The first question to every writer about any subject is if they really do what they subscribe to in their writings. So am I a minimalist? In the strictest meaning of the word, I don’t think I am, yet. So if you feel like not reading this blog post because you feel like I am not an expert on such, please skip to the next one (Which is a description of a professional organizer, I think this one I can prove to you that I am… hahaha! But I still hope you read this one until the end).
Even though I am not a minimalist yet, I want to let you know that I would love to be one. I am in the process of being one. Minimalism to me is not just a way of living, it is not only how you clean up space around you, or limiting your belongings to 100, or 33 for each season, or any number you can think of. Minimalism to me is a state of mind. A state of mind which helps you focus on what is more important in every aspect of your life and aligning everything that you have to your priorities. Just like any other belief where what you do is already inherent to how you think, a state of mind gives you that sense of freedom to act without any second thoughts. Already putting some rationale on why you are acting the way you are. As an example, a state of mind related to eating. Simply put, eating is something most of us do day in and day out. We understand the food we like, we know which places to go to for what we deem as good food. We have this instant decision-making ability of what to pick from the grocery to fill our pantries and fridge. Or we would remember that one moment when our mom served us a simple dish. We felt loved by it and believed that no other thing in the world is better than that comfortable feeling of delicious familiarity. Eating to us is freedom. It’s one thing we can do without any biases and without anyone saying why we shouldn’t love or hate a particular food. Food is to our own liking, it is who we are. That’s why I think there are a lot of food blogs out there because food describes the life of many unique experiences of different people in their different lifetime. Food is such a colorful and universally accepted feeling of unique individual preferences. Minimalism is much like all these. It’s about an understanding that we define ourselves. However one defines it, it should not force you to understand exactly the same concept. I want to share this blog post with you to help you with getting to understand how and why you would start a minimalist living. Let us follow this journey together as we decide for ourselves if this state of mind is for us. To make this more interesting, I want to share a story of a lady who searches for meaning in her life. Her name is Moira…
Minimalism and Moira
A short story of making mistakes and getting over it
One Rainy Afternoon
One rainy Saturday afternoon, Moira is stuck in her 2-bedroom flat in the center of the metro’s business district. The downpour of rain has prevented her from getting out to get a cup of nice hot coffee. Moira does own a car but her driver couldn’t come in to drive for her because the flood in the far end of the City prevents him to be present on his Saturday shift. So Moira called her best friend Billie to come over and watch Netflix with her. Billie has been her friend since college. He lives in the same condominium but on a different tower since last year. Billie was so excited to move in for the only reason that he will save on food expense by just rummaging through Moira’s fridge every day. Moira doesn’t mind though, they have been so close that she doesn’t even mind Billie seeing her in pajamas, but for some reason, Billie never saw Moira without makeup on, even when they would go out running, or playing Ultimate (frisbee) together. “Hey Bill, come over… there’s this new show on Netflix I’ve been dying to watch since early this week. Please take a shower if you haven’t, I don’t like smelling the party you went to last night… why can’t you even shower before sleeping? huh? That’s not too hard right? Unless you are dead drunk again?”, Billie clueless of the rain outside responded to Moira “Moimoi, it’s very early in the morning and the last thing I want to do is watch a silly show before having a hot meal in this very cold morning. Get back to sleep and enjoy your weekend! Bye!” Moira exclaimed “It is 3 in the afternoon silly! take a shower and just eat here, I’ll have Yaya cook you something. I don’t think you understand that the reason why it’s extra cold today is that there is a typhoon, your tiny windowless flat doesn’t help” Billie surprisingly looked outside his window and laughed hard “Hahaha, oh my Moimoi. I thought it’s just 9am. Which reminds me, I got home at 5am earlier, so it’s impossible for me to have woken up with just a phone call with only 4 hours of sleep! And I do have windows, you snob! It’s just facing another building! Have Yaya bring the food here, please… I’m famished and…” Moira cut Billie and said “Bill, come over now, I need to do something different. Been up since 6am and I have been swiping down to refresh all the insta posts and stories, and