According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of aspire is to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal. The great thing about aspiring to do or be something, is that every day, your actions can move you closer to your goal. There are some things with very defined parameters so you know when you not aspiring anymore, but actually being the thing you aspired to be. For instance, after you stop eating meat, you aren’t an aspiring vegetarian anymore, you are an actual vegetarian. When you see your first patient, you are not aspiring to be a doctor, you are a doctor.
Minimalism is different. It is not clearly defined when applied to lifestyle. Art and music perhaps, but lifestyle, no. My choices reflect the person I want to be, but my mindset needs some work. I have been accumulating stuff and thinking a certain way for 40 years, so I don’t expect to be transformed immediately. While I have done a pretty good job getting rid of stuff, not buying stuff, paying off debt and lots of other things in the less is more arena, I may need to work on the following areas:
Confessions of an Aspiring Minimalist
- I haven’t canceled my subscription to Sephora’s weekly newsletters. I haven’t stepped foot in our brand new local Sephora or made any purchases from Sephora.com. I typically don’t even open the newsletter, but if the subject line sparks my curiosity, I will have a look. I have talked about my cosmetic obsession before and it’s almost laughable, because I don’t wear much make-up. Even though it’s been almost four months since I made my commitment not to buy new make-up for three months, the only thing I’ve purchased is mascara.
- When the holiday Nordstrom Catalog arrived in the mail, my heart jumped. Almost one month into minimalist fashion Project 333, I know I won’t be buying anything new in fashion, but I still like to see what’s out there.
- I look forward to movie night. I don’t watch mindless TV anymore, channel surf or waste hours a day in front of the tube, but my husband and I do order movies from Netflix and I really love movie night.
- I like the smell of a new car. My car is in for repair and I have a loaner vehicle that is much newer than my vehicle. Every time I get in the driver’s seat, I think, “I could get used to this”. I know I will never buy a new car and actually look forward to living a car-free life someday, but while I have to drive, I enjoy being really comfortable. That being said, I am really comfortable in my own car. I guess if you never ride in first class, you don’t know what you’re missing in coach, but once you get a taste…
- I would love to get my hair colored (by a professional) I stopped having my hair colored almost a year ago and do it myself. I save about $400 a year. I also wouldn’t mind a 90 minute facial followed by a nice massage, but those are things that I have put on my luxury list, instead of my “I deserve it” list.
- The new iphone? Yes please. I have an iphone and love it. The newer model is sleek and shiny. It has a few more tricks, like the video phone feature, but mine works just fine. My iphone has some bumps and bruises, (because I hate using a cover to protect it) but it is enough for me.
- Room service is my idea of decadent indulgence. In staying at a cheaper b&b on a recent trip to San Francisco, I had a slight yearning for the Ritz Carlton and room service. Note: I have never stayed in a Ritz Carlton, but I have stayed at nice hotels with great service. In exchange for upscale luxury, I got to enjoy homemade croissants with people from all over the world, and learned I would make that trade again.
With all of my shortcomings, there has been some dramatic improvement. For instance, it just occurred to me that my daughter and I didn’t spend an afternoon pouring over the September Issue of Vogue this year. When I went to Target for something the other day, I realized that I used to stop in every weekend, and now it is only when I really need something. Our family usually takes a vacation out of the country each year, and this year, we’ve hardly left the state. We don’t spend afternoons on the couch watching TV ever since I canceled the cable and we don’t dread going to the mailbox, now that we have cleared our debt.
So why do I share the fact that I am tempted by luxury and consumerism? Because maybe you are too in one way or another. Every day we are all faced with choices. Every choice we make either leads us towards the life we want or away from it. By recognizing that, we can start to make real strides. It might be small choices like choosing an apple over a bag of chips if you want to lose weight, or a bigger choice, like not buying a new iphone, because you want to build a comfortable emergency fund. Either way, when you clearly see that each choice makes a difference, the right choice becomes easier to make.
Because minimalism doesn’t look the same for everyone, despite the misconceptions out there, perhaps I am not an aspiring minimalist, but an evolving minimalist. Maybe I don’t need a name for it. Maybe I am content just living with less. I really like the idea that I may never reach my goal, but I get to live my goal every day, choice by choice.
What choices have you made that help you to live with less?
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