Do you ever feel like sometimes you would feel more fulfilled with less? I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things“ and it opened my eyes to how a large percentage of our society feels the need to buy things, giving them a temporary sense of fulfillment, when in reality, they are trying to fill some sort of void in their lives.
We live in a day and age where people’s lives are constantly documented through social media, giving a certain perception to others. Most of these perceptions are not real – no one is going to document the struggles, because who wants to see those, right? So we post about anything from job promotions, engagements, weddings and babies to dinner dates with friends and good deeds we did that day (did you know you can do a good deed without posting on Facebook about it? Crazy, right?!)
While watching the documentary, one part struck me and has been stuck in my head ever since. A man who used to work on Wall Street had decided to try out Minimalism after he was offered a huge promotion. He already had his own office, and was probably making a pretty decent salary already, and the promotion offer opened his eyes. After he received the offer, he said he wept inside his office, realizing he was now even more trapped than before.
[Thought] – Can so much security make you feel stuck? Like you can never leave or that security will go away?
This Wall Street man had finally received what he had been waiting for all this time. Or so he thought. Not everyone is built for corporate, structured, 9-5 life. And that’s okay. But society has a way of making us feel like we’re doing something wrong if we don’t follow what everyone else is doing, in the exact same order they’re doing it. This part of the documentary was small, but it spoke to me so much. There is so much more throughout the film that will open your eyes.
I’m beginning to think this is all just an illusion we create in our minds, because we think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Did you ever think you could maybe be happier with less? Less clothes, less designer handbags and shoes, less clutter, even less income. Money may make things a bit easier, but it won’t all of a sudden turn you into a happy person. We have hopes and dreams, and us humans love the chase.
But, what happens when we reach our goal? Have we instantly gained complete and utter happiness? Probably not. Our dreams sometimes come along with baggage. Baggage that leads to an overwhelming stress and a realization that maybe this is not really something we wanted the burden of carrying. But, because we’re told it is what we should aspire for, we chase, chase, chase… until we arrive at our destination only to come to become aware that it wasn’t for us in the first place.
After watching this documentary, it does not mean I’m all of a sudden going to sell all my things and get by with just a few items. But, it does make you realize that you can declutter other parts of your life that are far too overwhelming. Use it a a metaphor, declutter your mind and get rid of all that makes you unhappy. You do not need to follow what everyone else is doing and you do not need to purchase the most recent styles and trends to maintain or gain happiness. Letting go can be liberating.
You do not need to be engaged just because you and your partner have been dating for years, you do not need to have an extravagant wedding to please others and keep their mouth’s shut. You do not need to make a certain amount of money just so you can sit across from an acquaintance one day and brag about your job title. You do not need to have a piece of paper to show you can start a family and you do not need to take the opinion of others and turn it into your own.
There isn’t enough time for this, we grow older each second, and one day we will regret making our lives about everyone else. And as I type this, I’m telling myself along with you. I need to listen to these words as well, each and every day.
Check out the ‘Minimalism’ trailer below and watch the full documentary on Netflix.
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While doing your best to stay on track physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. – it is important that we remind ourselves it is okay to have our bad days. Bad days are needed, and are necessary for one’s growth, to teach us that speed bumps will pop up, but they will not stop us. Deal with the speed bump that has been placed in your path, recognize it, acknowledge that it is there, and get over it. There is no need to keep going over it. It was there, it messed with your speed a bit, slowing you down for a brief amount of time, but now you are over it. You can now get back up to speed again.
My imagination runs so wild
that my heart will forever
have trouble finding its way back
to this thing we call reality.
I am 26 years old. I remember being little thinking those my age really had their shit together. “I’m going to have a nice car to drive around in and a beautiful house with a white picket fence for my gorgeous family to live in.” – just some of the thoughts I had when I was younger. I also thought I’d be married by now, maybe even have a kid.
Man, what little I knew back then.
Now, I realize how much work is needed to achieve those things. You can’t just get married for the hell of it, which a lot seem to do now-a-days. Hey, you’ll get a ton of likes on Facebook and Instagram though, right? The sacred bond of marriage seems to have slowly dwindled away the past few years. Some couples jump right into it just to change their Facebook relationship status to “engaged.” And don’t even get me started on the cost of a wedding! Sheesh! If only I put money aside with those cut outs of wedding dresses when I was younger…
And the kid thing, everyone around me is having children. And don’t get me wrong, I am at that age now where this is supposed to happen. And it’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to have my own little bundle of joy one day. But… just like marriage, it’s the cool thing to do. So many kids having kids and people expecting you to have them by a certain age!
Me? I want to be 150% okay with myself before bringing a child into this world. Why? Because they deserve me at my very best. And my twenties have been… well, a learning experience. I’ve changed and grown into someone who I’m in awe of at times. And others times I’m angry with myself, but it’s all a part of the growing process.
I am 26 years old and things did not pan out quite the way I thought they would. And that is okay. It’s okay! Things don’t always go as planned and that only means there is something else in store for you that you were not able to “plan” for.
Keep going and moving forward… no matter how slow you may think you’re moving, you’re still going forward, and forward is the right direction.
“The kind of life that makes one feel empty and shallow and superficial, that makes one dread to read and dread to think, can’t be good for one, can it?” asked literary legend Willa Cather when pondering the trade aspiring creatives must so often make between pursuing their creative passions and working to pay the … Continue reading One letter from Charles Bukowski will make you want to quit your job and become a writer
My pain has shaped me
so divinely, a way my
happiness never could.
