Joy in the Simplest of Things.

Last week, my boyfriend, Drew, and I were looking at apartments in our new college town. Drew was in need of a new phone as he dropped his phone on the stone floor about a week before. You could say this is where the chain reaction started; you could also argue it started with Drew’s first iPhone purchase in 2010 or even the creation of smartphones in general or way before that. 

As Drew was deciding between Space Gray and Rose Gold for his new iPhone 7; I was being persuaded into purchasing an Apple TV, something that I had never had the desire to own. There was a promotion going on at AT&T where I could purchase three months of Direct TV Go and receive a free Apple TV. After doing the math, I realized that something I never wanted, transformed into something I needed… the deal was just too good to resist.

I asked Drew, “do you think we will use this in the new apartment?” Then continued to ask the salesman“well, do you have one and do you love it”?

I am familiar with the idea of minimalism. I heard and recognized that voice in the back of my mind asking if I really needed this new form of technology when I rarely watch TV in the first place. I am proud of myself for even questioning the purchase, but I succumbed to the deal and I walked out of the AT&T store with a brand new Apple TV in it’s plastic-lined black box, feeling excited about my new gadget. Now, two weeks later, that Apple TV, in it’s plastic-lined black box is sitting in the corner of my room, unused and untouched.

This afternoon, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. The first thing I thought of after I completed the film was my unused Apple TV collecting dust and being used a jungle-gym for my cats. Well… at least someone is getting joy from my purchase.

For the past decade, I would say that my family has lived a fairly minimalistic lifestyle. We have everything we need, and more, but we are past the 1990’s phase of buy, buy and buy some more. I was personally able to experience minimalism as an independent adult when I studied abroad my sophomore year of college. I was given the task of fitting my life, or at least the important physical parts of my life, inside a 26” by 18” suitcase and a 19” by 13” carry-on.

This was really a struggle and the reason why it was so hard was because of all my choices. How was I to decided which pair of my thirteen pairs of jeans would be fashionable in Florence, Italy? Did I need to bring my tall leather boots or just my short leather boots? Would I be purchasing things there and should I leave room for them? But how could I leave room for future buys when there was so much at home that I wanted to bring?

Over the course of the week, I ended up choosing the scarves and dresses that I didn’t want to live without and parted with the hundreds of items that I simply couldn’t fit and wish I could.

Fast forward four months and I returned home to a closet filled with clothes I had forgotten about, shoes that I didn’t even like and beauty products that were wasting away in my bathroom drawer.

You could say this was a turning point in my adult-life. I gave-away a lot of my belongings and found myself on and off of airplanes for the next year; traveling with everything I needed and loving my life more than I had ever before.

You can see from my Apple TV story that I am no where near this perfect minimalist that has only purchased what they truly need to survive. No, I am not living on one dollar a day and yes I still enjoy shopping for things I need and even some things that I don’t need at all but bring me joy. The point is simplification and I guarantee that less choice and quality over quantity will nurture your spirit more than a new purse could.

So, in conclusion, next time you’re wondering if you should purchase something, ask yourself, would you include it in your suitcase?

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