I have to face the truth: I enjoy getting new things. I get a rush when I walk out of the store with my purchases. I wait with eager anticipation for FedEx or UPS or whoever is bringing me a package that day. I love showing people what I got. I love to use my newly purchased item(s). I just love everything about getting something new.
I think of this because I just got new jewelry for my business. I stalked the UPS website to see where my package was. When it arrived, I had to open every box, tag each piece, and put it away. Then I had to model each piece (I was obligated, right?). And I loved every minute of it.
So how can I be a minimalist when I love getting new things? What will take the place of the rush that I get from new purchases? Or worse, how do I replace the rush of getting free stuff (as the jewelry was)?
A friend suggested that I satisfy my craving for new things at the thrift store. It’s cheaper and it’s greener than shopping in the malls. She also suggests that I have a strict rotation policy. For every thing I bring in from the thrift store, I have to take one item to the thrift store.
I think this may be a short term solution. Thrift shopping is a better way to get my rush. But why do I seek the rush? The rush is only temporary. Sooner or later I’ll need another one. Perhaps that’s why I have so many shopping setbacks.
I think the problem lies in the rush, and the fact that I seek and enjoy the rush. What if I sought peace instead? What if instead of the excitement and eager anticipation of new things, I learned to enjoy the tranquility of having enough? What if, instead of the thrill of new stuff, I was refreshed by some time of solitude and reflection?
See, I think the problem is that I get refreshment, happiness, and gratification in the wrong places. I should be seeking peace and tranquility. I should derive pleasure and refreshment from calm and serenity.
How do I make this switch? I am not sure. Part of the problem is that I don’t have much experience with peace and tranquility. I don’t know how to meditate, or even how to slow down and enjoy the rhythms of my life.
My first step will be to slow down, and to look for little pockets of tranquility in my day. Maybe it will be as simple as enjoying a cup of tea. Or a short walk outside. Or even just sitting still for five minutes. Or writing.
I will also learn to meditate. I don’t necessarily mean the chanting kind where you leave your body. But just the act of being still and quieting my mind. Past attempts at meditation usually resulted in snoring. It will take some work and some research, but I am committed to learning to meditate (in some form).
The third thing that I will focus on is learning to enjoy the life that I have. I sometimes fall prey to advertising, which makes me dissatisfied with what I already have. It makes me want more and more and more. Really, my life is good. I have enough. I will nurture contentment. The best way that I can think of to do this is to practice gratitude. Maybe at the end of each day, I can think of reasons to give thanks. This will remind me that I have a great life already, and that I do not need more stuff to make it better.
Maybe if I shift my focus from getting a rush to experiencing peace, I can be a better minimalist.