Summits and Valleys

I stand atop a summit as a writer, and in a valley as a minimalist – and I couldn’t be more excited. At last, I have something interesting to write about.

For the last few days (though it’s actually been 3 years), I’ve been rigorously practicing the principles of an amazing tool that I discovered via the almighty internet – minimalism. Minimalism is different for everyone that does it. Simply put, it is a way to reduce the clutter in your life and to keep the things that mean the most to you. What I love about minimalism is that it goes beyond the things you own – it applies to your health, relationships, and your passions. It’s a lifestyle and ultimately it is about living with intention. A long time ago, I believe that I lived unconsciously. I watched my own life head down a road that I did not stir it toward as if it were hijacked. Not anymore.

For myself, minimalism has thus far been a wild journey of sacrifices, heavy decisions, and moments of absolute freedom – and I have only just begun! There are so many things in our culture that I find superfluous, laborious, and parasitic, draining of our energies and wasting of our time. For me, minimalism is a beautiful practice that allows me to take back my time and to finally use my energy for something that is meaningful. I truly believe that The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, and the Fab 5 of Queer Eye, save America in what they teach. At the very least, they are all saving my life. (Though I would probably never have begun this amazing journey had it not been for Katy, a very special friend to me.) You must be wondering what the valley is by now.

For the past few days, I’ve been minimizing my closet. I had accumulated clothes from well before my days of high school. I had high school t-shirts that weren’t cool anymore, shorts that didn’t fit, shirts that are colorful and soft but that I hadn’t worn, hadn’t even looked at, in an entire year. There were clothes just taking up space in my closet. I decided to ferociously apply minimalist and Queer Eye principles and sell a lot of the clothes for a whopping $58.60 at Plato’s Closet. (Picky bastards) The rest? I donated in the back of a sketchy thrift store. Now all the clothes I own are my favorite clothes. I wear all of them, and thanks to principles of the Fab 5 they all make me feel amazing about myself when I wear them.

Today I’ve hit the valley. After I graduate from college this May, I am moving to France for 2 years. I would love to be able to pack my entire life in a single bag and be the ultimate minimalist, freeing myself from having a bunch of stored items that I don’t use everyday. So I spent today “test packing” my entire closet in to a single suitcase to see if I could do it. This practice would also tell me if I could sell the other two suitcases I have for more savings (A nice $600 minimum bump in available funds). The problem is all the sweaters I have look great and they make me feel great, but they can’t all come with me. The minimalist in me says:

They take up too much space. They’re more fashionable than functional so I should only bring one really functional pullover that will keep me warm when I need it. I can’t be the ultimate minimalist if I’ve been cramming a bunch of pullovers in my bag just for style.

And the huge Queer Eye fan in me:

They make me look great! I should keep them because they’re warm and I feel good in them. They serve their purpose. If I think too much about functionality I’ll end up looking boring and I could become bored with the way I look.

I’ve come to love these forks in the road. I’m forced to grow from them and I love the way it makes me think about my own life. I will likely end up giving away a couple sweaters and keeping the one I think is the best.

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