I have finished all facebook and twitter and all places to visit online! I’ve been trying to stop myself from getting more from Amazon because my second box is full already! I don’t want to start another box… Bill, shower now, and come over!” Billie paused and seemed to cover the phone talking to someone with a muffled voice. Moira wondered why and asked Billie if he is in trouble. Billie shamefully replied “Hehehe, Moimoi, I think I need to stay, I have someone here in the flat and I think this is serious now. I think you know her from college, we’ve been seeing each other for a while now and it was only last night she slept over. Before you think of anything weird, nothing happened!!! But, it was a good night… I did shower before going to sleep, and this time, I slept like a baby. It felt wonderful Moimoi. It’s like being cuddled to sleep. And I realized that waking up with someone hugging you is a great way to start a day… especially if it’s as cold as today! ” Moira paused, surprised, and quickly said “Ok, congrats, Yaya will be there in 15mins, I will ask her to make for two” Billie a bit puzzled with the cold response knowing that he practically poured his feeling of excitement to his best friend and said “Make it for three! I’m really hungry!” Moira agreed and ended the call. Moira suddenly burst into tears. She couldn’t understand why, but she was crying and sobbing heavily. Trying to catch her breath as she buried herself in her cozy bed. She cried for a very long time without knowing why she felt really sad. This is the first time she felt this emotion of this magnitude. Whenever she opens her eyes and tries to talk her self out of it, her tears would just fall down her cheeks like the raindrops on her window. Her Yaya had to knock on her door and asked what’s happening. Apparently, she’s been crying for half an hour already… Moira remembered Billie’s request and said “Yaya, what do we have there to eat, her Yaya puzzled why she would cry over food… “She must be really hungry.” she said to her self. “We have lasagna and your leftover pumpkin soup from last night’s delivery,” Yaya said, “Is it good for two?”, “Yes.” she said. “Ok bring everything we have there to Bill now, he’s waiting. Please go there fast Yaya, thank you.” Yaya Vilma hurriedly prepared the food and went to Billie’s flat. When she went out, a big thunder was heard and lights went out. It was totally dark in Moira’s room, still cold, but she has nothing else to do but feel that melancholy feeling and cried without knowing why. Was it because of Billie not being able to come? Is it because of this Netflix show she has been wanting to watch? Is it because there’s nothing for her to do. She looked out the window and imagined what her day would be like if it’s not like this day. She tried to remember last Saturday and the Saturdays before that. She realized that she has never felt that one thing Billie described – Waking up feeling that its a great day. Imagining how that kind of happiness would make you smile from ear to ear, having no worries and just feeling free. Moira realized why she was sad… simply because she has not felt that happy before. She cried herself to sleep in a dark a gloomy evening.
The Morning After
Moira is an accomplished Marketing professional. She graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious University in the States. Took her MBA in Kellogg School of Management in Illinois. All her life she has been an achiever. The only daughter of a successful agribusinessman in Bacolod. She lives in Manila alone working as a marketing executive for an FMCG company. She has been earning quite a lot for her age and was able to be fully independent since she turned 28 a couple of years ago. Moira is also an avid health enthusiast, playing Ultimate as her main sport, working out 3x a week, waking up as early as 530 am to prepare for her workout, especially on a Sunday. But not this Sunday. Moira woke up 530am, just like any workout day. She dragged herself to the kitchen to fix herself a cup of coffee. Yaya was already heading out for her day off. Moira smiled without saying goodbye. Yaya Vilma went and pointed at the hot fresh coffee already prepared for her together with her usual blackberry and chia shake for her energy boost. She smiled again and felt relieved that she doesn’t have to make it on her own. While pouring the coffee out of the machine she was reminded that it’s a day for her and God. Not for work, not for friends or family, not for anything else but for her and God. As she slowly sips her coffee looking out the window, still raining but not as hard as yesterday, she decided to try making it for the 630am mass in the church she would always go to since she got back from the states. She took a quick shower, wore a nice blue Sunday dress, with floral designs, just the right print so that it would still complement the rainy weather without being too gloomy for her to feel more sad. She booked a car on her phone and headed to the lobby. The lobby receptionist smiled at her and greeted her good morning. She smiled but never