Warning: I may still be delirious from the stomach flu I though I was dying of last night, but we watched the documentary "Minimalism" on Netflix and something has clicked.
Jeremy and I love what we do. This year, we will focus on strengthening expanding and strengthening our skills and performance. This winter has been decadent. Last year, we were so broke. Luckily, we had our newlywed love to keep us warm and fed on beans and rice. It was our first year for both of us to be full-time performers, and we got married in early October of 2015, so we weren't booking much from July - November. We had a baby business, and by the time December rolled around, we were really worried about being able to pay our mortgage and bills until our season picked up again in April. Luckily, we received generous gifts at our wedding, and that is how we survived. Once we started getting booked again, we took every single job we could physically get to. That meant that our summer was the busiest ever, with 125 shows in 2 months, and our company took off in almost every way. Jeremy had applied for a contract job in the short lull between summer and fall bookings, and he, of course, was hired. So, he worked his butt off every single day, and we exhausted ourselves, but we weren't broke this winter! Our family received great gifts this Christmas, and we developed an Amazon habit. We spoiled ourselves. We ate out and drank craft beer and soaked up our success. What do we have to show for it? Extra pounds, a waning bank account, and some cool stuff... but a lot of junk.
I have been feeling extremely claustrophobic in my own home. There is clutter on every surface, even though it's clean. I clean and clean, and it still looks messy, because we have so many things!
Why do we have SO much stuff??
We are thrifty! We both have collected a lot of things from family and friends over the years. Our generous parents give us their hand-me-downs. We are collectors. It feels resourceful to collect jars, clamshells, free stuff, and containers. We don't like to throw things away. We don't like to delete pictures or throw away bad art, because we see the beauty in flawed paintings, blurry photos, and burned DVDs. We don't want to let go of these memories. Whether it's an old band t-shirt or wrinkled festival poster, we want to always have that to remind us of those moments. To remind us of who we were at that time, to show us how far we've come and who we used to be. Who our friends were, what our lives were like, where we lived, how we dressed, and how we viewed the world. It gets heavy, though. Do we really need all this stuff? Will we forget who we were and all of our memories if we get rid of it?
I doubt it. If it's really important, we will take pictures of it, and store it on a hard drive of memories. My hope is that having less stuff and being less distracted will help us be more present. In being more present, I hope we will remember all of the places and people and moments that contributed to our becoming who we are, and that we will have time to remember all of those times, without relying on an old festy t-shirt or crappy poster to get us there. It is merchandise, after all. Invented for you to buy based on the very fear that you may forget who you were without it. Or worse- that you won't be able to show people you were there without it.
This brings me to home decor. I have spent my entire adult life trying to figure out who I am and how that manifests itself in my home. I was lucky to land a great job at the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma at 23, and I immediately bought my first home. Filling this home with things that painted a picture of the inside of my soul was a necessary part of home-ownership. There are 9 trees in my living room, whether printed, living, or hanging on the walls in a rainbow of colors. I love color. I love peacocks, retro trailers, butterflies, and brightly colored anything. When I asked myself what objects had a distinct purpose in my life, it all went out the window. Do I really need my house to show guests who I really am? No. I am who I really am, and it doesn't really matter if people get that when they step in my front door. That is something my ego strives fo. "You have such a nice home!" But, it's not really me. It's a $10 Buddha statue from Pier 1. I am a Buddhist, but Buddha would event tell you that the statue is not me, and that I don't need it, and that it serves no purpose, especially since I don't even use it in any reverential sense. It's teal, and I love it sitting under my light-up bodhi tree from Kirklands.
So, What's the plan??
I am researching how to sell things on Ebay and Amazon, so I can get rid of our things while saving up money. I have so many bags of clothes, shoes, and jewelry that I plan to sell. We will
get our house ready to sell in the next 9 months, while de-junking every corner of it. We may have a garage sale in the Spring. We will dedicate ourselves to our crafts of acro-yoga, juggling, hooping, and other skills as to make the best show possible by the time we are ready to hit the road. We just enrolled in You Need A Budget (YNAB- Shout out to my girl, Anglea Cejda for telling me about it!) in hopes to pay down our student loan debt. When the house sells, we will pay off our car and our trailer, any remaining debt, and invest the rest somewhere smart. We aren't really sure exactly how the rest will work out, but unloading our stuff and our mortgage seems like the obvious first step. We plan to travel and work, and rent a room from my mom when we miss our home base.
I've always loved shopping and owning cute, expressive clothing. I love decorating my home in art that tells guests who I am as a person. We have decided that the mental and physical costs are just not worth it. I have never tried to change this much about my life, but Jeremy is on board. Are you ready to see what it looks like when it's all stripped away? To be honest, I'm kind of afraid. But I'm ready. We're ready to be free and clear, light travelers with time, energy and funds to do what we want. We want to invest our time, money, and energy into our experiences, ourselves, and our art. If not now, when? I will document my journey from maximal millennial to minimalist and share everything I learn with you. Wish us luck!