Sunday, March 1, 2020

Downsizing my life

"I'm a minimalist."
That's something I never would've said about myself. There was a brief period of rebellion when I wanted minimalists to hush up and quit evangelizing me.
I watched several long preachy videos just now—minimalist content creators have not applied minimalism to their videos. But everything they've cut out/stopped buying I long ago gave up or never got into. I think the dividing line was when I was fired in 2009 and learned quickly how inessential most things and pampering services are apart from food and a roof over your head. Vanity, all is vanity.
Yet I still live in a house full of stuff. It's stuff I bought decades ago, when I wasn't a minimalist. It's time to align my surroundings with my mindset. Two rules I made for myself:
1) I'm gonna have to stop beating myself up for having acquired all this stuff to begin with.
2) I'm gonna have to let it all go without worrying about getting cash for it or finding good homes for it.
Breathe. Let that sh*t go.
At the start of the year a few people wrote what their "word" is for 2020. How silly, I thought. Life delights in messing up your plans.
And then I realized I have a word. It's OPEN. Those two zeroes are wide open. This is my year of emptying out. Except now I can do so without resentment.
Being open also leaves space for better things to enter my life. The trick is to trust that there are indeed better things on the way. Somehow, as trusting as I am, I struggle with this. My default imagining of my life is still painted as a non-minimalist landscape.
But the two biggest changes are already in progress.
1) I don't want to upcycle anymore. It feels almost blasphemous to the upcycling cause to say this out loud. For the last two years I haven't been amassing trunkloads of thrift store clothes and chotchkies in hopes of creating eco-friendly lovely things to sell on etsy. I've stopped caring. Nobody is buying from my shop anyway. My shop turned 10 years old but the last thing I sold was at the Art to Wear show two years ago. It is no longer my responsibility to rescue stuff.
2) I won't define myself as a dance or yoga teacher anymore. Which, in terms of stuff, means I won't be buying more leggings or class props. I mean, egad, the third bedroom that I had emptied out of upcycling stuff eventually filled up with yoga props! And now this stuff must also be decluttered. It never ends!
There is a third area of life downsizing I'm looking at, and I'm not sure which direction to go. I could flat out decide I'm not ever returning to dancesport training, which would free me to earmark my savings for all the things I had to sacrifice when I could afford only private lessons and nothing else.
First let me observe a moment of Yay me: I have substantial savings now instead of debt. Yup. Yay me! I said I'd get out of debt in 2019 and I did. I've been collecting a small pension from my state worker years for four years, which corresponds to the number of years I took private dance lessons. Ergo, my pension and then some went straight to my former dance teacher every month. NOT ANYMORE! It's all mine now. I cannot think of a more deserving person (and in hindsight, the least deserving of it). I still have all the technique I managed to learn in four years, plus what I continue to hone in group class every Saturday.
For now I'll consider dancesport training a low priority, but I won't bump it out of my life completely. I do like the idea of heading into my 60s and 70s still fit and fierce. I see pictures of my former fellow dance teachers from the studio I quit in 2014...let's just say I've taken better care of myself, and it shows, and cutting out their kapha-imbalanced snide energies was one of the best decluttering decisions ever.
I'm a minimalist, and proud of it.