June 20, 2018

A Minimalist Journey to Life

Create a life that is written and illustrated by you and only you.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized you don’t recognize the person standing there? Have you watched your reflection move and feel as if it is a different entity than you? That’s where I was just a month ago.

I picture it as a foggy mirror. You can make out a figure, but none of the little pieces and features that make it a person. It is an individual hidden or stifled by societal norms, expectations, and more. When I discovered minimalism, I found a tool that helped me find the figure through the fog. 

The how-to is the easy part. You separate items, create space for donation and trash, and continue moving around until all your stuff is labelled. Then you visit the dumpster and Goodwill. Suddenly, your space is clear and there is a bit of weight lifted off your shoulders. You look in the mirror and see the condensation has gone, but the image is still distorted.

Some would question their actions: “Did I get rid of enough stuff? The right stuff? How much more stuff until I reach my goal?” 

The real question lies not in quantifiable items, but rather this: Why? 

Finding your reflection requires self-reflection. My answer was quite easy: to create. I wanted the space and energy to work toward my values. I wanted to create myself in the life I wanted to live. That person was buried under physical and mental “stuff”. Minimalism was the first step to finding my life.

So, I started making decisions in my surroundings to support the life I was creating. I eliminated more stuff. I decluttered or reduced my social media presence. I cultivated more meaningful relationships with the people around me, and I walked away from the unsustainable ones. I created the time and space to do things I wanted to do. I surrounded myself with things that gave me life, value, and purpose. 

This morning when I looked in the mirror, I saw a face that looked back. There was still fog around the edges, but a clearer picture had been formed. I knew the face, but the expression was new. I moved with the reflection as it moved with me and I finally realized what I was looking at—Life.

Published by Laura Winter in Lifestyle

Photography by Todd Steitle

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