I guess I found a life-changing tool on Minimalism. I can’t say I will make it to the extreme, but the first steps I’m taking are absolutely revealing. I found that the minimalist kind of thinking is the perfect way for me to solve my identity issues, even some anxiety issues and will help me to focus in the things that give me fulfillment. It’s not just about getting rid of all my stuff [I’m aware that I even own less stuff than the average person]. It’s about recognizing that I am MORE than the stuff I have [like cds or books], or the things I’ve done in the past, including what I’ve donde before in art and music.
I started by turning my bedroom into a minimalist space, leaving there just what I use DAILY [clothes, shampoo, soap, etc] or use frequently [like my cat’s brush]. And using my other room [as I have two little rooms just for myself] to put all the rest of my stuff… clothes I don’t use, cds, dvds, books, vhs cassettes [I have 125], audio cassettes, notebooks, art suplies, musical instruments and all sort of “miscellaneous”. All of this following the idea of the packing party suggested by The Minimalists. I had eight boxes from our last moving so I used them to pack a lot of stuff but I need more boxes to finish with everything.
I think that the easiest part for me to get rid of will be the clothes. Actually I just frequently use 20 items of clothing and 2 pairs of shoes. The rest I have saved were just because sentimental reasons and while I was studying I wanted to keep them as a reference [but I just can take pictures of each piece – just in case].
Results so far: My bedroom feels like a breeze. I like that feeling. I think I could live like that for the rest of my life. It was so much easier to invite my son to come over to watch movies and let him play in my terrace without worring about the mess I used to have. It was easier to clean.
The next step: Finish packing and give myself a few days to realize how much of all the stuff I really don’t use [or need] while I embrace that feeling of being MYSELF without all that stuff giving me identity. Then start the pre-selection [like digitalize documents, etc] of what I’m going to sell, give away, donate or throw away.
I came to the conclusion on what has been most of my life about during the last ten years. I’ve been an aspirant to musician and artist. This is something that definately rang my bell while listening to the SXSW talk about minimalism a few days ago. Yes, during the past years I’ve done many things, but not as much as I would like to, and specially, not as continuously and consistently as I would like to.
Let’s be honest here. My priorities have not precisely been about music and art. I spent more time trying to find true love than actually practicing guitar or playing the keyboard. I spent way too many time suffering about feeling disappointed and lonely than painting or drawing. And then I tried to fill the void I felt inside by adopting many cats and dogs, who I love immensly, but also require a huge part of my time to take care off [starting with keeping the house clean]. To complete the equation… I became a mother. But also, thanks to all that has happened to me I started to value the precious time that my life is made of. So now what?
I’m conscious that maybe I want to do too many different things. Maybe I could accomplish everything, but not all at the same time. I know I have very little patience. I know I’ve abandoned things when they get difficult, so right now I’m focused on re-educating myself, re-directing my actions just and simply by DOING. I decided to start colouring with pencils a few weeks ago. I’m constantly searching and printing drawings for my son and I realized there are also ‘colouring pages for grown ups’. I loved the idea. It’s something that helps me to complete a process without compromising much of my own creativity [yet]. When I finish colouring a page I feel that I have achieved something that looks beautiful to me, I feel proud of my work but don’t have to worry that much if I created something good or worthy. It helps to re-build my confidence. And it’s really relaxing too. It’s something I can do everywhere, at any time. I’m also working in some scketches with watercolours and dry pastels until I can decide which is the technique that suits me better.
There are many websites out there with free designs available to print. I started with some from the Lee Hansen Graphics website. I’m also using a lot the Pixlr-o-matic photo effects lately – one of the best things that could have happen to me actually – because I am not a graphic designer [and don’t use instagram, yet]. I learned a little bit while studying but it certaintly is not my passion and sometimes Photoshop is a very time-consuming tool, specially for my modest needs [priorities please!].