The happiest time of my life was the fall of 2011. It took me time to realize what it was that made me so happy then. I had just gone through very very tough months. It was a really difficult time for me. I separated with my boyfriend of 10 years, “broke up” with my best friends without knowing why and I came back to Sweden where I didn’t feel like I belonged. But at the same time I felt happy during these months. I felt guilty for feeling happy while I was depressed and sad. It was so strange but I kept going without thinking about it. Eventually, a year later, I started to think about what it was.
I’ve told you before that yoga, finding comfort from someone new (who’s now my husband) and letting go of these people in my life was the reason for this happiness. And yes, I still believe that. But there is one more important thing. I stopped carrying about stuff, especially clothes. I felt free when I let go of “wanting new stuff” all the time. For years I had thought that I had to like clothes, care about my looks when leaving my apartment, that expensive things would make me special. I lived with a person that only spent time with people who talked about earning more money so that they could buy an expensive car, bigger apartments, designer clothes and go on vacation to cool places. I had a hard time keeping up since I was a student with no time for extra jobs on the side. My friends didn’t necessarily spend much money since they were also students, but we talked a lot about fashion and similar things. It was all fun then. I was one of them. I too wanted to figure out a way to earn money so that I could buy cool stuff and I enjoyed dressing up and look nice together with my friends.
And then I met someone who’s pants were too big, his work shirt was not the slimmer fit and he didn’t care if he did something differently than you were “supposed” too. I liked spending time with this new friend and I decided to let go of my thoughts about his baggy jeans (in Sweden, loose pants is a big no no on guys for some reason). I had fun with this guy, he made me laugh and he helped me crossing things off my NYC list before I went back to Sweden. It was such a relief to not constantly think about my looks and my clothes (and his clothes, hahah). He made me realize that other things are more important.
This was the same feeling I had when I lived in Lisbon. I brought heels there but I could never wear them because their streets are not good for that. At first I was sad, and then I forgot that I had them. It was very warm during the days and sweaty in the dance studios, so thinking about my looks all the time would have driven me crazy. One night there, after I had washed my makeup off and wished to go to bed early, we suddenly had a full apartment of people. I felt a bit weird not having makeup on, but it was friends so I didn’t really care (just a little). Somehow my friends convinced me to join them to go out for a few hours. It had been probably 10 years since I had walked outside with no makeup. It was the only thing I thought about when we walked down to the party street (there is one street where everybody is hanging outside). I noticed that noone cared if I had mascara on or not and they didn’t care about that I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and not a party dress, so why should I care?
Both in Lisbon and my first years in NYC, my things could fit in a suitcase. Sure, I had things back home in Sweden, but now every time I have visited my parents I get rid of stuff. And it feels awesome every time. Why save things I don’t need or care about?
We are constantly fed with the thought that we should want more things in our lives. Buy this, buy that. You should look like this and eat this but not that. You should earn money, buy a big house and own a designer handbag. The latest iphone is soon out of style so you should order the new one and your new pc can’t make cool stuff anymore so go buy yourself a new laptop.
I have been thinking about this a lot since we signed the contract for this apartment. I loved our old apartment. It was a perfect home for me, my husband and our puppy. For months before we moved, I had been kinda annoyed though. We kept getting new stuff and we had run out of places to put it all. People have been joking (but still meant it) about that we should get a bigger place so we can have more stuff. Our apartment was pretty big for being New York and we payed a lot for it, so I have felt that it’s a luxury to have “so much space”. This new apartment is almost twice the size for the same cost. We were both excited to move and we love living here now. But a bigger place means more furniture and more things. I really didn’t want much more, but we needed to get a sleeper sofa for when guest are staying over, patio furniture, a new desk for my husband, organization boxes and some more kitchen things. See,…more. And this is not all the things we have bought. We have bought a lot of other things to make this big space feel like home and not an empty storage unit. And then also, every time I go on social media, read blogs or read a magazine I see fashion trends and wonder if I should go shopping to fill up our walk-in-closet, even though I have enough clothes and most of it I don’t even use. And makeup, it’s something I definitely not wear every day anymore.
Do we really need all this? Does it make our lives better?
Our living room downstairs