Minimalism in the New Year

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As 2016 comes to a close, I’ve reflected on my year and starting to think about how I want to start the next. Minimalism has intrigued me over the past several months, and after a few moves from apartment to apartment and city to city, I’ve appreciated the obvious benefit: more manageability.

Organization is an amazing feeling; it helps you remain mindful, in control and more at peace. The lack of clutter around my home (and in my life in general) has helped me stay on top of tasks, decreased my anxiety and be more productive. I’ve focused on purchasing quality items over quantity- instead of owning 30 purses (or more) like I used to, I now have 5 classic ones instead. Instead of keeping clothes I’ve had for years (yet never wear) I donate or consign them at stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads.

Minimalism helps to stay organized, more mindful and less stressed, but it also has other benefits that make big differences in your life.

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Save time

When you’re not running around the house looking for something, it’s amazing how much time you will save. I used to forget where I would place things- simply because I had SO MUCH. Now I have a place for everything and know exactly where to go to find it. Simple things, like organizing all my art supplies in one place, color coordinating my closet, investing in jewelry organizers or labeling my paperwork / bills make a big difference. When you own less, it’s easier to keep everything together, too.

Do what you love

Do possessions truly matter? So many feel the need to “keep up” with their peers and society by owning the newest, best thing; a gadget, home, handbag or car. Whatever it is, it’s important to remember to invest your time in what YOU love- choose a career that fits the lifestyle you wish you lead. When you do what you love, it opens doors to live the life that you want. Set goals and invest in you- whether it’s a new car, a tropical vacation or a relaxing day in your own thoughts.

Better for the environment

This is another obvious benefit: less stuff, less trash. People would also be more mindful of what they recycle, and purchase higher quality items opposed to disposable ones. Another aspect of minimalism is choosing to walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving a car. I sold my beloved Mini Cooper in early 2014 before moving to NYC and haven’t gotten behind the wheel since. I stay healthy (physically and mentally) by walking at least 5-10 miles a day, riding the train or taking an Uber.

Letting go of the past

I had a huge purge this past summer in-between moves. I used to be a big pack rat, keeping old cards, tickets, trinkets and memories from old boyfriends, only to bring up both good and bad feelings of the past. Unless it was extremely sentimental or made me feel happy, I got rid of a lot of things that were merely taking up space. I only keep what I need and what I love; and avoid letting bad vibes back into my life.

Be happier

When you’re content with what you have and where you’re at in life, it’s so much easier to be happy. Keep items that bring back good memories; frame a card from a family member, keep useful sentiments that remind you of experiences, invest in a quality journal and write down your daily gratitudes. Doing these simple things each day not only helps you stay mindful, but builds for a happier tomorrow.

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Holly Golightly

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Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul: Sure.

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favorite movies, but not because of Audrey Hepburn’s glamour, handsome George Peppard, the dream of Tiffany diamonds or the rainy, romantic ending.

Yes, all of those components add to the beautiful story of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I identify in a different way; with the lost and lonely Holly Golightly. A dreamer, a chaser, a runner. She is classic and confident, yet anxious and insecure. She takes care of herself and denies needing anyone… yet she desperately is hoping for love.

Above all, Holly is afraid of being let down.

As I concur this thing called life, I am constantly wondering what will make me happy. I searched the streets of New York for that perfect person, perfect career, perfect apartment. I didn’t find it; perhaps it was in front of me and I never knew it? Was I looking for the wrong thing?

Why was I so anxious?

Whenever I am feeling scared, lost or confused, I always go to the water or take a long walk with coffee in hand. On one particular Spring morning I walked down Madison Avenue after an unsuccessful job interview, gazing into the windows of Chanel, Barney’s and Christian Louboutin. Would these things solve my problems? No.

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One year ago today on Fifth Avenue

As I looked in the windows filled with diamonds and red-bottomed shoes, I wondered if these things truly made people happy. What was I looking for? Stability, love, success? Of course; we all would like these things.

As I grow older I have realized to take one day at a time, and to fight my own mean reds I have been focusing on the beauty around me; whether it is admiring pretty things in the window, a walk through the park or people watching at a cafe. Everything will fall into place- just have faith, do your best and keep living beautifully.

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Chanel and Dunkin Donuts on Madison Avenue

Bachelorette

Another holiday weekend has passed. Whether you spent it with family, friends, working or in the company of yourself, I hope it was as relaxing as mine was! I joked the other day that I was having a Cat Lady Christmas, but after Bernice knocked over my coffee, dumped colored pencils into her litter box and scratched a hole though my sweater, I decided “No. It’s not a Cat Lady Christmas after all. It’s a Bachelorette Christmas.” I ordered a pizza, breadsticks and salad to prove it.

Could I picture having a pet to come home to every day? No. Am I responsible enough to clean up after it, play with it, take it to the vet and be sure I actually do come home to feed it? No. I don’t remember the last time I bought actual groceries; unless you’re talking about pre-made dinners or odds and ends like cereal, almond milk and yogurt.

Sure, I like pets… the same way I like kids. I enjoy them for a period of time, but then I can give them back. No, I am no cat lady. I am not an old maid or a spinster, either.

I am a Bachelorette.

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Always seeking magic.

Let’s think about it for a minute. While many women dream of white picket fences and starting a family, I dream of high rise apartments and excitement. When people are celebrating an engagement, marriage or new baby, I am celebrating moving to a new city, getting a new job or going on a trip. Yes, those who are coupled-up celebrate these things, too- but they do it together. I do it alone.

I thought these things were a phase; that once I hit a certain age my nomadic life would be set aside and I would invest in starting a family. That entails settling on a place to live, buying real furniture and putting someone else’s needs above (or equal to) mine. Hmmm. I am not sure about that.

I enjoy my alone time, my career, writing and life experiences. I’d absolutely love to find a partner who I can do those things with- or someone who would support me or live the same type of life I want.

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A gutsy girl, a bookworm. I am many things… but I will never be put in a box.

My American Dream

My American Dream is having a beautiful place in the city, a job I enjoy, the arts at my fingertips, enjoying amazing food and spending it with a loyal, supportive, loving partner. I don’t have a desire for “stuff,” a car, 2.5 kids and dozens of people around me.

I want to live simply and happily- and I want someone who feels the same.

Over the past year I have begun to value minimalism, mindfulness and quality over quantity. I never want to live in the suburbs and try to “keep up with the Jones’s,” nor can I picture getting married for the sake of getting married. I won’t settle.

Until I find my own American Dream, I will consider myself a Bachelorette. It’s a pretty good life, especially when you get to eat pizza on Christmas.

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Let Freedom Ring! 4th of July 2015.