Simplifying in layers

Based on the number of times I’ve talked about simplifying or decluttering, you must think that I was either a hoarder in the beginning or that I’ve been continually buying new things after each declutter. And, it’s true that, at one point, I used every bit of space I had, kept things like cardboard boxes “just in case,” hesitated to get rid of mystery cables, etc. And, to be honest, the first couple of times I decluttered, I did so as excuses to get new things. So, maybe you wouldn’t be completely wrong to make those assumptions about past me. 

Present day me is just working through the final layers and trying to figure out priorities. For me, each layer I removed (i.e., each time I got rid of stuff) meant loosening the grip that obligation and shame had/have on me and allowing myself to reconsider things that I previously refused to get rid of – that extra water bottle, those expensive craft supplies, etc. I’m starting to get down to what I truly need and want in my life and I’m starting to be reminded of who I am and who I always aspired to be. The whole process has had some great consequences, like my recommitment to sketching regularly, which is something that brings me a great deal of pride and joy (even though some of my daily sketches are rushed and/or very rough).

As I remove the excess, I become more engaged with what’s left and find more clarity about what I want out of life. I know that sounds all woowoo new age-y, but it’s true. Until recently, I’d been ignoring the eco-chick inside. All through high school and university (my undergrad, anyway) I was dedicated to being an environmentalist – not just recycling, but making conscious efforts each day to be eco-friendly and working on conservation.

“But, Anne,” I hear you say, “You’re working a desk job in information management, which has little to do with conservation.”

Yeah, I kind of got derailed there with trying to make other people happy (i.e., seeking other people’s approval for what I did with my life) and trying to navigate myself into what I thought would be a “next best thing” career. Sadly, I also let that derail the rest of me – my inner artist, my inner eco-friendly citizen, etc. But, that’s all starting to come back. This year, I’ve been sketching and playing with art every day. I’ve also been using my motto (slow) as an excuse to explore and recommit myself to eco-friendly living.

And it’s been great! My personal life feels so freaking much better since I started working towards these endeavours. I’m more excited about life, I’m more eager to embrace the day (even Mondays), I’m making time to learn (or re-learn) about the issues, and I’m even trying to find more low-waste options (for example, yesterday, I bought loose roma tomatoes instead of packaged grape tomatoes – the recipe still turned out freaking awesome and the only piece of waste was an elastic that came with the cilantro, which I will re-use!).

So, yeah.

I think I’ll talk more about those sorts of things here because they matter to me and they’re part of my daily life. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give you some ideas about ways that you can be more eco-friendly, too.

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