Most days, scrolling through my Facebook feed feels like stumbling through an inferiority minefield. I have to work really hard at being a good person and being happy for my friends that they have such wonderful lives.
The other day, one of my friends shared a picture of himself at the airport, backpack on, passport in hand, a big smile on his face as he was about to board his plane to Greece.
I kept scrolling and saw another friend sharing a #bumpdate, she’s twenty weeks pregnant and the bump is really starting to show now.
As I scrolled down further, I saw another friend’s cute little coffee date from her weekend away down south.
I breathed out a deep sigh as I gazed down at my sweatpants, the slippers on my feet and the cat on my lap. It is in these moments that my life feels too small and simple. So small it is claustrophobic.
Green is one of my colours, but envy still doesn’t look pretty on me.
As a society, we tend to focus on what we lack. We are constantly receiving these messages that we need MORE to be happy. That what have can’t possibly be enough for us. Marketers play at our weakness, they know how much we love the new and novel.
They tell us that if we truly want to be happy, what we need is another sweater, a bigger TV, and a week-long holiday somewhere exotic.
They are in the business of selling, so they sell us a fairy-tale that MORE STUFF will make our lives better.
However, I’m beginning to realise that if I don’t make a change in my attitude, if I can’t learn how to be happier with a life that is small and simple, I will spend my entire life discontent.
I’ll always be chasing after these things that are supposed to make me happy, only to find out I’m not satisfied once I have them.
The new and the novel don’t satisfy us for very long. Pretty soon the excitement wears off and once again we are left aching for more.
Last week I went on a lovely day trip. We went shopping and walking and soaked in the hot pools. It was a full, busy, wonderful day. I came home feeling tired and content.
And yet, a week later I feel the same itchy, desperate desire to get out and do something interesting. Our outing last week didn’t cure me of my need for adventure and excitement.
Because the truth is, no matter how many countries we travel to, there will always be another we are dying to see. No matter how many books we read, there will always be a new one we just have to read. No matter how many pairs of shoes we own, there will always be THE pair that we believe will finally complete our wardrobe.
There are times when contentment is a necessity and for me, this is one of those times.
Right now I am studying and we are living off one income so we can’t afford much new. No new shoes, no new books, no trips to exotic destinations or flashy electronics.
What I have has to be enough.
But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I am taking this as an opportunity to be content with what I HAVE instead of giving into that endless craving for MORE.
We have a roof over our heads. We have groceries in the fridge and pantry. I have an entire wardrobe stuffed full of clothes and shoes for every imaginable occasion. And I live close to a library with hundreds of books that I am still yet to read.
I have enough. I have plenty. I do not need more.
This is the mantra I am repeating to myself as I avert my eyes walking past sales racks and unsubscribe from shop mailing lists. And when I start to feel that claustrophobic fear that my life is too small, I am reminding myself that I have enough time as well.
There are plenty of years ahead for me to get to live out my dreams. I don’t need to pressure myself to cram it all into this year. I don’t need to accomplish all of my goals right now. There is enough time.
Maybe this won’t be the year… that I travel around Europe, but perhaps I’ll get to explore my hometown and finally conquer some of those more advanced mountain biking trails.
Maybe this won’t be the year… I live in my dream home, but perhaps I’ll get to live in my very own flat for the first time.
Maybe this won’t be the year… I make an 80k salary, but perhaps I’ll finally get to do a job I really enjoy.
Minimalism is teaching me that what I have is enough.
I don’t need more space, I need less stuff.
Less stuff that I picked up at an op shop because it was super cheap and kinda cute. Less stuff that I was given and feel too guilty to give away. Less stuff that I bought trying to be someone that I’m not.
Less stuff distracting me from the beauty and joy that is hidden in the ordinary, dull, normal moments of every day.
I’ll leave you with this quote I found which sums up why I am a fan of the minimalist lifestyle. A simple and small life is enough if it contains more of the things we love and less of the things we don’t.
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” – Joshua Becker