I speak to my wounds
as though they’re the devil
on my shoulders…
“No, you aren’t getting into
my head today.”
Or “Fine! I’ll let you have it,
but tomorrow you’re gone.”
These times of confusion
are my keepsake,
my reminder one day
that things won’t always
go as planned.
My reminder one day that
if I’ve dealt with these cards before,
I’m sure to be handed them again,
only getting better and better
at playing them.
Working from home isn’t for everyone, just like working in an office all day isn’t for everyone either. Don’t get me wrong, some days I wished I was getting up, showering, getting ready and heading out of the house to my job that I probably didn’t like. But then, later on in the day, I would realize just how lucky I am. I’m able to work whatever hours I like, while still being able to enjoy the little things that somehow get ignored while working the 40-hour work week. The hustle and bustle seems to distract us from the things that matter most.
I’ve worked since I was 16, different jobs here and there, and then one steady job for almost seven years… with other jobs in between, since of course, that seven year job didn’t pay enough. There were two different times in my life where I worked three jobs at once, yes, one was “from home” but it still took up my time after working the other two jobs. I also went to school for five of those years, two different colleges, and no degree to show for it. I can’t really blame anyone else though, I missed the deadline for my financial aid and I had no money to go back. Some days I wish I could sit in a classroom again and take in all the knowledge that I seemed to ignore back then, worrying more about going out with friends, drinking and boys. I never realized that I was actually paying for my own schooling, that one day I would have to pay back all that I had “borrowed” from the banks. But like I said, just some days. Other days I’m okay with not having my degree, because I still feel like I’m being active enough to build myself a career without having one. Maybe I would just owe even more money if I were able to go back. And there are a ton of people out there who have degrees, and no job to show for it. So I wonder sometimes, which is worse?
So now I sit here, on a Monday afternoon, at my kitchen table, writing this. While others are at work, counting down the hours to 5:00 PM. This is alright with a lot of people, and this is the way “things are supposed to be.” You’re supposed to go to college, get a job and work 5 days a week to make ends meet. Move out, buy or lease your first car (on your own) and spend most of your paycheck paying for these things, among other “important” necessities. I always ponder about this… who decided this is what we humans were supposed to do with our lives? Who started this life of ridged routine? They are probably dead now. So, why do we still need to follow these “rules of life?”
We live in a world where it is okay to give your all to your boss, your company, your family, your friends, your significant other… slowly forgetting to give to ourselves. We fill our days up with the things we are “supposed to do” while all it is doing is emptying us, hollowing us from the inside out. I am writing this to make others understand that it is okay to do what is not expected, to go off on a limb, and try something. Life is oh so short, and we will forever think we have the time to do everything we want. “One day” we always say. But to be honest, we all don’t have “one day.”
There are times I don’t feel like telling others that I work from home. Feeling as though they’ll look at me funny and judge me for probably not making enough money and being a lazy bum. This also could just be my anxiety thinking for me. But, I believe that people use harshness to conceal their envy, wishing they could remove themselves from the routine life. Just because I am not driving to work each day and sharing an office with others, does not mean I am not working. Working does not have to mean you are making money off of something, either. I work towards other things, other things that are no one else’s business but my own. My days are still fulfilled and productive, but with other things. They are filled with writing, relaxing, my dog, nature, understanding, wonder and of course, working and cleaning! I work on myself every day, because I have to. My anxious mind continuously tries to work against me and I have to fight it all day, every day. I couldn’t starve my anxiety while working in an office every day, kissing the asses of others while I was only getting worse myself. I knew that if I continued, for the money because we “need it,” that I would completely lose myself.
I turn 26 tomorrow and I have been working fully from home since July. So, a little over 2 months now. Yes, I have gotten bored and wanted to work somewhere again, but knowing myself, I knew that my indecisive mind should finally for once, not jump into something so soon. I have my entire life to make money, or do I? That’s that “one day” stuff again. But I rather miss out on the money now, and have an actual life, than miss out on my life but have a ton of money to bury myself with.
So, what have I learned?
I’ve learned to slow down time a little, since I’m always in a rush. I’ve learned that some days it is okay to do nothing… there is absolute beauty in doing nothing. They explain this in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” where Julia Roberts is speaking to an Italian man in Italy who stresses to her that America is filled with people who are all about money, that they never just take the time to do nothing and enjoy it.
Although I may not be where I thought I would be as I turned 26, I am trying my very best to understand that I am exactly where I need to be. I may not have a ton of savings in the bank yet and I may not have my career set up yet, but I am content knowing that I finally had the chance to write a children’s book, something I always wanted to do. Maybe I would have never had the time if I devoted myself to some empty job.
I’ve also learned that although it is extremely harder, there are natural ways to deal and cope with the things you are handed. If our minds are a bit different than others, we are quickly given something to assure they start working like everyone else’s. This is what is wrong with the world, always looking for the quick and easy way to fix something. Teach people to stop and live a little, and then maybe their anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. will slowly fade away or maybe they will have the actual strength to keep it at bay. Teach them to make more time for themselves and to ignore the opinion of others, because surely, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. The world wants people to turn into zombies who make them money, even though it could kill you. Step outside, smell the flowers, look up at the blue sky and take it all in. No matter what you decide to do, be sure it is what’s best for you – not what others tell you is best.