I’ve been blogging over at Minimal Millennial for three years, and it’s an amazing outlet for me as I pursue a more simple and intentional life. But in the past six months, it has started to feel a little restrictive because of a single word:
I’m grappling with the concept of minimalism and being a minimalist, and it just doesn’t feel right for me anymore.
Minimalism is (almost) a four-letter word
Minimalism is becoming quite the trend—it’s about doing more with less. A noble pursuit, and a wonderful counter-movement in this consumerist society.
But the word itself feels stark and conjures up images of a bleak, monotone home and wardrobe. To me, it meant that all shopping was bad shopping and that nothing excessive should adorn the walls of my home.
I know not all minimalists live like that, but it became difficult to shake that idea. Telling people I was a minimalist was alienating and made me “other” in a way that I never meant to be.
I was criticized both for having things and not having things because of the label I had adopted. So, I stopped identifying as a minimalist.
What I learned as a minimalist
When I was moving frequently, planning a wedding, and subsequently planning a move across the country, my extreme reduction of “stuff” and my strong identification as a minimalist helped me keep it all together.
Minimalism gave me a clearer head and helped me to redefine my relationship to things. I learned to pursue quality over quantity, shop less, want less and maximize small spaces. I lost touch with toxic people and invested more time with my most treasured friends.
I learned so much from my time as a self-labeled minimalist, but I’ve decided to close out my use of that term and enter into a new season of life.
I'm no longer a minimalist, but I still like to keep it simple.
What am I now?
I don’t want to use labels anymore—hence the reason I’m blogging here instead of the blatantly-labeled Minimal Millennial. I don’t want to be solely defined by my age or my stance on material possessions.
So here’s my new approach: I’m setting intentions and letting everything flow naturally. I’m opening myself up to the whims of my heart, which was becoming difficult as a “minimalist”.
Being open about my whims or desires felt taboo as a self-appointed minimalist.
It's really a matter of semantics, but it's important to me to feel comfortable with how I describe myself. I'm all about not letting ourselves get boxed in by labels so this is a natural step for me.
Is there a label that you want to shake?