For those of you that are on your minimalist journeys, there are many sources of inspiration on the web. I am currently inspired by some YouTube channels and I especially wanted to mention Rachel Aust, Melissa Alexandria, and today I discovered Adam the minimalist. Adam had a very interesting phrase on one of his videos today: unbecoming who you’re not.
This resonated very deeply with me: I looked back at who I had been growing up, and who I had been at university. I remember quite clearly a couple of things:
I preferred existing in tidy spaces
That isn’t to say that I always had a tidy room, but most of the time I kept everything in its right place. My university room was spotless and it was kept very tidy. As a child my room (or side of the room) was always very tidy.
I didn’t buy things I didn’t love
I disliked clutter, so my room didn’t have anything I didn’t need. I didn’t buy any decorations, and any I had were given to me and by friends.
I wore and rewore the same clothes
My mum would comment that I wore and washed the same clothes, so she knew what I liked and what I didn’t.
I should add that I also had habits back then that I look back now and I’m glad I have changed:
I would buy cool gadgets because I thought they would make me happy.
I distinctly remember two purchases, each of them 50 euros, that make me cringe now. One was a set of headphones. They were really nice, and they were different too. The loop that connected the two sides was designed to go round the back of the neck. They didn’t last very long, and the material that covered the speakers didn’t last very long.
The worst though was a infrared USB connection. I had bought a Sony Ericsson T-610 mobile phone with most of my first pay check from working a summer at a hardware store, and it had a “high definition” camera (640×480!). I really wanted to get the photos from the phone, so I forked out the money to get this cable. The photos were terrible and I immediately regretted the decision. The weird thing about that was I only got rid of it very recently, nearly ten years after buying it. I think I held onto it as a reminder to be more frugal, but that didn’t work out so well. But I was also punishing myself in a way, reminding myself of my failures.
I spent far, far too much time pacifying myself with video games
Enough said about this. I would just add that I think it was awareness that made the difference to me. I became aware of the things I wanted to achieve in life, and the personal growth I want to see, and I saw that video games were not going to get me there.
Just in a few memories, I can see where my true nature came through and where some of it was pushed away through unhappiness. The unnecessary purchases and the video games were ways of making me happy, for a short period. I have slowly replaced these with more creative endeavours, for a longer term happiness: contentment.