2016 was the year that I started to embrace lifestyle Minimalism, and it was probably because, unhappy in life, I was plucking at any type of straw to stop myself going crazy.
There is currently a plethora (somewhat paradoxically) of information and resources about minimalism: podcasts, websites, YouTube channels, blogs, books, magazines, and currently a documentary on Netflix. My personal (mis)adventure started with KonMari and rapidly evolved into my commitment to try the Minimalists Game. For several days and consecutive weeks, I was selectively downsizing my life, one item at a time, striving to find the magic moment where life felt good and everything just ‘clicked’.
It dawned on me that, for all the current whirlwind of writings about decluttering your cupboards, connecting with your belongings, embracing scarcity and approaching personal and spiritual growth, the paradigm didn’t extend to friendship – at least, not as ostentatiously.
For months, plagued by problematic friendships, I trawled Goodreads and libraries and sought recommendations for books about friendship. There were books about friendships; they were plentiful, but not right. These were the tales of giggly girls and worrisome women, shopping trips and sushi bars and sunshine days and cocktails – nothing practical, nothing useful, to console me that falling into disillusionment with certain friends was perfectly natural or perhaps even ordinary and, dare I say it, useful.
Ever one to blame myself, I used to carry a burden of responsibility on my shoulders that extended to every single friend or acquaintance or person to whom I felt otherwise obliged. At some point I realised how it was depleting me. I found myself promising through grimaces to certain friends that we’d meet for a coffee, responding with false enthusiasm to countless messages which a ballsier me would have ignored, spending time and money and energy and health on social opportunities which didn’t seem to be leading me anywhere I wanted to go.
The obvious thing would have been to realise that those friends wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with me if they had known how little I wanted to spend time with them. The humane thing might have been to be honest about how I was feeling then and there. The prophylactic thing would have been to be far more choosy with my friendships in the first place.
Be that as it may, I have come to realise that life is short and time is scarce. With so many wonderful people surrounding me, I am coming to decide that, if I can be frugal with money or selective with items in my house, it is not a massive stretch to be decisive about those with whom I spend my time and emotional energy. There are so many wonderful and beautiful people I know, and I want to ensure I can be my best self for them, instead of spreading myself too thinly.