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2019 Reminded Me That Minimalism Is More Than Just Stuff

December 20, 2019
2019 Reminded Me That Minimalism Is About More than Just Stuff

If I could sum up 2019 in a word, it would be confusion. For most of the year, I didn’t really write much about minimalism. As I explained back in October and November, I kind of fell into a funk with minimalism and simple living. I guess what really happened is I became disillusioned with the concept and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to read about minimalism when they could be out in their lives, doing it. I just couldn’t clearly see the purpose anymore.

This year, and if I’m being honest, especially the last four months have really reminded me that being a minimalist means so much more than just living with less physical stuff.

When you read that sentiment elsewhere on the internet, people are normally talking about prioritizing the things you love in life, like spending more time with your loved ones. 

That’s not what I’m talking about, at least not directly. 

This year, I’ve been a terrible minimalist. But, not in the way you might think. I’m still very much living a life with less physical stuff. That part of my life hasn’t changed. I honestly don’t have the stomach to live in a stuff-filled house anymore, so I’m never really worried that I’m going to backslide into that particular aspect of my pre-minimalism life.

Instead of saying ‘yes’ to lots of physical stuff this year, I said ‘yes’ to a lot of commitments. For reasons unknown to logic, I committed myself to a massive, all-consuming project at work, started two online College classes, and decided it would be a good idea to create, produce and co-host an entirely new podcast. Plus, maintain this blog and Tiny Bites (which, lol, we all know how that’s been going). Why did I think all of this was a good idea?

If you’re like a super ambitious multitasker or side hustler, this might seem like a perfectly normal amount of stuff to have on the go at once. It isn’t for me. I like being occupied, so I don’t feel bored, but this much stuff was like being pulled in a million directions at once. I wanted a change of pace in the last half of 2019 as I was starting to feel a little stuck, but it ended up turning into an endurance marathon. And now I’m tired.

I spent so much of my time this year obsessing over the physical and tangible aspects of minimalism that I completely forgot about all the ways to be a minimalist that don’t involve decluttering a single physical object. And that’s a lesson I really could have used as I was deciding to add commitment after commitment to my plate. 

Some of these commitments I can’t change. The big project I’m on at work will continue until May and I can’t change that. And on a personal front, I want re: terrible yoga to be a priority for me because I love it. To save my sanity and give me back some of my time, I’m dropping down to one online College course next semester. I really shouldn’t be in a rush to complete all of my coursework and the toll my two classes took on my free time was immense. 

So, I’m going to take a step back and divest myself a little bit. 2019 has reminded me more than past years that I get lost very easily in doing too much. I add so much to my plate that I can’t tell for certain which things I’m actually enjoying and which things I’m doing because I feel obligated to do them, or because I feel like they are things I should be doing. And that’s not a place I enjoy being. If I can’t tell which things I’m enjoying, I can’t then prioritize the ones I want to focus on moving forward.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the significance of physical minimalism and it’s role in keeping me sane this year. I know that if I was still using consumption as a coping mechanism or was busy trying to make my home look like Pinterest threw up in it, 2019 would have been more overwhelming than it already was. 

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t have a concrete plan for 2020, but at least I’m looking at the roadmap. At the very least, I’m contemplating the various backroads I could take to where I want to go. 

Have a wonderful holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2020!

How was your 2019? Was it great? A bit funky? Somewhere in the middle? Let me know in the comments! 

Image Credit: Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.