think critically and be wise.
My life has been transformed. If you have spent much time around me in the past year, I hope you can see how I am noticeably different.
A fantastic year. Here's to many more.