found the energy to talk back. Within a few minutes, a big black car stopped in front of the lobby and she checked if this is indeed her car. She looked at the guard behind her and seem to mentally ask him for an assurance that this ride will be safe. So the guard smiled and hurriedly took a pen and paper to take note of the plate number of the car. As she was going out of the driveway, she realized she didn’t wear any makeup. She was shocked, looked back and contemplated on stopping the car so that she can go back up and have herself made up. But its too late, the car is already headed towards the church and she thought to herself, no one in her life now would see her on an early Sunday morning, at church! So she decided, for the first time, to go out without makeup on. On the way to the church, she couldn’t stop thinking about how Billy feels waking up this morning.” Did he stay inside his condo the entire time yesterday? He never texted back to say thank you, or never checked on me if in case Yaya mentioned to him that I was crying myself to sleep that afternoon. Did he wake up being cuddled by that mysterious girl who I was supposed to know back in uni days? I never bothered to ask who. I should have. Maybe this is Martine who I always liked but have not made any effort to be close with me because she was always this sassy girl who seems to know all the trendiest outfit, all the time. Or is it Caroline who has always been nice to us Filipinos and has shared a meal with Billie and I. But for some reason, she is too dramatic for me. I hope she’s not the one. Or perhaps it’s Crystalle? I hope it’s not Crystalle… She is a real snob. She always wants to hang out with Caucasians and would always look down on me, maybe because I am not a party girl like her… I hope it’s not Crystalle!” As she goes down the car, she realized she is a bit early for the 630 am mass. She decided to go to the Blessed Sacrament (a prayer room). It’s her first time being here. She wondered why people would stay here for a very long time knowing that it is not very comfortable. She saw a couple of people kneeling, one seem to be sobbing. She doesn’t like drama. Moira would always ask people, point blank what their problem is with disregard to what they are feeling first and immediately try to resolve it like it a business problem that needs to be settled fast. Two month’s back, her friend, who happens to be her subordinate at work too, went to her to confide about her brother spending all their savings and not having the money to support her siblings to finish college. She was crying profusely, then Moira, out of the goodness of her heart wrote a check for her and just asked her to pay her back when able. She knows there’s a high likelihood she will never get it back but still gave it to her. Her friend looked at her in disbelief, trying to process what just happened. Not sure if she will take it and say thank you or say no and tell Moira that all she needed is just a friend to tell her that everything will be ok. Her friend took the money, and would have talked more but she seemingly got dissuaded by the uninterested look of Moira. She submitted her resignation three weeks after. Moira did care, it’s just that she doesn’t like drama and the complication that it has after. Moira sat down the pew and wondered what she will pray about. She always attends mass and has retained much of her Christian upbringing. She has never been very religious though. Her mom would always call her every Monday morning and would ask her first if she attended mass the previous day. She thought of nothing, remained silent until another tear came rolling down her cheek. She realized she has never cried this much since her father passed away 8 years ago. She spent the next minutes in reflection until she smiled and remembered the last time she was with her father. They were back home then. Her father never seemed to like the idea of flying and has not left the country in his entire life. He would go to the different places, even Manila, using different sports cars, crossing islands with a barge carrying his car. An avid car collector, Moira’s dad, Papa Toni, would always take Moira on a road trip, visiting their properties, talking to people, eating with them on banana leaves, laughing together on a sunny windy day in the farm under a big cozy tree. Papa Toni was loved by everyone, strict and serious about business, but has always shared his success with his people. Thousands of people work for him, both in the fields and in his offices. And Papa Toni seems to know everyone’s name. Moira would remember this feeling of simple fulfilling life that her father has. She saw the glistening eyes of Papa Toni everytime he touches and checks his produce in sugarcane plantation, rice fields, or an assortment of vegetables in long stretches of land. She remembers her dad saying “Baby, do you see these crops that we have? This is the reason why I was born. I grew up seeing all these and it gives me happiness that I can never explain and I have never tried to. But the reason that I live is