There’s a part of minimalism I just can’t get my head around no matter how hard I try reducing my commitments.
Whether it’s work or friends or family, I just can’t seem to say ‘no’ and trim back the expectations I have of myself. This part of me has gone into overdrive in the past five months as I’ve embraced my no spend challenge.
Without money to spend you’d think my life would be easier, that I’d have fewer decisions to make but actually it’s made it far more tiring.
Take going out: before the challenge, the biggest decision I’d have to make is what I wanted to drink in the pub. Now, with pubs out of the equation (unless I fancy a pint of water) a night out involves choosing a suitably free and interesting event, making sure it’s not too far to cycle to and from, and ensuring other people are interested and that it fits with their schedules – all before I’ve even got there (by bike).
My whole life has become an organisational game of Jenga, where every decision can make me wobble or topple over.
I thought a no spend challenge might make me a more considered person, that I would be able to break the habit of going at full pelt all the time but I think it’s actually made me worse.
Maybe I have to admit I’m a work-a-holic, or even a busy-a-holic. Is it a bad thing? I do thrive on a deadline and in a fast-paced environment (I’m sure many journalists will agree with this – it’s part of what makes my job thrilling).
Maybe I’m trying to minimise a part of my life that doesn’t suit itself to being minimised.
Yesterday afternoon with my mum and sister I was discussing what I’d like to do if I had no mortgage. I told them I’d like to go off travelling for a year and they both laughed.
‘You’ll never give up work!’ said my sister, my mum nodding in agreement.
And do you know what, maybe I won’t and maybe that’s not a bad thing.
I constantly read about how minimalism should be about leaving space for the things you love and the things people love tend to fall into familiar categories of spending time with loved one, travelling, volunteering, and spending time in nature.
I love all those things but I also love being busy and I love my job. My ultimate goal isn’t to be ‘un-busy’ but to be busy on my own terms.