As you may have noticed, I haven’t been very present around here despite my summer resolution to post every week. We have come a long way toward simplicity together, and I have come to maybe one of the biggest life changes I could make, thanks to these efforts toward a more mindful and intentional life.
The triggerI was first introduced to simplicity through closet curating, after I discovered that the image I was giving through my physical appearance didn’t match who I was, or who I thought I was.
I thought I was an avid reader, a curious and adventurous individual, a creator and a learner, a traveller and somewhat of a connoisseur of culture and art. In the meantime, I was dressing like a proper office lady in high heels and white shirts, wearing lots of make-up and jewellery, perhaps a little shallow, who “may not be able to lift a box” at events.
Thunderstruck by the difference between how I saw myself and how people saw me, I took a good look at my life and asked my closest friends. I hadn’t picked up a book in months, nor gone to an art exhibit, nor touched my piano or drawing pencils in years. Ever since my trip to Japan, I hadn’t travelled abroad at all by the beginning of 2011. My best friend confessed she thought I’d been talking a lot about clothing and make-up lately. My family confessed I acted a bit snobbish of late.
I had to admit to myself: this image my new co-workers had of me, of this snob office lady who wouldn’t lift a box, was closer to who I was becoming than I thought. Very far from who I thought I was, and farther even from who I wanted to be. That was the trigger that got me into simple living, even though I’d been poking around the idea since my year in Japan.
Years of simplicityIf you have been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably seen most of the stages in my efforts toward a simple life. Perhaps you’ve been through your own at the same time, and I’m grateful we were able to share this together.
It all started with closet curating. Since the trigger was, initially, linked to how I dressed and how often I talked about clothes and make-up, this is where I decided to start. These were the years of Dead Fleurette and Man Repeller (Leandra has an amazing podcast by the way, I just found out).
I discovered wardrobe editing and capsules and project 333 and favouring quality over quantity at that time. By the end of 2011, I got rid of 80% of my clothes and created a style canvas, neutral and basic, upon which I’d spend two years figuring out my own preferences, pieces I’d feel myself in while still sending the image I wanted to through my appearance.
These questionings around clothes consumption naturally guided me toward minimalism in general. When I saw the positive effects of buying fewer clothes and with a more intentional approach on my closet, it only made sense that I’d do the same for the rest of my belongings.
That’s when I went into minimalism and discovered influencers like Graham Hill’s Life Edited, Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. I also discovered TED talks at the time and reconnected with my curiosity and my love for learning. Marie Kondo was not yet popular; otherwise I’d have Kon’Maried the heck out of my place.
Minimalism led to thinking about consumer ethics: the impact of consumerism on the planet, the working conditions of factory workers, where resources come from…
But also, engaging in minimalism made me realize how much time and energy I was spending on material items – planning to buy them, purchasing them, taking care of them, organizing them, disposing of them. I was resolved to change this, and to dedicate my time to what I thought to be more worthwhile pursuits.
When you spend less time on curating the perfect collection of objects, how to spend it instead?
That’s when my simplicity efforts shifted away from material items and toward mindfulness, intentional living, growth…
Basically, the question was: who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my life? The path to simplicity became a path to self-discovery. That’s when I figured out the details of my style, but that’s also when I bought a violin and took lessons, started reading and writing again.
Slowly, I was discovering what I wanted to do with my life, instead of focusing on what to own. It was a time of habit building, heavy reading around mindfulness, happiness and growth, trying to meditate in the morning and take long introspective walks in the evening.
This is the phase I am still at now, as I figure out how I want to live, the values that matter to me, and how to prioritize them. In a way, simplicity is about aligning our values (what we think) with our actions (what we do).
The 2016 breakthroughI’m calling this a breakthrough because it goes well with “break” in the article title, but I should rather call it a logical consequence of everything I have experimented and experienced these past five years (which would have been a long post title).
Long story short: I quit my job.
I’ve had great experiences working in communications for video game companies over the past six years, traveling and meeting people from all over the world. But discovering myself, my values and priorities made me realize this wasn’t the path I wanted for my career or life. I’d gone to business school because of the social prestige, the promise of a job and, over time, a good pay. But what I really enjoyed were my years studying foreign languages.
Social prestige and high salary are the priorities of society, but not mine. Once I came to that realization, I decided to take my career to a new path. I don’t regret the jobs I’ve had so far, these were great experiences and they were instrumental in my understanding myself. But they no longer fit the life I want for myself. It’s time for a change.
A breakWhich brings me to the last piece of news I wanted to share today. At the moment, I no longer have a day job but pursue a number of personal projects, including freelancing as a communications expert and preparing an exam to become an English teacher. And these projects have to be my priority during this sabbatical.
This is a bit paradoxical, as I don’t have an office to go to 40+ hours per week anymore, but I actually have too little time to properly take care of this blog. I have much to figure out for myself in terms of career, much to learn to prepare for my exam, and I must dedicate more time to my French blog and other projects if I want to take them to the next level.
So, instead of writing a single blog post here and there, which would bring additional pressure to my task list and too short days, I have decided to take a break with this blog.
In terms of simplicity, I’m still experimenting a lot of things. Reducing waste, replacing supermarkets with shorter circuits in direct contact with the makers of the stuff I buy. I’m eating fewer and fewer meat and might become somewhat of a vegetarian in the near future. I’m writing short stories, one of which will be published in an anthology next year, and who knows, French speakers may very well see my name on a novel at a bookstore in a few years. Oh, and I started bullet journaling. That’s awesome. If you like stationery and organizing your life, you’d love it.
As for this blog, it is only temporarily closed: it’s been a pleasure to discuss and grow with you guys for all these years, and I’ll probably want to dedicate some time to writing in English again in the future.
In the meantime, I still have a sort of social media presence, although I’m also questioning it lately, and those of you who speak French can still read about my quest toward a happier and more meaningful life on my original blog, to which I do wish to dedicate more time in the coming months.
Thank you all for reading and commenting around here, I’m very grateful for this experience and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog. Of course, when I decide to write again around here, you’ll be the first to know!