Making The Decision To Live A Minimalist Lifestyle

Making The Decision To Live A Minimalist Lifestyle

A look into what "minimalism" really means and how realistic it is to live with less.

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I have an arguably unhealthy obsession with organizing and cleaning and planning. However, I also have an unhealthy obsession with buying new things and wanting new things, as many of us do. It took me a long time, watching some "Tidying Up" on Netflix and forcing myself to regularly eliminate clutter to realize that the things in my life are giving me an incredible amount of anxiety. I'm very sentimental and struggle to get rid of things, which means I own a lot of objects that have meaning to me but aren't really useful in my everyday life.

To try to learn about what I could do to force myself to get rid of stuff and lessen my anxiety by lessening my belongings I started by watching the documentary "Minimalism". I started to see the appeal of living with as little as possible and eliminating excess thoughts and worries. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus self-identify as "the minimalists" and are spreading a message of living more meaningful lives. The documentary follows multiple people who have given up "consumer culture" in a variety of ways. Some gave up excess clothing or objects, some gave up cars and moved into tiny houses, while one got rid of a home altogether and decided to travel the world.

Courtney Carver started Project333 as a way to declutter wardrobes, arguably the most common dumping ground for excess belongings. She decided that she would try to dress with only 33 items for three months. Those 33 items included clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. After the short three month experiment, Carver realized that she only needed that small wardrobe to dress. Project 333 has become a phenomenon with women all over the country attempting to dress with only 33 items. The idea is that you only keep your favorite wardrobe items, so you lessen dissatisfaction with your clothes and lessen decision making every time you have to get dressed.

Carver's project is just one example of decluttering one area of your life, but it's an interesting process to think about. We don't need all of the things we own, we just think we do. Carver's process points out that once you get rid of those things, you actually don't miss them. With everyone trying to become as happy as possible and as successful as possible, it's easy to lose sight of what it actually means to be happy and successful. Perhaps success lies in being the most satisfied with our own lives rather than matching everyone else's view of success. The stories presented by the minimalist movement prove that living with fewer things can mean living with more meaning.

Beyond the personal benefits of consuming less, it is well-known that lowering consumption positively impacts our environment. Consumer culture has created many of the massively daunting environmental problems we see today. With practices like fast fashion, cheap labor and cheap production of goods, it is easy to see how our process of creating and using materials does nothing but hurt ourselves and the world around us.

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One Of The Most Impressive Things A Human Being Can Do Is Finish An Entire Tube Of ChapStick

It is the only thing more impressive than the creation of ChapStick itself.

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Mankind's most impressive accomplishments include inventing the wheel, walking on the moon, and, of course, the creation of ChapStick. The air outside is beginning to get dry, and thus, chapped lips are coming, and once chapped lips season begins, millions of poor souls will begin to suffer from the tragedy that is chapped lips. Luckily, we have ChapStick, and Burt's Bees, Carmex, Blistex, and plenty of other lip balm brands as well.

There is nothing worse than feeling your lips begin to dry up, signaling that chapped lips are in your not too distant future. Actually, there are probably many things in life that are worse than this, but it's still pretty bad.

ChapStick is a savior for the chapped, a larger than life hero conveniently available in a small tube at most local stores. Thank goodness for ChapStick (and other brands of lip balm, I guess.) I truly believe that the invention of ChapStick is one of the most important, groundbreaking, and impressive feats that mankind has accomplished.

However, the only thing more important, groundbreaking, and impressive than the creation of ChapStick, is someone finishing an entire tube of it.

I'm not sure if it's even possible to do this, and I'm starting to think that it might not be. Before it can be done, the vast majority of people will either lose the tube, or no longer need it because their lips are no longer chapped. Then, by the time their lips become chapped once more, the tube will then be lost, never to be seen again.

It is a vicious cycle, one that prevents us all from ever finishing our ChapSticks, and probably also helps lip balm companies sell more products.