something even more special – it is you and your mom. The first time I held you in my arms was the first time I never needed an explanation of the happiness I felt. I love you more than all of these, how I wish I was not too afraid to fly to see what you see and experience what you have experienced abroad with you, but hearing your stories about the exciting experiences you have is enough for me to go around the world with you. I would always share this with all our people, this excitement is what they can imagine every time I share your stories with them. You give us life during our meals, you give me life every day.” Moira felt relieved. She realized she missed mass already but stayed. She started talking to God. “Lord God, I have never asked why you let my papa succumbed to his cancer. I have never asked if I was enough to my papa. I have never asked because I may not like the answer. Today Lord God, I am sad. I am very lonely and I have no one to ask but You oh Lord. Why? Why did you let him pass away? Why didn’t you give him the strength to overcome his sickness? Am I good enough for him and his goodness? Someone who has always been a good person and father to me. Who has always been the most hardworking and successful person I know. Am I good enough for my mom? for my friends? Am I good enough for my own standards? Lord, for the first time in my life I am not sure about what I will do next. Answer me, Lord I need an answer now please” Without any more tears in her eyes, she just let out a great sense of confusion. Then, she finds herself alone in the prayer room. She has been there for two hours now, missing the mass, not caring about a thing in her life. Her answer finally was there right in front of her. She was alone. She has been alone the whole time in her life. Focusing on so many things and not knowing how alone she was. Not because Papa Toni is gone, or her friends are not there, or she has not had a real relationship since college. She felt alone because she felt like she wanted to please everyone around her. She wanted to please herself and follow the next accomplishment in her roadmap. In this process, she forgot about what was important for her so that she can wake up every day with the happiness she is longing for. As she stood up from that long reflection she decided to walk home. She remembered her long walks with her dad together with her and her mom. Her dad would always say “Baby, this is the life I enjoy. Regardless of having money or not, as long as we are together, we are happy. Happiness is what you make it to be. To me, you and your mom are my happiness, nothing more, nothing less. To see your smile is like seeing the sun peeking early in the morning, waking up in the middle of the field, wanting to start a new day even more. Because of that ray of light and cold breeze on my face, I know today will be the day I will be a better person. That is your smile baby. You make me a better person. I love you!” As Moira walks out of the church and remembers this story, she asked herself “Is this the same feeling Billie felt when he woke up yesterday? Is this, love???” It’s such a eureka moment for Moira, that she immediately called Billie. “Moimoi, don’t tell me it’s 3pm already because I am looking at my watch now and it’s not even 9am yet. Please, go back to the gym and call me again if you want to have lunch with me.” Moira excitingly asked Billie “Bill, did you wake up with whoever girl you are with yesterday this morning? Did you feel that same feeling you felt yesterday? Describe it again to me, C’mon!” Billie, surprised “Um, huh? Why is that important? But um, no, she had to go back to her place to spend today with her folks. But yeah, I think I would have felt the same feeling if you didn’t call and wake me up on a Sunday morning! C’mon Moimoi dear, I love you, but can you please give me my Sunday morning back, please?” Moira asked again “Can you describe to me that feeling, again, in your own words, sorry I was a bummer yesterday and didn’t ask you more about it. But humor me, please.” “Ok, ok” Billie replied. “As I woke up yesterday, I felt like there’s this energy, a feeling of waking up without moving. A feeling that whatever state I am in then, is good, it’s enough.” Moira excitedly interjects “Enough, nothing more and nothing less???” Billie said, “Yes, yes! I felt like by seeing this person beside me is enough, any other thing I get to do is like ice cream on the cake, I am already filled with life and anything more is great because I’m sure it will make me feel much better. Nothing seems to make me feel bad because of this.” Moira laughed and replied “Oh thank you, Bill! You help me make my day today… Thank you! Thank you! Oh and it’s not ice cream on the cake, it’s icing on the cake you dumb fool!!! I think you are hungry again! Get out of bed and eat!” Billie was so confused about what they were talking about but didn’t have the time to ask what’s wrong with his best friend. Moira ended the phone call and excitedly start walking towards where her flat is. Billie ordered food and went back to sleep.
