For those of you that have been following my blog (thank you so much by the way), you know that I’ve been minimizing at the same time as moving towards a zero waste lifestyle.
I’ve been really fortunate that during the minimizing process that I haven’t had to throw anything out, but instead I have found new homes for everything. Minimizing is something that takes time and it is not easy. But here is an example of the change that my kitchen has undergone, and I am still working on it.
I have stopped putting things on the fridge except for my son’s art work. We use printed paper and I end up recycling his art after a few days. At the rate we were making art together and I was saving all of them, I realized I would have 1000 boxes full by the time he moved out. I don’t want boxes. I think what I will do with his favourite and my favourite ones is to take a picture and create his own little art blog or find a way to incorporate his art into my art. As a Mother or any parent, don’t we find ourselves attached to all of those things and find sentimental value in those? I mean, I loved that my Dad still had art work and stories of mine that I made him years ago. (Although I also cringe at what I drew back then). Either way, this is something that I found challenging to part with.
That shelf I recently sold and I was happy to part with it. I can fit almost everything into my cupboards now. And I don’t have a surface to accumulate things on. Even while I was waiting for it to sell, I found myself continuously putting things on it. Now that I don’t have it, I don’t even miss it.
That little chair is in my kitchen because it’s my stepping stool. I’m a shorty so I need it. And when I’m cooking or baking, my son uses it stand on and help me cook and bake.
I love being able to do this with him. Even if he makes a mess. Even if he isn’t actually helping me. I love that he can be in the same space as me and be happy. He has one shelf for his toys and a small wicker basket of toys. But he loves his books and finds pleasure in playing with things that aren’t really toys. I’ve caught him using his hands and fingers as cars and we use imaginary toys together and pretend like we’re in different worlds. I spend a lot of time describing to him what things “look” like:
“Wow, look at that purple and blue dragon flying in the air above us. Quick, let’s get into our cave (under the blanket) and look out at it. If he sees us, maybe he’ll want to eat us. Or maybe we can try to feed it some cupcakes instead.” And my son will hold out his hand to the air and we’ll feed this awesome dragon cupcakes.
I am blessed to be able to have this life. I am a single Mother. I work for myself. I get asked a lot if my son is in daycare, and people are often surprised when I tell them he is not. For a while, I felt stressed about it. I felt like maybe I was failing and that if he was in daycare I would be able to grow my business more. Make more money. But this journey has made me more aware of what is important. It has made me step away from the madness of consumption, of competition, of striving to be more, do more, want more.
I know how important the early years of childhood are. I know this is what I’ve always wanted: to be able to take care of my son and provide for him and spend time with him. When he’s ready to go to school I will not have felt like I missed anything. I will not regret choosing to be with my son or spending time with my family, over how many hours I work to make x amount of dollars. I am blessed that before the age of 30, I have already learned this.
I get to take naps with my son. I get to take the day to drive with my cousins to some random town and eat at a restaurant I’ve never even heard of. I can work late if I want to. I can say no to work if I want to.
And while I used to feel stressed about money and fitting into society’s conventional box, I am not anymore. I realized that by letting go of all of those worries, opportunities have come. Work and contracts kind of just happen for me. But I know it’s because I made my life this way. It is because I had a fierce determination to do it and a drive to be committed to what I wanted for my life.
Through all of the challenges, through all of the letting go, through the commitment to discovering who I truly am, I am not only making space for what I want in my life, but I am making what was once an imaginary world for me, be my reality.
And to that I say, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Oh, and here’s my garbage since the last week. I’m keeping it in the same jar: