Ever since I first saw the movie Savages when it first came out in 2012, I've been in love with the idea of going back to basics and leaving a lot of material items behind for my own pursuit of happiness. I was in love with Blake Lively's aesthetic after she left everything behind in the movie, and in a way, I still want that life for myself - not the danger, mind you, but being content with experiences and whatever the future brings rather than buying items that won't bring me the same happiness.
That time to leave everything behind has come sooner than I thought it would, and I don't really know how to feel. I'm the kind of person that if depressed, needs to shop for clothes, makeup, anything to feel slightly better. Luckily, I had barely started buying actual brand, so I don't necessarily have a lot of valuable stuff to leave behind, but I still feel so unprepared. When all you've known, realistically, is a life where material things matter in how you're treated and taken seriously in the world, yet yearn to leave everything behind and not care... Well, it's scary because if you're like me, you've had no actual need or preparation to make such a drastic change.
I've recently had conversations with close friends and the statement keeps popping up each time: "You should have no problem starting over again." That sentence honestly scares me because the last time I had to start from the bottom was when I got out of High School and started working for the first time. While the idea of working again after half a year or earning my own money again doesn't scare me in the slightest, what scares me is building up who I was again. Does that make sense? I'm not quite sure there's a way for me to get my old life back, what I had, what mattered to me, and maybe that's a blessing in disguise.
Here's who I was a little over a year ago: very little travel, cynic, health problems, hated my surroundings, but took pride in the amount of clothes and items I could actually afford. I wasn't a snob by any means, but if that was the only thing I could actually feel good about... well, yeah.
So I suppose if I'm to look at it that way, it's a really good thing I get to start over again from almost zero, even if it hurts to leave a lot of things behind. I'm almost torn in two because while the stuff I leave behind was purchased solely by me, I also realize how much I wasted on temporary things rather than use that money to create memories with the people I love. In fact, for the past year and a half that I've been struggling, not once did I find solace in the countless Japanese fashion magazines I purchased, or the fact that I had enough clothes to wear one different thing each day for at least half a year. I found comfort in remembering my latest crazy idea of trying a new place to eat each Saturday with friends, in my first solo trip (a good 16 hours counting the time I lost flying) to Denver to see my friends from middle school, in the concerts I attended and took pictures of.
So here's what I've learned, and am still trying to apply to the recent news of knowing I get to leave at least 80% of everything I own behind.
- Everything except experiences have an expiration date on them.
With time, everything you own will deteriorate: makeup, clothes, shoes, etc. The only things we can really carry with us are our experiences, whether good or bad, they stay with us. I'd read a while back that you should spend more on experiences than you should on materialistic items.
- Have a "backpacker mentality".
I've started referring to this term mainly based on my own situation where I suddenly have to leave everything. It wasn't as sudden as the question of "if your house was burning down, what would you save?", but it was similar. If you're put in a situation where you'll need to travel, relocate, or anything similar, it's important to have that mentality because the first few things that will come to mind are more than likely the things that matter the most to you. I can guarantee that the latest MAC collection isn't going to be on that list. Also, whatever you choose to save, or the important things, should be able to fit inside a backpack or carry-on luggage.
- Material items bring only temporary happiness.
I've seen that quote of "money can't buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a ferrari." But take it from someone who used to have this mentality and thought she was never wrong: you will regret buying these things because you'll always want more and you'll always feel you need that more than you need to travel, to go on hikes, to be with friends and family. They're all really nice things at the time, but you'll get tired of them after a while.
So now, I officially have 24 hours to decide what fits into my own backpack of sorts and start over. Somehow, it feels a lot easier now - maybe not less scary, but definitely manageable.