everything else is a ‘no’

Nothing seemed simple about last year. Full, but not simple.

With some like-minded community members, I started a Toy Library which you can read about here. Then amid my husband’s law school graduation and Bar preparation, we moved to a new town (where he now works) and awaited the arrival of our sweet second child, now five months old. In the Fall I started the last year of my graduate program in the midst of a 12-week maternity leave from my full-time job.

With the new year comes a renewed commitment to live simply and fully, and thus my mantra has become: “Say yes to what matters most, everything else is a ‘no’.”

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Blogging has become a ‘yes’ again. It was essential as I dipped my toes into the practice of minimalism that I had the support and accountability of a like-minded community. But after awhile I felt I was writing what had already been said (not very minimalist indeed), so I let it go.

A year later, here I am with a bigger family, in a bigger house, in a smaller town (though, ironically, we’re saving more money having moved out of the city). I am recommitting myself to living simply and fully. In truth, nothing narrows one’s focus to that which matters most like the cry of an infant needing to be nursed. It acts as a great check on my regularly hurried state, forcing me to sit down and settle in for a moment, to breathe, relax and enjoy my family.

While I have stuck with my minimalist mindset, some old habits have been slipping back into my routines. It shows in my expanded wardrobe, which I blame on pregnancy and nursing (but still!), and in my spacious new home which we’re trying desperately to not fill with things.

Fortunately, my buying-averse mindset stuck around through my blogging hiatus. Whew, a year of blogging about living simply did a number on my consumption habits and I am thankful for that! I dread bringing anything new into our home, and I still think extensively before buying.

So, here we go again. I am grateful to be back among friends! Looking forward to continuing our journey together!

 

sharing is better

Anna North of the New York Times Op-Talk blogs recently linked to my post on minimalism and class privilege in her article When It’s Cool to Have Nothing. While it came as a surprise given the low-key nature of my blog, it is an interesting twist. I was encouraged to begin this endeavor in part because I heard a radio program on how sharing our ideas with a wider audience in the digital age has led to increased collaboration and innovation. Of course I can’t track it down now because there has been so much offered on this topic as well as whether the internet actually fosters connection to any real extent- a question I asked myself as I penned my first post. It seems intuitive, though, that sharing an idea, which can spark other people’s thinking, is more generative than keeping it to oneself. And this is a great example.

I am thankful to have contributed to a larger conversation. It has indeed become a conversation and the comments on North’s article have given more depth to my own thinking. I am also delighted by the traffic to my blog, not because of the notoriety but for the realization that many people are looking at the original source. I am glad that some took the opportunity to see my writing in its original context, as it was intended, amid all my other reflections and my nuanced approach to simplifying. Hopefully they could see the topic of class privilege that I presented as an issue I grapple with myself, rather than merely a critique of minimalism.

The recent attention offered with it a challenge. Last night, instead of incessantly checking site stats or likes on Facebook, I took a walk through the park with my family. I gave my son a bottle before bed and rocked and sang to him like I do every night without interruption. This blog will continue to be a reflection of, but also take a back seat to, living my life.

Beyond the theoretical, there is another upside: This attention has generated increased interest in the Minneapolis Toy Library as I anxiously await news about a grant we wrote in June. Excitement is building! You can stay updated on our progress through the Minneapolis Toy Library’s own site here.