Moira was a block away from her condominium building and the unthinkable happened, she saw Crystalle! Moira couldn’t remove her eyes on her, so Crystalle smiled and started talking to her. “Hi! We were together in our uni days right? Its been a long time, how are you? It’s Moira, right? Moira was surprised that Crystalle knows her name. She thought to her self “This snob used to just looked at me before like I was a book mongering nerd who lives in the library, allergic to talking to anyone. How on earth would she remember my name?” Moira responded “Yes, and you are Crystalle” Moira was interrupted “Oh, wait, you know my name?!! Back then I would always admire how pretty and smart you are. You actually inspired me in doing better in school, I was so ashamed of going up to you and ask for help because honestly I really got intimidated by you. There were very few Pinoys and I was actually looking forward to the day I get to talk to you. It never happened. But I’m so happy now, you remember my name!” By this time, Moira was dumbfounded. No clue of what just happened. Here’s this great looking lady who has been the envy of everyone in college, by Filipinos, Asians, and everyone for her beautiful face and physique. A lady who I followed online to check what she was wearing that day and what she was doing. Moira thought to herself again, “Is this girl kidding me? Is there a big joke afterward and she would tell me that Billie is her boy now and she hates my guts?” Crystalle continued “I remember back then, you would attend talks and share your thoughts about your project in improving the lives of Filipino farmers through uplifting the value chain. Connecting buyers and sellers in a fair marketplace. Focusing more on the farmers rather than middlemen who take advantage of the prices of farmers and resells it to the market with outrageous prices, by colluding with the big distributors and other middlemen. Your analysis and your ability to explain this in a simple way impressed me a lot. I followed your talks then, but have never had the courage of approaching you because I’m afraid you might not want a stupid girl asking stupid questions to you. You were always with this guy back then, um… Billie, Billie Marquez!” Moira just smiled and had more questions in her mind than answers. Is it really true? Does Crystalle really like me? Did she attend my speeches and followed my studies about agriculture? It can’t be? But why? Am I stereotyping super pretty ladies for not having that analytical ability to appreciate relevant topics in life? And why doesn’t she seem to know Billie a lot? If she is dating Billie, then why did she paused and had to think of his name? I’m really confused.” Moira then asked Crystalle… “Crystalle, thank you for your appreciation of my work then. How are you now, how have you been?” “I’ve been running this non-for-profit organization for more than 5 years now. It started with my trips to Latin America and noticed how similar the countries are to the Philippines. Our advocacies are building infrastructure at places that are very strategic to uplifting the lives of the people around them. Regardless of where the location is, as long as the project is very viable to the community. We then extend a helping hand in making sure there is enough funding for the project and provide consultancy to the project management team to make sure the projects get finished in a timely manner and addressing its initial objectives.” Crystalle explained with an angelic aura, full of joy and excitement. “Wow! that’s very impressive” Moira exclaimed. “Believe me, Moira, it’s not as impressive as your career. I’ve been reading about your success in online news. Having been the first Filipino to lead Asia for your company is not a small feat. Getting assigned in the UK and making a profitable market out of a slump is already a global Pinoy accomplishment. I am so happy for you… I’m actually guilty of telling people I know you back in college and tell them how wonderful you are. Feeling close! Hahaha!” Moira asked “Have you had lunch? Do you want to chat more over a meal?” Crystalle agreed and they headed down a restaurant near Moira’s flat for a bowl of salad. Moira learned how Crystalle has been living in the country for 3 years now. She was headed to the market to buy her food for the week. She lives with her daughter while her partner flies around the world as an investment banker raising funds for their foundation. Crystalle has been living in this one-bedroom apartment in the far end of the city close to her office, close to where her driver lives. She walks all day bringing her daughter to school and meeting people throughout the day, flying occasionally and meeting public officials and businessmen in the different cities in the country. As Crystalle tells her about the different stories of her life, she can’t help but think about her own stories. “Do I have the same happiness in me? Do the stories in my life have this much meaning? What then is considered meaningful to people? After their lunch, Crystalle said goodbye to Moira and gave her number with the hopes of spending more time with her. Moira was happy knowing she now has a friend in Crystalle, but still thinking about how she maintained that happiness.
