It’s not about lack.
It’s not about being or doing less.
Essentialism is about having intention behind key actions.
We moved to Niagara Falls May of 2019 and with that came big changes. Toronto was our home. We felt comfortable with its busyness and expensive lifestyle. We accepted that that’s just how life is. But we took a step back and asked ourselves, “does it have to be our life?”
The lifestyle in Toronto is expensive. Daycare, transportation, rent, food. Not only is it money expensive, but it was also time expensive. And for parents, time is everything. The idea of moving to Niagara Falls was bubbling in the back of both our heads. So many questions making us dance back and forth to the idea of moving.
A year later, we became essentialist.
Here is what helped us get there!
I’ve noticed as our family grows our belongings shrink and I’m loving it. I have an anxious energy and it doesn’t help if my surrounding environment is busy and clutters.
This is pretty straight forward. Be honest with yourself and let go of any items just laying around for the “just in case” scenarios. If you haven’t touched it the past 6 months, chances are you don’t need it. Also, it’s a good reminder that items are replaceable.
Essential items only!
I can’t speak for Marco but I knew moving away from family, our sort-of comfortable life, and also not living on our own. Taking care of ourselves is top priority.
No bubble baths, no face masks, nothing social media pushed activities.
Self-care meant long walks, mainly to reflect or listen to podcasts. Laughing and joking around with Marco and the kids. Indulging in YouTube videos of what I find interesting, even if I watch them mindlessly. Saying no to more online workshops or tutorials on how to be productive. Saying yes to therapy, journaling and crying.
These were small but impactful things that made me feel grounded and – me.
Wants Vs. Needs
Back when it was just Marco and I, we had flexibility and no responsibility, so yes, we will use all our bonus towards an iMac or a weekend getaway in New York.
It’s not the same now.
And I’m happy about that.
Imagine if everything stayed the same. Where would we be financially?
During our time away from the city, we established what our needs and wants are. We know that a chunk of our income goes towards Marco’s work expenses and the kids. The rest goes to savings.
This was probably the most difficult change for me. I’m not a big spender but lets be honest, we live in a consumer’s world so it’s still hard.
An exercise that I’ve learned to do before even thinking of purchasing anything is breathing. Very anticlimactic, I know. But honestly it saved me so much unnecessary purchases and saved us a lot of money. This breathing exercise puts me in the present moment and really asks me “do you really need it?” or, “do you have something similar lying around that you can use right now?”. These questions places me in front of the truth and that’s basically me wanting to spend money to get some taste of instant gratification. I just want to feel good. Right now. Like, right now, right now.
In hindsight, there was essentialism in our choices and daily practices whether we knew it or not. It has prepared us for now and I’m thankful for the change, even when certain days tested harder than others – still, I’m thankful.
All in all,
Let this trying time push you to see less as more.
With you always,