In a Box

Don't let anyone define minimalism for you. It isn't a set of set rules that are this unbreakable thing. It's a personal thing that grows and is defined through your experiences in life, what works and what doesn't work, from day to day your family or you personally may need something different out of your home.

I'm constantly trying to define my own version of things in my own home I couldn't dare begin to decide what is best for you. You don't have to own only what fits in a backpack to be a minimalist. You don't have to only own a handful of books, I have a home library of which I will continue to grow throughout my lifetime because it's something that I'm passionate about. I plan on sharing a lot more about our library and why I choose to grow it and what I choose to put in it and why, but that's for another post another day.

Sometimes I see minimalist homes and I think they must be boring people, then I get a look into their life and realize because they own so little actual possessions they have the ability to be pushed outward. They spend a great deal of their life outside and I think they must be brilliant. No wonder when we lived in Hawaii we owned so much less than when we moved here to Missouri.

Where you live will most definitely help define minimalism for you at that point in time because there are definite needs that you have to consider. For me when I was 16 moving here from Hawaii I was bored out of my mind because I could no longer spend 99% of my life outdoors. I wasn't used to the heat, the bugs, the extreme cold. Or the fact that I now lived a 30 minute drive, at least, away from any substantial amount of community, where in Hawaii I could walk/ride bike to the pool, mall, or pretty much anywhere I wanted within a matter of minutes. And now as a mother of 4 I have to consider my children and their sensitivity to heat or cold, I have 3 kids who don't do well in the heat and don't do well in the really cold, so we're kind of forced to spend a lot of time indoors if we're not in the pool.

If I'm honest this is the exact reason why I want to move from this area. It just doesn't fit a lifestyle that I feel promotes the healthiest living for me and my children. If we lived closer to a beach we would be outdoors 99% of the time, I can say that for certain, and that is my ultimate goal for that reason.

You do what you can. It has to be enough for you to follow your dreams and don't expect others to understand or even support your decisions. Your vision for your life has to be enough for you to go against the flow of what is the "norm" for your community. I still have conversations to this day, just yesterday, and I felt like I had to explain why I sold something. It's annoying, but it isn't going to dissuade me from my mission.

Especially when you have people in your life that are naturally so involved in the details of your life they feel like you owe them an explanation. You don't. I'm still having to learn that when someone asks me a question that I don't feel like it's their business, like how much I sold something for, to tell them It doesn't matter. It's a retraining thing, unfortunately, because I'm generally very open. But I just feel like it's draining because their reply is never helpful. That conversation never ends with That's great! I'm so glad for you! Or pretty much anything positive. If you know someone will not encourage you, stop having that conversation with them expecting something different.

Don't let people define your life for you. Don't feel like you have to look at where you came from and assume that that's the lifestyle you have to continue. You may come from a long line of hoarders or collectors (wink, wink), but you in no way have to continue that. Don't expect them to support you in your change, but you don't have to continue in that direction. You are free to change your values, your lifestyle, your ambitions, even your personality and habits if you feel like something would be healthier for you and your family. But prepare yourself for a fight if you do.

I don't want to over dramatize it, but this has seriously been the hardest part of changing how I think because I couldn't always change who I was around and what they think inevitably affects you in one way or another. It is hard to be somebody else when everyone who knows you is dead set on reminding you who you are or who you were. This vision of how they see you puts you in a box and they decide that that is who you will always be. And that can be so challenging to strip yourself of those things, sometimes they're words that have been spoken over you repeatedly, sometimes they're attitudes of people that you love that just bring you down, sometimes they're physical things that bring negative memories, sometimes they're in your own head. It's a battle. And you won't always win, but I'm here to encourage you to keep moving forward.

Believe in those visions that you have for your life, whether they be a minimalist lifestyle or whatever else that God is driving you towards, believe in it. We only really work hard for things we believe are achievable, so make up your mind. Break out of the box you and everyone else has put you in, maybe just one foot at a time. Step outside of your comfort zone and if you're like me, start selling off your stuff. Sell off your life, or what people think is your life, so you can actually have your life be life and not just this existence of cleaning and upkeep of belongings.

I set myself a hit list of items that were things I was prepared to finally let go of and were now (since I've decided to get rid of them) IN MY WAY and the next day I sold 3 off of the list. I'm going to keep moving forward.

What do you feel is keeping you in a box? How do you plan to step out of it and reclaim the vision for your life? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear different perspectives.

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