As my family nears our anniversary of minimalism, I’ve been reflecting on how much has changed. Some days I walk through our home with pride over the space we’ve gained as we’ve gotten rid of unused stuff and decluttered.
One recent evening after the sun set and disappeared in the horizon beyond, I took my two young daughters to walk the dog in the cooling air; everything hung in the deep blue shadow of dusk.
At the end of the driveway I turned to look back toward the house and noticed how the light inside showcased our living spaces against the darkening sky. This perspective of our home, from the outside and lit up as if on display, was one I rarely see; I’m usually inside consumed in the dinner/bath/bed routine.
I saw the cluttered refrigerator door, covered in magnets and papers and old pictures. The dining table covered in a mess of toys, empty dinner plates and sippy cups. I saw the frames on the walls, crooked and crowded.
It was not the view I expected after almost a year of pursuing minimalism.
But before I let self judgment settle into guilt, I took a moment to remember that life is a series of moments and those moments aren’t always neat and clutter free. I started reflecting on the last ten months of minimalism and all the ways it isn’t only about order and clean lines.
I thought of the boxes unpacked and rifled through. The fifteen years worth of journals that were laid to rest in the recycling bin. I contemplated how thinning my wardrobe to the pieces that I love and wear has given me the confidence I used to seek by shopping.
It crossed my mind how reflecting positively on my journey in that moment, one that before would cause shame and discouragement, was a pebble of grace I’d picked up along the way.
It’s shown me that I am not what I own and I am enough even when my house is a mess. So, as I walked (read: untangled) the kids and the dog (and my emotions) I reflected on my life as a series of imperfect yet beautiful moments.
Here are 32 self reflections after one year of minimalism:
- I value spacious places.
- New things aren’t as satisfying.
- I clean more when there’s less clutter.
- I’m aware of my own needs.
- The present isn’t made up of stuff. It’s made up of long days and short years with the people I love. I’m learning to make it count.
- I have margin to give more. (of myself, time, money, etc)
- Certain clutter was binding; removing it gave me freedom.
- I still struggle with old habits, but they no longer define me.
- I have more time.
- I’m more confident.
- I enjoy the small moments that make up my life.
- I can focus on health and good nutrition.
- I recognize behavior patterns I didn’t before.
- My physical needs are few.
- My kids physical needs are few.
- I’m present for my kids’ REAL needs.
- Validating needs versus wants takes practice but is a game changer.
- I pursue more purposeful ideas and dreams.
- I’m at peace with this stage of life; driven by self-love.
- I worry less.
- I compare less.
- I buy less.
- Being intentional now is hard, but it’s a lot easier than repairing the emotional damage later.
- I work more (on things that matter).
- I’m brave.
- I’m intuitive.
- I’m authentic.
- I’m decisive.
- I’m learning to be content.
- Adventure calls louder than stuff.
- Self care is essential.
- This is not a rehearsal; this is my one life.
Perspective is a gift of minimalism.
It exchanges the over-valued for the invaluable. It unravels the web of lies we tell ourselves about our worth and purpose. It takes a messy, cluttered evening and reveals a simple home of happy kids and present parents who are doing their best to raise functional, healthy, kind, and potty trained little humans.
Minimalism isn’t one thing, it’s many things. Sometimes that means I’m still cleaning yesterday’s food off the floor and straightening the paintings on the walls. And that’s okay, because it’s all about perspective.