Anyone looking at my home, my wardrobe, heck, even my diary at the moment would probably laugh if I called myself a minimalist. It is absolutely true that I have stuff. Lots (and lots) of stuff. In fact, I live a raging battle against the tide of stuff and it has taken four years of decluttering, decanting, selling, donating, gifting and, yes sorry, discarding, stuff to get even here. Maybe I do still have too much stuff (true), or perhaps my tolerance for stuff is decreasing (true) or else maybe my need to surround myself with things to avoid life, conflict etc, is starting to diminish (also true). Look at how complex it is, this whole relationship with stuff.
In those four years, I’ve been reading anything and everything about minimalism, reducing waste, buying ethically, eating more kindly; and it speaks to me and my values. I’ve been buying organic food since I was in my late teens despite the jeering of friends and family who thought it was a fad. Somehow, until relatively recently however, I hadn’t sufficiently put together how one choice can interact with many other choices, whether they are conscious, meaningful choices or not. Each choice was isolated from another, and everything I have read has slowly started to put the pieces in some semblance of an order. So, it’s (often but not always) a values drive way of life that I admire, and one that I continue to aspire to and work towards. Conscious, thoughtful, engaged.
Let’s be honest though; it can also sound a bit preachy and just as competitive as the “more is more” that so many of us are either locked into or eager to get out of. So to be completely clear, this blog isn’t a “how to” guide to simplicity or minimalism. Quite the reverse. It’s actually about holding me accountable. I don’t want to overshare into the internet, and I’m pretty sure no-one else wants that either, but equally I hope that this space will be an opportunity to explore some of the reasons behind my tendency to acquire, and my resistance to letting go. Maybe no-one will ever read it and that’s fine. Perhaps one person stumbles across the blog and it resonates enough that they also think before that next online purchase or trip to the High Street. I don’t know. And that’s ok.
So why the name? Living more consciously is not about living without things. For me anyway, it’s about engaging with the world around me and trying to find ways to make meaningful connections that will lead, I hope, to reducing the impact I make on the environment and, crucially, all the other people with whom I share in it. So it’s not about living with nothing, but it’s also an acknowledgement that our choices, no matter how seemingly innocuous, are also part of a greater whole, and have an impact. It’s about acknowledging that tiny changes do make a difference. They are not nothing. The impact may be small but half a degree here can be big changes over there. And we all know the world is a small place and that “over there” doesn’t really exist – everything is here, right where we are, and everything is now. It’s not nothing.