If you read my previous entry or noticed the title of my blog, you’d be able to tell that the word “static” has something to do with why I’m here, pecking away at my keyboard. In this entry, I’ll give you the lowdown of what static is, and why you might want to consider living your life with a little less of it.
Simply put, static is the stuff that fills your home, mind, and strains your wellbeing. It’s the overflowing closet, junk drawer, or even a toxic relationship.
Over the past 10 years, my husband and I have moved house somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 times. Each time we packed to move, we would start with good intentions to eliminate the unnecessary clutter and fill our boxes in a nice, tidy, cohesive manner. Thirty minutes in, we would become frustrated with the process, vow to downsize our belongings once we unpacked at the new place, and trade our organized packing strategy for a manic cramming of items into garbage bags. Mind you, these were all items we were keeping. By the time we arrived to our new home, we had dismissed our previous promise to ourselves, and began haphazardly stuffing items on whatever shelf or in whichever closet we could find. Those shelves adorned with knickknacks that we didn’t care for stayed tidy for a week before becoming overrun by mail we didn’t have time to open or odd items we never bothered to put away. We always planned to do something about it, but without fail, we would move, accumulate more, and begin the process over again.
A year and a half ago, we took a chance and ditched our beautiful old home for one a third of its size. This time however, we did manage to part with most of our belongings. Anything of value was crammed into my father-in-law’s van to be sold in his shop. Were we making any profit off those items? No. The value of not having an overwhelming amount of useless clutter was worth far more to us than the small amount of profit we would have made from selling any of it.
Now, after a year and a half of living in a smaller home, we came to a realization. We are minimalists at heart that by influence of our environment have become consuming machines. We couldn’t stop accumulating! Always in search of the next thing to buy that just might spark long-lasting happiness, reality kicked in. We realized that our consumption was counterproductive to building the lives we want for ourselves. All we had managed to accumulate was static. Shelves filled with items that brought joy for five minutes, only to get pushed aside so something else could take its place. All of the items lining our shelves that we don’t use, love, much less remember is there? That’s static.
Static sits on our shelves, maybe our countertops, or perhaps, our closets. It’s a slow build of a pile of papers that started as a piece of mail that we said we’d open later. It’s the supplies for that hobby we’ve been meaning to take up when we have the time. It creeps in until it overwhelms and exhausts us to look at or even think about. We shove all our static in a closet, or in my case, some nifty storage furniture purchased from IKEA on a quest to become the ultimate interior decorator. No matter how pretty the doors are, we know what they hide. A closet filled with stress, that’s just static filling our homes.
Static can also be a toxic relationship that we have kept around for the sake of convenience, perhaps fear of the unknown, or perhaps even guilt. It’s the kind of relationship that takes more than it gives and always leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. We know it’s counterproductive to our health, and we can never agree, but hey, mental anguish is better than sitting home watching Netflix by ourselves in pajamas with a bottle of wine and pizza on a Friday night. Right? Honestly, a comfortable couch and a bad movie sound far more appealing than suffering through a hangover I didn’t want after a bar crawl on which I never wanted to go.
The list of what static is can go on and on. Static is different for everyone, but I can say with overwhelming confidence, that it’s not healthy in any of its forms, and we will all be much healthier and happier without it. In next week’s entry, I’ll begin to outline my journey to living a more meaningful lifestyle through minimalism. For anyone interested in doing the same, I will leave you with a friendly warning. It’s not a fast process, it’s not a pretty process, and it’s one of the most frustrating, brilliant, fulfilling things that I have ever done in my life.