They warned me. All the blogs and articles I read about minimalism said it over and over: It’s not about the things. It’s not about how much you have or get rid of. It’s about making room for what makes us happy.
I started experimenting with minimalism a year ago when I was trying to pack smart for a dream trip that was coming up. I understand why so many people start their minimalism journey with cleaning their closets, and it certainly was the best way for me to start. After decluttering clothes I moved on to paperwork, trinkets, kitchenware, furniture (moving to a different city helped) and eventually I knew exactly what was in my apartment, where I had it, and why I had kept it. It was a very liberating feeling, knowing that I had enough. Then, something quite interesting happened.
The feeling of clutter didn’t completely disappear when I removed tangible stuff. Sure, my closet was as zen as it gets, but my mind and heart were still places for hoarding. I realized this is what all the minimalist gurus I had been following meant when they said it wasn’t (only) about the physical clutter. Slowly, and painfully, I started saying no to commitments that only drained me. I started nourishing the relationships that helped me become a better person. I started to look for spaces, both physical and mental, that would help me create peace within.
When I could look at my home and my possessions and say “This is enough. I am happy with what I have”, I started to play with a crazy idea. Maybe I was enough too. Maybe I did not need to strive to be perfect anymore. To have it all. Maybe I was enough with my quirks, my flaws, my obsessions. I looked into a mirror and decided to make a pact: To always play on my own team. To pick myself up when I was feeling down. To be kind to myself, the way I would be to my closest friends.
It is possible that this realization would have come with time and age, but I am happy to have reached it now. Maybe it took getting rid of all those ill-fitting clothes to realize I was trying to become someone I am not. It took getting rid of trinkets to realize that I decorated to distract. It took getting rid of souvenirs and mementos to let go of painful memories and regrets.
What I have is enough.
I am enough.