The pile gets smaller, and my smile grows wider. The bookshelf has more space, and every book sitting on it suddenly has a brighter spine, enticing me to read. The desk drawers get lighter and the necklace rack naked. Candles burn and don’t come back, lipsticks leave one by one. Just like that, a chip gets brushed off my shoulder, and I suddenly have a bigger space to breathe, to be.
Every day feels like one step forward and twelve backward. But in terms of net progress, I can actually sense the difference in my mood and energy, in my ability to clean my room within two minutes. My teacher makes fun of me for “taking away the one joy in life,” and my parents make fun of me for rediscovering old Indian traditions, water tumblers for toilet paper, and parachute coconut oil for everything else.
Can you blame them? To come here with nothing, get all the things, and then have some teenager say, “No, material objects aren’t even that important!” I would hit myself over the head with a frying pan. Hopefully a thrifted one.
Keep in mind that there is nothing necessary about buying refillable toothpaste. Nothing about buying white cotton sheets and renewable denim will save us, will it? Use what you have until it’s done, then make better choices. Make sustainable purchases once you have gotten all the use out of the things you’ve purchased, and let go of the things you let collect dust. It’s simple, but these fundamental ideas are so hard to effectively implement. It takes practice and time, and I have zero credibility on either of those.
Real minimalism, not concrete walls and beige parachute pants, gave me a second chance to reconnect with the things I have. It gave me a choice to let go of people, memories, and days I didn’t need to hold on to. It gave me a better try with my relationship with money and the way I experience time versus objects. Things don’t cost money, they cost time, and every book, movie, and piece of music regarding the subject has only ever come to one conclusion. We do not have enough of it. So why waste it?