Moira went back to her flat and for the first time, she saw how small it is. Her flat is a 220 sqm apartment, so it’s not in any way small. But that time, she felt a lot of baggage around her. She noticed that all her family photos were behind the different art pieces from her art collection of Orlina to Michael Cacnio’s. She held Papa Toni’s photo in her arms and started to cry again. But this time, not of sadness but relief. She looked at the mirror and saw herself without makeup. The reflection hit her. She realized that for years she has been living for other people’s contentment and not hers. The home that she has now is for her friends who would tell her how lovely her home is. For Billie who would eat her food all the time. For the people who she doesn’t really know to tell her how successful she is. Her clothes were there to make other people feel that she is someone they look up to. For the articles about strong women in Asia under 30. And all the things in her life which remind her of different pleasures, her travels, her accomplishment at work, or her ultra-expensive things which are all stored in the other bedroom where no one else sleeps. With all these, Moira smiled and realized that one thing her Papa Toni said – “Nothing more, nothing less” What would make her happy? With excitement, she talked to her self like a crazy person “FAMILY and FARMERS” she shouted. “I’ve always been my daddy’s little girl. The reason why I don’t drive is that I have always wanted my dad to drive me around, not caring what the time is or how we get there, but the excitement of just exploring the different roads and places we go to. It has never been the destination, but the things that we see along the road. It was never the accomplishments of the day, but the morning after. Full of hope, full of positivity. Knowing that I can make today a better day, not because of yesterday’s work and accomplishment, or tomorrow’s bountiful harvest, but of today’s passion. The freedom to follow this passion without the extra baggage that life has to offer. The requirement for the other people’s affirmation. The constant search for wealth that never seems to end. Where I buy things to satisfy people in our circle. I then yearn for more expensive things and work hard to get them and realized that I have moved up my social circle and wanted to buy even more expensive things in life. All of these drowned what is really important to me.” So Moira spent the rest of her Sunday in looking at the things that she has. More than thinking of what the use or purpose of these things are, she tried to recall what the stories behind the things are and wrote those in her journal. She felt bound to the stories, but for the first time, not to the things. She realized that as long as her things have a purpose aligned with her priorities, she is compelled to keeping the memories but probably, just probably, not the things anymore. She remembered this expensive jacket that she bought from the States together with Billie on that weekend in LA. It was a great weekend where she just pigged out with Billie jumped from one food truck to another. She looked at this sculpture by Cacnio of what seems to be a farmer holding balloons giving to this young little girl holding a bag. It was given to her by her Papa Toni reminding her of the kindness of the farmers in their fields. She found this nice pair of white shoes given to her by her mom when they were in Paris. Her dad is at home then when she showed the shoes she was wearing via a video call. Her dad was so proud of her being in a place he hasn’t been in, then asked her mom how much those pairs are. To his surprise, it was more than a single farmer’s monthly living. He was a bit upset but tried not show this to her, only to her mom. There’s also this lovely necklace that she has been keeping, given to her by her dad. Her name is engraved in the front, in the back it says “TOGETHER”. All the while she thought it was about this crazy story her Papa Toni told her when she got that necklace. “Baby, wear this necklace while you are in the States, it says “TO GET HER” in the back, this means that in order for other boys to get you, they have to go through me. Tell them I am a big guy who knows how to handle a scythe. I can rip them to pieces just like the Grim Reaper can!” She never wore it, probably because it was very simple, but always kept it in a box beside her bed to remind her that she is protected by her father. It now means to her more about her dad’s appreciation of what he has as long as they are all together, nothing more nothing less… rather than this grim reaper story. She was smiling all the time enjoying and relieving all the stories she can remember. Moira never finished writing about the meaning and story of all the stuff she had that day. By the time she was ready for bed, Yaya Vilma got back and has fixed her bed. Moira talked to her and told her about her day. Yaya Vilma was in tears while listening to Moira’s story. She has been with Moira since she was visiting Bacolod during college. She somehow saw Moira as she was a young baby girl of her Papa Toni until she became a successful adult. Moira then told Yaya Vilma. “Yaya, I realized that I have so much, and papa has always reminded me to appreciate what I have, each and every little thing. I thought he was just afraid to fly, but to him, seeing other places is not important. To him hearing me giving these stories of new places is what kept him feel alive. I also realized that I have been afraid of not being accepted by the people, people who I don’t even know. I have been insecure of Crystalle for things which are baseless. I actually am the one who envies her now, but for the right reasons, and not because of superficial reasons such as her white caucasian boyfriend or her fancy clothes, I envy her because of her simple joys in life. She told me stories like bringing her daughter to school or talking to a fisherman for a port they want to build, but she delivered this with so much excitement and passion… I guess… I think… much like me when I was doing my speeches about farming and improving the life of farmers… Yaya! oh my, Yaya… I think I am ready for a change of career! For a change of life! Yaya, are you ready to move to a smaller flat? or perhaps move to Bacolod with mom?!!” Yaya Vilma seems to like everything that Moira said, but she was happy more because Moira has started to find the courage to go after her passion, her joy. Much different from a Moira crying herself to sleep last night… She is now excited to wake up tomorrow and feel true happiness, the hope that everything will be ok. Free from worries and insecurities… the feeling of contentment from things which are important to her… nothing more, nothing less…
