A Half Year of Less

​Last week I finished listening to the audio version of the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. She so eloquently sums up many thoughts and experiences I’ve had while stumbling through the world of minimalism. Whether or not minimalism has any relevance to your life, I can’t recommend the book enough. She also covers topics that are widely relevant to humans in general and honestly calls herself out without tearing herself down. That’s a tricky balance and I think she does a great job.

That brings me to my own experiment with concepts derived from The Year of Less. We’re about to head into July which means the year is halfway over. I genuinely can’t believe the strange turns this year has brought us all, and can’t even begin to imagine where it will lead us for the second half. One thing that hasn’t changed in my life is my desire to live it more intentionally. 

I recently looked back through old journal entries and realized I’ve been praying for the same change of heart for years now. I want to put my people first and foremost, pay my full attention to what’s in front of me, and surround myself with only the things that add value. I love my people well (though there’s always room for improvement), but mindfulness and minimalism have not been anywhere close to “mastered”. I could tell you my priorities all day long, but I was speaking about them rather than living them.

I’ve been on a minimalism journey since around 2016 (or have I always been on this journey, technically?). I became obsessed with The Minimalists podcast, books, YouTube channel, every work of their’s I could consume. I went through decluttering and organizing sprees but quickly found myself back to my old habit of shopping to fill my time and the large hole in my heart.

It turns out old habits do in fact die hard.

Shopping has held a special place for me since I was very small. That was always THE thing to do on the weekends, after school, honestly anytime I possibly could. Herein lies a major discrepancy between how each of my parents operate in the world. My dad would buy a new $8 pair of jeans from Walmart and call it good for a decade whereas my mom could easily buy 8 pairs of jeans in a weekend. I’ll let you guess whose side I emulated. I didn’t understand as a child what I was doing, and I never took the time to question it. I continued these shopping habits into my post college years, though it ebbed and flowed. It’s only been recently that I started investigating into why I leaned into shopping so hard and truly came to grips with the place it was holding for me.

The truth is I no longer need shopping to distract me from what hurts. I know how to sit with it now. And though I’m not perfect at it, I at the very least understand that I HAVE to sit with it. 

I did the hard work of burrowing out from under the sad bomb shelter I spent years creating, and I’m ready to embrace the next chapter.

I want to invest this time so that my future journal entries don’t read exactly like those of years past, wishing I behaved differently rather than actually behaving differently. The difference now is I’ve got two gentlemen on the scene who’ve already taught me so much. Rob is a natural at minimalism and inspires the hell out of me just by getting to witness how he operates in the world. Babies are  minimalist by nature, and Gavin has shown me how little things matter and how much our time together does.

Tomorrow’s post will outline what my “Half Year of Less” will entail in detail. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Love,
Ashley

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