If anyone has actually used up an entire tube of it from beginning to end, I wonder what life is like for them now. Did they stumble upon some sort of hidden code allowing them to understand the true nature of life and the universe? Did they open a gateway to another dimension with different laws that govern time and space? I think there is a very good chance that one of these events occurs when one finishes an entire ChapStick tube.

It has to signal some sort of mind-bending event releasing the most well-kept secrets of the universe. Nothing else really makes any sense.

If you have finished an entire ChapStick tube, you have my deepest and utmost respect. You have shown the ultimate form of perseverance, prevailing despite the odds of the universe being completely against you. You have shown that you know how to follow through with something, no matter what. You can now live the rest of your life knowing that you have accomplished what most never will.

Be proud of yourself, and make sure to tell everyone you possibly can that you have finished an entire tube of ChapStick. Make sure it's the first thing you say when you meet someone new, tell random people in the street who you have never even met, and put it at the top of your resume when you apply for a job, because they will be sure to hire you on the spot once they learn of your wonderfully impressive feat.

As of now, my lips are beginning to feel chapped, and I have just applied ChapStick to them as a means of combating this dreadful ailment. As I stare at the tube in my hand, my determination to use the entire thing has greatly amplified, and I am more determined than ever to finish the thing and unlock the secrets of the universe. But, who am I kidding? I'll probably lose it before the tube is even halfway gone.

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Celebrating My Mom: Her Beauty and Strength

Here's to the most inspirational woman in my life.

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In observance of International Women's Day on March 8th, it is of paramount importance that we take a few moments to consciously recognize the women in our lives. We often call the women we adore by casual names like "Mom", "my sister", or "my girlfriend", and, usually, these nouns are intimate enough to replace their names---but not today. Today is for appreciating you, Melanie Daugherty, my mom---not as my mother, but as a human whom I hold with the highest regards.

It is easy for me to recall the innumerable times you've embraced me (even though I considered myself to be a disappointment), forced me to put my qualms into perspective, or insisted I put my aspirations into action (because "can't is too lazy to try") ; but, the magnitude of your accomplishments shouldn't always be measured by its impact on me, however, if it were to be, let it be the times you've inspired me.

Mom, I have always appreciated you, but I truly began to define you as my idol during my sophomore year of high school. During this time, I began experiencing shame in my identity. I was an athletic girl, but suffered from body dysmorphia, as well as a misunderstood and pessimistic perception of my inner thoughts. I became very introspective and was completely fixated on thoughts of worthlessness and lack of purpose. I assumed chronic fatigue was just a characteristic of being a teenager. In me, you recognized a past version of who you once were. I cried to you and you embraced me in your arms. My deteriorating state of mental health was not your burden, and you refused to let me define myself by diagnoses and prescriptions. Recognizing your success and triumph over anorexia and depression motivated me. I was so proud to be your daughter. Knowing that confidence and appreciation for the world was possible to achieve accelerated me into a period of self-reflection and determination. I wanted to trace your template of self-improvement with my footsteps and create a new image of myself---one that would reignite my childhood "spark".

You're not just my hero for saving me, but for giving me someone to admire. You live your life without limitations. Competing in the 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon is an accomplishment in itself, competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii is even more incredible, and completing eight of these triathlons is enough for most people to call you "crazy" rather than by your name. Your greatest demonstration of strength however, was not through athletic prowess, but through mental and emotional perseverance.

Losing your best friend to breast cancer was almost inconceivable because no one ever wants to acknowledge it as a possibility. What people also try to forget, is that it is just as possible for their lives to be taken from them. After learning to cope with your best friend's death, you were diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Watching you grow progressively weaker was enervating in itself. This wasn't a reality I was able to accept as truth, partially because you were my mom, but also because your strength was an aspect of you that I didn't think could ever be taken from you---and I was right.

Although your complexion grew pallid and your body could no longer sustain itself, your mindset remained the same. You would not accept a last breath, and you ensured that every breath you took reiterated that. You demonstrated to me that positivity is the panacea that combats a discouraged mind.

Mom, for you, I am proud. I am grateful to have lost sometimes, because without loss, I wouldn't have been able to realize my strength, and I wouldn't have realized that if you hadn't been my anchor.

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