730 am Moira’s phone rang. It was Moira’s mom. Moira answered, smiling and excited to talk to her. Her mom asked, “Hi baby! Good morning! It’s a great day today, isn’t it? Did you have time preparing for your big meeting this week? I hope you did. How was your weekend dear?… but before that, did you attend Church, ija?…”
I hope you like this short story about Moira. This is about her process of realizing the things which are important to her. It’s not about getting the affection of Billie, nor the sadness she felt of losing her Papa Toni. It’s not about her life of success and wealth. It’s about finding happiness. All the aspects of her reflections lead to minimalism. I hope you now have an appreciation of what minimalism is by getting a glimpse of another person’s struggles and realization in life. These are issues that any other person can have. And you will notice there is no mention of minimalism in the story. It’s change and the understanding to start one. The change of focus on the more important aspect of your life.
I found this good description of minimalism when I visited this website called theminimalists.com, it says –
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
I tried to add on to this by saying that more than a way of life, minimalism is a state of mind. Much like what you have learned from the story of Moira, where there’s really much reflection that she needed to do to realize that focusing on her passion and family are things that are more important in her life. We have established the background of this importance through her experiences in growing up, being in school, or in her relationships with friends. That’s why minimalism is not something that can’t just start by reading a blog or by watching videos about minimalism. It’s a tool which you can adopt as you think through the many intricacies of living, the things that you buy, the clutter in your house, the clutter in your life. Go through it one by one, and focus on adding rather than removing. Adding space so that you can fill it with things that are more important. You don’t have to throw away things that you think makes you feel happy. I am talking about real happiness and not something superficial like the tingling feeling of buying your tenth Givenchy shoes. The act of buying at the end of the day is just another activity. The feeling of being with your father or mother in exploring the streets of Italy is another thing. That’s why, unknowing to Moira, listing the experiences that these things remind her of is actually the right starting point in going to the path of minimalism. By doing so, you will discover how to declutter and find solace with fewer things. No need for expensive things in life, no need for a premium ride, no need for an expensive coffee every day, no need for delivery of too much food you cannot eat, no need for a huge house full of things which are not important. Opening yourself to alternatives which makes you feel more rather than less is something you should yearn for.
Some people would describe minimalism as an Unforced Simplicity. Some would think that this is for the rich only. Where people who are financially free have this option. Rather than being compelled to be simple because of the lack of resources. That’s the reason why I subscribe to the idea that this is a state of mind. Someone who may not have enough money to buy something may still be trapped in that cycle of needing to buy or get, even if they cannot afford it, rather than appreciate what they have. Appreciating the many different things however small or big they may be is the key to minimalism. That’s where we will be able to derive our happiness. If it takes away, then it might be too much.
Taking away time with friends because you decided minimalism should force you to not spend too much on a dinner might be a wrong thing. Minimalism should not take away from you. Rather, it should retain the things that make you happy, and remove the distractions that keeps you from one. Because the point of having dinner with friends is really about FRIENDS, and not the DINNER. Minimalism should not limit you, rather make you do more.
Minimalism is no just a fad, a cool thing you can boast about, but rather it is something already innate. If people ask, then share why it is good for you. You don’t have to feel like being in an exclusive club which only worsens your ability to understand the freedom that minimalism should have given you. If this happens, then the feeling of happiness is still outside of you rather than coming from inside you. Caring more about what other people would say rather than how you really feel.
Love who you are. Love the thought of what you really want to become. Focus on what is important to you now. That is minimalism to me.
Minimalism is different for everyone. There’s no one list of rules which you can follow. Only guidance. I hope I was able to give you some today. So, should we do this together? Come and share your thoughts about minimalism and let’s exchange how we can better understand this state of mind and apply it in our daily living… send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discover this together.
Stay Neat everyone!