I was walking through the store yesterday, looking at all the various odds and ends, and thinking about all the silly things people buy. And by people, I mean myself. Over the years, I have purchased some truly ridiculous items, and I can’t even tell you why other than I saw someone else with them. It’s like there is some sort of switch in my brain that flips on saying if other people have those things, then I must need to have them too… right?
When I got home from the store, I started looking around the house at some of the items that still clutter up our space. These are items that tend to annoy me on a regular basis due to either my having to clean them or my just not liking them, yet I hang on to them. And I wondered to myself, “Who is it you’re trying to impress?”
It’s funny, sometimes I look at the remaining clutter and all I see is what my husband piles up. Other times, I look around and all I see is what I keep hanging on to that, in reality, I just don’t want. It’s not just him… I do it, too.
For example, I have a decorative, glass pen holder. I don’t even like it. I remember when I bought it. It was during the height of the planning rage that swept through my social circle. Everyone was buying all the planner supplies and all the desk supplies that would turn a planner/stationary/journaling space into a beautiful, girly area. Pinks and purples, flowers and bows, fancy paper clips and fancy pens… they were everywhere. And one day someone found a decorative, glass pen holder at Target. And then everyone seemed to be buying the pen holder. I saw it in all the pictures and in all the videos – this was also during the big Periscope phase and people were on Periscope showing their “planner hauls” daily. The pen holder seemed to be in every video.
I had to have it because they had it.
I didn’t want to be on Periscope and not have it.
I didn’t want to share my planner pictures and not have it somewhere on my desk.
My desk… I didn’t even need a desk. At the time all of this took place, I had a built in desk. It literally came with the house. But it wasn’t pretty. I had to have a new desk that looked pretty, for the pretty pen holder, and the pretty planners, and the pretty, girly area… just like everyone else.
So I got the desk. The desk that I now no longer have because I decluttered it along with a great many of those planner supplies.
But the pen holder is still here. There are pens in it, but I don’t use them. Out of the twenty-one pens in the holder, I use five.
I was looking at that pen holder, trying to find a reason to keep it, and I just kept thinking to myself that I only bought it because they had it.
And who are they?
Do they even care if I have it?
The truth is, no one cares if I have that pen holder. No one ever has. I purchased it because other people purchased it, and somehow I justified it as a need. I needed to be like everyone else. I needed my pictures and my videos to be like everyone else’s were. I was working to impress people who, since stopping my planner obsession, for the most part don’t even talk to me anymore.
And I think there are other items in my house that were purchased with them in mind.
Them… the people I wanted to impress for reasons unknown. People I can’t even name because it isn’t anyone specific. People who are just out there, whether in every day life or in online life, people who need to know that I’m pretty amazing too.
“Just who is it you’re trying to impress?” I keep asking myself.
I’ve purchased books because others had them, I’ve purchased clothes because others wore them, I’ve bought kitchen supplies because others used them… it’s emotionally, mentally, and financially exhausting to keep up with others.
I threw that stupid pen holder away. At the end of that last paragraph. Literally. I got up and chucked it in the trash. I’m so tired of thinking about them… they… others…
I think there is a point in the minimalist journey where you realize just how much of what you have is a product of who you allow to influence you. I think I’ve reached that point. My journey has just shifted from one where others influence me to one where I listen to my own heart, desires, likes, dislikes, cares, and wants. I think I’m now to the point where I want to impress myself.
That’s life changing.