Remember when I said I didn’t want anything for Christmas? WELL.
Since I’ve moved to New Zealand, I haven’t really treated myself to anything rather than coffee. I did buy things I needed (some clothes), but I can’t remember one instance where I got myself something just as a present to myself. The reason for that is not that I didn’t want to, but rather that I never found anything I liked. In spite of never being big on shopping, not buying anything for 18 months is a record even for myself.
Then I flew to Europe. I had already warned Giac that I was not going to be responsible for my actions over Christmas, as I knew I was probably going to unleash my inner consumerist monster in London, and my mum had told me she would pay for anything I wanted back home (I know).
However, in spite of my predictions, I overdid myself and went absolutely bananas. I bought thirteen sweaters, three journals, two pairs of shoes, slippers, some t-shirts, a bunch of winter hats and scarves, and a crazy amount of makeup.
I am sure that, compared to the average consumer, this is not that much. But condensed into such a short amount of time, it sounds absolutely insane. Plus, it totally goes against my Zero Waste/minimalist principles. Although I did try to buy as much as I could second hand/from sustainable brands, it probably doesn’t justify the fact that I had to ask my parents to send me an extra parcel from Italy to New Zealand because I couldn’t fit all the things I bought in my suitcase.
Now, some things I actually needed (I had zero winter jumpers), but some other things I got simply because, well, I could.
And I was not expecting that.
When I wrote about the joys of being frugal and not falling for temptations, I meant that. Although at the beginning I did struggle with not having access to stuff, after a year and a half I’d learned to be ok with it and actually quite enjoyed living on less. But once I was back to the realm of shopping and consumerism that is London, I was surprised by how quickly I readjusted to that and turned into my previous, careless self.
I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t really regret buying things. I love each and every one of my recent purchases. And considering how few possessions I had before, I still feel like I don’t own that much.
But I wonder, why am I so obsessed about it? Am I trying to be a minimalist just because I read about it and watch so many YouTube videos on people decluttering their lives that I feel like I should only own 30 pieces of clothing?
After the big move from London to New Zealand, I wanted to get rid of stuff because packing up 33 boxes of books was such a stress that I didn’t want to do it again next time I move. (Although I obviously still have all my books – fuck it.) So I did go through all my possession and donated everything that I didn’t wear/use/love. My ultimate goal was to get to a point where I owned everything I needed, and I needed everything I owned.
After my clear out I was left with… Not much. And I was missing a bunch of things that I considered necessities (i.e. winter sweaters. Again. It’s cold here, ok?)
This crazy Christmas shopping spree filled that gap. I now only own things I love. I invested in some staple items that I know will last me a long time. I will probably not buy anything else for another 18 months (hopefully longer).
Also, strictly speaking, I don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist, unless I refine what minimalism means to me. I sure wish I could live on less material things – especially in view of my next move. However, I do make use of everything I have. And I guess that’s the point: I’m happy to let go of things that don’t serve me any purpose, and to keep those that do, even if they are more than what fits in a single suitcase.
The other point is, I am not perfect (duh). Although I am passionate about Zero Waste and conscious consumerism, I also falter and succumb to my old habits from time to time. And I’m ok to admit that. Living this way is not easy, but in my opinion you don’t have to be one hundred percent “perfect”, this is all about being aware of the consequences of your actions and know that you are responsible for them. In spite of this Christmas craziness, I still think overall I’m doing ok. I’m not claiming to be perfect or to know it all – after all this blog is all about my journey and my struggles and my internal conflicts, and me analysing them as well as accepting them for what they are.
This was just a big fat ramble and it probably didn’t make much sense but I guess I just needed to let it all out, so thanks for listening. I promise the next post will be more constructive!