Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
This week, I’m happy to feature this wonderful contribution from Candace. She shares her perspective as a minimalist and single parent, and invites you to read more of her story on her blog.
I suppose I have been a minimalist most of my life. I only discovered there was a term for a person like me within the last two years. When I was a young person, I remember my mother asking me what I was going to wear if I got rid of all of my clothes so often. My friends used to remark how I had fewer clothes than any of them, yet I always looked so nice. Even though I was younger than my closest acquaintance at the time, and made less money, I always had money to travel and do what I liked. I suppose some people are just born minimalists, and others discover it.
After going through a divorce around the time of the birth of my daughter, I questioned what was really important in my life and the direction that I wanted our lives to go. I decided that I didn’t need a big place or lots of things for the two of us. We lived very efficiently in a small space. I carried her in a sling rather than owning a baby carriage, breastfed rather than having a million baby bottles and formula to cart around. We walked and took public transportation and we traveled. Of course, being a new mom, people wanted to give me more toys, clothes, and “necessary” baby items than I could possibly use. It was definitely more than what I wanted. I said “no thanks” to most things and blamed it on the lack of space in our living quarters. Actually, I just didn’t want that junk taking up space in my mind or in my life.
Once I discovered that I was a “minimalist” and there were other people like me, I felt validated and as if I was given permission to be even more selective about the things that I allowed into my life. I was able to see clearly how the things tied me down and the lack thereof gave me the ability to do what I felt was the most important to me. It was comforting to know that there were many others who felt just like me in the world, even if I didn’t know them personally.
As I continue to live out the life that I feel is the best for me, I have discovered that I have something to share with the world. I am a single mom of color who is also a minimalist. I haven’t found much in the way of information or lifestyle for a minimalist of my sort. Therefore, I have begun a blog, www.myspoclife.com, about the life my daughter and I lead and how minimalism helps us to live that life better. We hope to be an inspiration to other single parents who live or are aspiring to a life of minimalism. Single parents don’t need to sit around waiting for the children to grow up until they can have a great life of their own. Neither do single parents need to sit around waiting for “the right one” to sweep them off of their feet. We want you to know that life is full, abundant, and exhilarating once you clear away the excess and discover what is most important for you. Thank you.