I used to think success depended on where you lived, what you did for work or what your life looked like on the outside. It has taken years of ups and downs, relocations, career transitions and breakups to discover the common denominator in each and every situation that went wrong: me.
I had to figure out the inside before I could create the outside.
A year ago I was living in New York City, working on Fifth Avenue at a startup. I had been working with fashion and tech clients for the past two years and was doing almost exactly what I had dreamed of. I spent my free time roaming the city, sunning in Central Park, going on dates, shopping and socializing. However, between trips to Starbucks and Henri Bendel, I was running on nervous energy, pushing my way through crowds and medicating myself through happy hour and unhealthy relationships. There was no doubt I was spinning my wheels, but what was my problem? Looking back to two years earlier when I initially moved to NYC, you’d think this all would make me happy, right? Why was I feeling so unsatisfied?
I could finally pay all my bills. I had a cute (little) apartment. My office was above my favorite accessories store. I had met hundreds of interesting people. I had been to endless restaurants, cafes, wine bars and pubs. It was summertime, I was in New York City, and I had money in my pocket. Although I had a lot to be grateful for, something was missing.
I wasn’t happy with myself.
Until I found myself within myself- not based on the external factors in my life- I could never truly be happy. Nothing on the outside could make up for what was lacking on the inside. This past year has been an amazing learning experience, from picking up minimalist habits to developing a daily mindfulness practice. Change takes time, but little by little, change happens.
Our society may stress the importance of material things, our job title and how much money we make, but I have been noticing a major shift. It’s encouraging. More and more, people are taking up minimalism, leaving careers that made them so unhappy, practicing mindfulness, developing a deeper spiritual connection and even choosing tiny homes over McMansions. People are choosing experiences over stuff. While luxury items are lovely and pampering yourself is great from time to time, it has been such a feeling of peace to enjoy the simple things over the grand gestures these days.
From Central Park from Spy Pond, this girl will always try to remain mindful- in style.