Through a strange and wonderful series of events, I stumbled across this amazing, amazing post by an empowering and down to earth woman named Cait. She first started her blog as a way to keep track of her journey out of debt, but it has turned into so much since then. Her blog is an absolute gem of wisdom and deep thought, and I couldn’t help but be intrigued by her post that essentially deals with the Twitter-famous mental-health quick-fix saying: “treat yo self” (well, minus the slang).
But she’s got so many valid points.
The past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster– a recent death in the family, a transition into more responsibility at work, spring break, school work coming down hard and fast, not to mention a constant pressure to go, go, go, do well, do effectively, do discreetly, do acceptably.
I knew the college experience would be a transforming one, but I wasn’t quite sure as to what degree.
The freedom I have been able to undertake is enormous and I’m grateful for it every day, but there are some times when I wish I had someone older and wiser than me pulling on my reins.
I have to put good food in my body. I have to use said body and give it exercise. I have to put said body to rest at a decent time. I should use my body and skills for good. I have to pay bills. I have to do taxes. I should be financially responsible. I should be socially responsible.
There are lots of have’s and should’s that add up to a lot of stress. On top of it all is the constant battle with adjusting and “fitting in” and figuring out, my life right now and that which exists on the screens so seemingly in everyone’s faces.
And in these past couple of weeks it is more clear to me now that all of this stress and battle fighting has made me susceptible to falling into old grooves, old paths, old habits. It seems as if all the work I have put in for ways to support myself find a way of leaking out, and I realize it’s a problem. It’s self-medication, and it’s harmful.
I shouldn’t be bargaining with myself, talking myself into, or justifying to myself why I “need” something or want something every time I walk into a place where I could potentially have it. My brain feels split down the middle: I know that the life beyond worldly possessions is worth far more than anything I could ever put a price on. …But in a world where a glamorous life is… well, exactly that, and there are pressures to be a certain way, to have certain things, it’s all to easy to succumb to those same detrimental behaviors.
And that’s why I’ve decided I’m going to pull a Cait Flanders. She flipped her life upside down with a minimalist life style, cut unnecessary shopping/impulsive consumption completely out of her life, and made room for the things that were really important.
That’s what I’m hoping to do.
And it’s after reading her words that I can’t help but think of Matthew 6:31-33:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
All the things we worry about… think about… think we need… It feels like an illusion. Why do we binge on fruitless desires (that are oftentimes unrealistic?) instead of analyzing, facing, and dealing with the core problem(s) at hand? Why do we obsess over surface things when we could be concentrating on our service, our purpose, our duties to other humans and our love for God? A verse goes on to say something about how “I think the clothes are less important than the body, are they not?” That’s the mindset I need to have.
That’s what I’m trying to fix.
When it all comes down to it, it’s who we love. Who we are. Who we connect with. Not what we wear, what we drink in the morning, what movie we we, what brand we love.
I turn 20 today, and I am gonna go back on my word here a bit– I am going to treat myself. But I’ll be doing so with a “new” plan. This week marks the first steps of a journey down a minimalist path.
Welp, here goes.