Running in High Heelers – it’s been a while since I last posted I know…way too long! I’ve missed you. But here is a small insight into what has been occurring in my running in high heels (more like trainers!) life…
Do we have everything we need?
Do we need everything we have?
I have a confession to make. I am a collector. A collector of many things… Photos, knowledge, books, music, images on Pinterest, coats, handbags, sparkly cocktail dresses, Converse trainers, gig ticket stubs, notepads, jeans, t-shirts. Half finished make-up foundations, not quite empty shampoos, red nail polish that is never quite the right shade or consistency, mismatched tupperware, unopened cookbooks, fancy dress boxes filled with all sorts of anecdotes of randomness, hats, old keys… you get the drift.
Even writing this I feel something rise inside me like the Venetian Aqua Alta or the slow rise of water in swamp land – claiming the land and air quietly, swiftly.
However, the other part of me, the sentimental, ‘just-in-case-grip-onto-it-for-dear-life’ part of me, has a fear, a nostalgia of letting these things go.
Which brings me to my current struggle. The struggle between my determined desire to relinquish these things and all the unnecessary in my life, like releasing the shackles off my feet (‘so I can dance!’); and the other side of me that has collected these things, accumulated them through the years. The moments, the memories, the gifts, the feelings. Perhaps this side even has an irrational sense of guilt, maybe even betrayal at throwing them out.
Though I can tell you definitively which is winning out. Quite simply, the need to simplify. Even the word brings pleasure by way of its simplicity – Simplify. Ahhh.
My craving for simplicity is so strong and clear now, it is calling to me. It is time.
‘When we crave simplicity, we are not after an easier life. We are after life.’ – Dave Bruno
Where it began
I’m not sure where it started or why I am this way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a hoarder and you will not find me one day in 20 years time on an episode of Hoarders: The Life and Things of Bianca Fermi. But I do seem to have a lot of stuff. Many a person has commented on my abundance of books, notes, things. And I won’t psychoanalyse it overly much, suffice to say there is something in there about my anxiety of not being prepared… Like random mismatched things can ever give security through preparedness (for whatever my two cent psychoanalysis is worth).
And yet, the overwhelming feeling I now have in my life, is to do just that – to let go, to travel light through life, to be free of the clutter and unnecessary.
The big catalyst for this occurred when I moved from Bath. Somehow, in the short while I had been there, I had expanded to fit my room and surroundings – a lot more than my London space.
It was exhausting packing up, it was horrifying and it was ridiculous. Clearly I had underestimated the move. All I kept thinking was: ‘Why do I own or need all this stuff? I don’t own my own home, so I need to be flexible and mobile in my life right now. And isn’t it shameful to own this stuff?? I certainly could live with less, right?’
Another reinforcement of this was when I started working in my current role. I am on the road and travel a fair amount, so most weeks of the month I live out of a suitcase. Something I’ve gotten used to. Which means I really need to travel light if you know what I mean.
In London, as in any big city, space is a premium, as is time. By simplifying, I’m hoping to claim back space and time. So that I have more space for real people in my life, quality relationships, time spent doing what I love with people I enjoy. Space to breathe, time to think, life to be creative. I want and need to remove the things that hinder and get in the way of this living.
And it is not just about the stuff I possess. It is about all of it. I am at a stage of my life where I crave simplicity in all things, throughout my world: the things I own and carry with me, my living space, my work, my routines, my choices, my relationships.
The cluttered, the complex and the messy hold no appeal for me anymore.
Which brings me to now.
After my fifth clear out in as many months (the catharsis is a wicked release let me tell you!) – I am becoming a lot more ruthless. Whereas before I would err on the conservative side of ‘keep hold of just in case’, now it is: donate donate, chuck!
I am by no means perfect, or anywhere near the Scandinavian minimalism or Japanese Zen tranquility I enviously envision…but I am inching closer.
Here are some of the lessons in simplicity I’m learning:
This is a big one for me, and a big challenge. I have no illusion that I can have and do everything I want to do all at once (and I want to do a lot of things!). But I am determined to do the things that matter to me – to make as much time as I can for these things. To find a ‘balance’. Albeit currently in my life this balance as my dad tells me, is less than perfect (I tend to agree). But I have chosen to relinquish perfect from my life – it is about priorities and doing what you can. Next year my balance and time will be different. These are part of the choices we make.
‘Freedom is not the absence of committments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.’ – Paolo Coehlo
Another area of my life I have wanted to simplify is my style. As I have gotten older, a certain style or preference for a certain style has emerged. And my aim is to curate a ‘uniform’ whilst leaving some space for spontaneity and surprise! Like those antique chandelier earrings I came across one afternoon while wondering through a newly discovered store.
Currently, I’m particularly intrigued by imagining whether I could I get to the point where I owned just one rail of clothing – if I could narrow my wardrobe down to the absolute essentials. What would that be in reality? Because as a woman I seem to need different colours, styles, lengths, for the array of seasons…So, perhaps this is not so much for me! But it is a nice fantasy.
‘That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.’ – Steve Jobs
At work, with multiple projects and responsibilities coinciding, this is the mantra often used: do we have everything we need, do we need everything we have? Thus aiming to simplify by a process of elimination. From priorities, processes, ways of working, to communications, meeting efficiency, and most importantly, the solutions.
Even my way of writing has always been about more, as you may have noticed. And although I do not want to lose my writing voice so to speak, I wish to clean it up, sharpen its edges, become more impactful – in a word, a sentence, an image, a message.
‘If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ – Albert Einstein
Though this does not seem to be my natural predisposition, it does seem an intuitive process of renewal, and I crave it. Like a spiritual pursuit of letting go, clearing out, of release, I am still on this mission. It is a process for me, which has probably been happening over the past three years, like a snake shedding its skin, emerging renewed. A natural evolution.
‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’ – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I wish you well on your own mission to simplify your life. Whether it is to spring clean your home, declutter your relationships, or freshen up your routines. I truly believe it’ll be worth it. So that you can have more space and time, luxuries in the world we live in. For creativity. For you.
There is beauty in simplicity…
Here are some of the things I’ve ‘collected’ to inspire your own journey:
Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising’ by Marie Kondo – here’s hoping!
Design: Life Style: Elegant Simplicity at Home by Tricia Foley – beautiful, calming visual candy to inspire your interior design.
Blog: Into MIND – a blog with great tips for curating a minimalistic style as well as lifestyle minimalism, including the 30 day challenge!
Pinterest: You can follow my Pinterest board for more Simplify inspo.