In the online world there is a lot of talk about minimalism. It seems everyone thinks we should have less to appreciate more and while I agree with it to a certain extent (I know my flat could certainly do with a decluttering) I feel that trying to remove so much from your life can be potentially harmful. Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone is entitled to live their life how they want. But that is just my point. I feel as if I am constantly being told that if I give up this or get rid of that, my life will be better and so I feel guilty for the excess in my life. But excess is not always a bad thing.
One thing you may not know about me is that I have a lot of stuff. And recently I have felt that I should be getting rid of it. But the thing is, I like most of my stuff. I like having different notebooks for different subjects in my life. I like knowing that I only need to look to find a pen in front of me. I like having a large choice of clothes to wear each morning (though I by no means have a huge wardrobe). I like knowing that I don’t have to wash up each day to have utensils and crockery to eat with (I still wash up most days but knowing that I don’t have to certainly takes off the pressure). I like having many books and D.V.D.s on my shelf, as it means that no matter what my mood is, it’s likely that there is something to fit it. I like having way too much craft stuff as it gives me plenty of opportunity to use it when I want. You get the gist – I like having so much stuff.
Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day) and so today is the first day of lent. Many people have decided to give up something they feel is bad for them for the next forty days and I wish them luck. However, I can’t help feeling that denying yourself something you want is not the way to happiness.
Now, I’m not an expert on happiness, but it something that I strive to achieve everyday (not all day every day, but everyday). To me, happiness is not achieved by denying or overindulging. When we deny ourselves we are constantly feeling guilty – we feel guilty for wanting what we believe we shouldn’t have; and if we trip up, we feel guilty for failing in our mission.
I have not participated in lent for many years now as I am no longer Christian. However, this year I have decided to try and fill my life with more instead of less – more time, more love, more appreciation, more noticing and more happiness. I believe that in taking time to notice, appreciate and love everything in my life I will be able to be happier. While this is not just for lent, it is thinking about lent (and minimalism) that led me to this revelation. So I call you all to take a few moments each day to think about what is truly important in your life and remember that less doesn’t always equal more, no matter what other people tell us. (And if you disagree with me, that’s great as it just means you are finding the right lifestyle choices for you.)