I love Gala Darling and have been a devoted follower of her blog for over two years now. She posted a fantastic piece today on the simplicity of living with less, and how having too many choices can make us miserable. She did an amazing job writing this piece and I highly recommend checking it out.
Our brains — already over-worked & exhausted — cannot cope with too many choices. We’re asked if we want small, medium or large; full fat, half & half, soy or almond milk; vanilla, strawberry or chocolate; skinny, bootleg, boyfriend or bellbottom. Actually, being presented with too many options stresses our brain. It gives it too many things to compare & contrast. The problem with being given a lot of choices is that we simply don’t have the time to research or investigate all of them… & then we feel like we have failed.
Couldn’t agree more. One of the benefits of living in a small town in Japan was that my choices became much more limited. In Los Angeles, I have seven grocery stores within two miles of where I live. In Japan, I had one. You know how there are over twenty kinds of pasta sauce at the store? In Japan, there were two. My surrounding area had one main clothing store, one stationery shop and one family restaurant.
While limited options initially made me feel constricted, over time I began to rejoice in my new freedom. My shopping trips took ten minutes. I made coffee at home instead of going to a cafe. I lived with a much smaller wardrobe and only four pairs of shoes.
It was heaven.
We’ve been told that MORE IS BETTER; trained to collect things we love; convinced that owning a closet of cute shoes is a worthwhile goal for a woman. But the people who have told us this profit from passing on this message. It’s important that we understand this.
Ah, yes – back to my post on why giving up your TV is an excellent decision – when you don’t know what you’re missing, you don’t know what you’re missing. I never once craved a designer bag or fifty pairs of shoes when I was living abroad. I actually craved less possessions, because I knew I’d have to ship all that stuff back to the States one day!
The takeaway is this: You are more than your stuff.
You are more than your workload, your to-do list, your family obligations. You are more than your responsibilities to pick up the house, walk the dog, get your oil changed.
You are more than your closet of shoes or vintage leather jacket. You are more than your iPhone, Blackberry or Android.
You are more than your email signature, your title at work, your place on the totem pole, your role as wife/husband, mother/father, son/daughter.
You are more. And you don’t need more (money, choices, pairs of shoes, gadgets) to be more. Remember that.