Minimalism: How to Let Go

I love that we love potential. But in January, I purged everything – old contacts, clothes, dishes, my apartment, my old office. I threw away that dress that never covered my cleavage. I threw away the dress – the dress that I was wearing when an old lady on the train walked up to me and said she could see my underwear. I threw away that book from Bible Study that I haven’t re-read. I threw away that picture of me when I was six and cut my own bangs. I threw away the panda bear stuffed animal from my childhood.

I’m going to be honest – it hurt to clean out my closet and have people throw away all of my stuff. It hurt to close the door on potential. I still think about that dress and that boy and that panda bear.

I kept going. I ¬†went to my phone – a place so small but covered in reminders of the past. I deleted old texts, screenshots, anyone with the last name “Tinder” or “Don’t Date Him”. I purged the letters I wrote and never sent. I threw out the dried up mascara. I threw out my work portfolio as an intern and then as a marketer.

And it feels pretty damn good to throw away potential.

It feels good to let go of relationships that abruptly ended and never got put back together again. It feels good to let go of men who couldn’t quite ask me out. It feels good to let go of waiting for him to call you back after two months.

It feels good to throw away the expectations and the weight of wanting things to revert back to the way they were, and rather to be in pursuit of moving forward.

It feels good to get rid of that shirt that you couldn’t breathe in, or even worse, the one you could see-through.

All of that energy spent on potential – spent on the past. Because now that those numbers are gone. I’ve cleanout out my closet, my little black book, I can now put that energy into reaching goals for the future. The thing about potential is that it has an expiration. SAT scores won’t get you into grad school. Your ex (probably) won’t be your husband. That shirt won’t magically become opaque. I’ve been holding onto the past – onto high school, onto figuring out why things didn’t work.

I don’t know why my old best friend won’t call me back. I don’t know why I still haven’t talked with my friend from high school. I don’t know why I hold onto shoes that I can’t walk in or oversized purses that are impractical for public transportation.

I’ve decided to get rid of things because I don’t need them. I need things to help me live my life today and help me achieve my goals for the future. And yes, if you’re asking, I did read that Netflix documentary on Minimalism.

I’d rather be in pursuit of moving forward instead of trying to mend the past – think about the past, wish for the past – for the way things were.

The hardest part of being an adult is realizing that we have to move on. And that’s one of the key components of minimalism. Relationships fade; clothes fade. Things don’t naturally come to us like they did before. Our new best friend won’t be sitting next to us at work, we might find our best friend on Snapchat. Dating a jerk, will only lead to the vicious cycle of sleeping with jerks. We have to date someone who actually wants similar things in life that we want.

No one really wants their ex back or their faded jean jacket or their SAT scores. So, cheers to February – to a new month and to new perspectives and mostly to moving forward in the present instead of pining after the past. ūüć∑

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Saying No to Brunch and Uber: How to Be Single and Save For a Home
As a single, city girl I am starting to think of my future and that means saving for a condo in Chicago and investing in my career – two things that are harder to do when I don’t budget.
I recently went through all of my tabs with Uber and discovered that from January 2016 to August 2016, my Uber expenditures increased by 70 percent. Seventy. Damn. It hurts to realize that cashless transactions like Ubers and Starbucks re-loads might not be the best life choices.
There’s nothing sexy about finances. Whether it’s admitting that you spent $1000 on food or doubled the amount you spent on Uber riders this month.¬†But if you want a 401K and a home, it’s something to be mindful of.
So where do we begin – purging your clutch or balancing you checkbook?
I met with a lifestyle guru, Grace Keller, Founder of Saving Grace. With a background in corporate finances and life experience of buying the Louis Vuitton bag and purging it from her closet,  she mixes her strengths to help clients have more money in their wallets and more space in their closets.
Grace realizes that it’s more about the emotional attachment than anything else.
She says that everyone has two parts – their professional self and the social self.
Grace mentioned that her and her husband went to brunch every weekend and in doing a financial check realized that they were spending $60+ on basic breakfast foods at and The Goat for breakfast.
People think that you won’t have friends if you don’t go to brunch or that you won’t get an invite anymore if you turn down events to save. This is what Grace calls the “social self”.

Social Self:

Your social self is the pleaser. You think someone will think less of you because you can’t afford to go out or buy a new dress.

Professional Self:

Your professional self serves a purpose. It puts longer term investments like education and real estate above short term gains like mimosas.

Things to Consider When Budgeting:

As a city girl, it’s easy to get caught up in happy hour, weekend trips, and lush dinners. And even more so on new clothes – which we’ll get to in a second.
The problem is deciding if we go to Grad School or take a trip to Paris or spend $200 at the bar.
The fact is that we sometimes don’t decide, we just do – which is why budgeting is so important and yet so hard.

Savings: What You Need in Your Bank Account:

To take care of yourself, Grace suggests that you have $1,000 in your emergency fund. This is for unaccepted occurrences like car repairs or health bills.
Additionally, you need about 6-8 months of savings in case you lose your job.

Daily Spending:

So what about spending – how do you know if you should stay home or go out?
“If you’re not going to remember that $15 drink then don’t do it,” Grace advises.
Overall, she advises that to meet your financial goals you need about 80 percent discipline.

Saving for a Home:

There are some large purchases in our lives. Some are cars, education, vacations, and real estate.
Grace had me question what I thought was vital – like a car. She said that with vacations and cars you want to make sure “you’re not relying on plastic to get you there.”
Depending on what you are budgeting for, it’s important to look at it as a fixed cost so that you will reach your financial goals.

Financial Tips:

Everyone has their own method to saving and budgeting and spending. Grace recognizes that it’s a discipline.

If you’re starting out, Grace recommends the Acorn app. One of her favorite financial books was given to her by her mother, Suze Orman’s “Young, Fabulous, and Broke.”

She also advises that when you do find Mr. Right you want to find someone with the same financial values.

Cleaning Out Your Closet:

One of the biggest investments  Рand I think one of the most fun investments Рis in a new wardrobe for your work life.
Grace talks with clients about finances, but she also helps them with another emotional aspect of their life – cleaning out their closets.
She spends time with them to understand why we have certain garments to our clients and to really ask ourselves if we wear a piece or it’s just sentimental.
“Sometimes we need that visual cue that it’s not doing anything for you,” Grace says. She advises her clients to do little tricks like changing the direction of hangers to see if you wore them.
While we ditch the trendy pieces, we also ditch clothes as we age. Grace is in her thirties and no longer wears mini skirts.
She also mentioned that The Today Show a did a piece stating that 53 is the age cutoff for buying a new pair of jeans because it’s “not worth the trouble.”
Letting go. It’s a common theme in cleaning out your closet and budgeting for a home.
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