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Minimalism is not a style preference; it’s a way of life.

I have just started listening to The Minimalist’s Podcast. I put it on the car on the days I drive off to the office, which is half an hour from where we live. I’m already super inspired and I’m loving the soothing content, which, as the name refers to, is about minimalism as a lifestyle. Alongside that I’m also listening to the audio book version of “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” again (this time together with my husband who enjoys it just as much as I do), I wanted to write this post and share some thoughts about this lifestyle that I have also been pursuing for the past 3-4 years. Because minimalism is not a style, nor is it about owning as little as possible. It is about feeling a greater degree of focus and a relief from the things and situations that don’t add any real value to your life.

Jeg er netop gået igang med at lytte til The Minimalist’s Podcast. Jeg sætter den på i bilen de dage hvor jeg kører på kontoret, som ligger en halv time fra hvor vi bor. Det passer med, at jeg kan lytte mig igennem et afsnit på køreturen og jeg er allerede super inspireret og vild med indholdet, der jo – som navnet antyder – handler om minimalisme som livsstil. Sideløbende med, at jeg er igang med at genhøre “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” (denne gang sammen med min mand, der er ligeså vild med den som jeg), så fik jeg lyst til at skrive dette indlæg, og dele lidt strøtanker om denne livsstil, som jeg selv er kommet på sporet af i løbet af de sidste 3-4 år. For minimalisme er ikke en stilart og det handler heller ikke om, at eje så lidt som muligt. Det handler tværtimod om, at føle en større grad af fokus og en befrielse fra de ting og situationer, der ikke tilfører dit liv værdi.

With all decisions comes problems; even the good ones

I have been very open about my shifts from job to job since I graduated a couple of years ago and there is one important thing I have learned in this process: no matter what your dream job is, challenges (a nicer word for problems) will always be a part of that job. Well, that doesn’t just go for your job, that’s life in general. I don’t believe in a life where you only chase the good and when the minimalist movement says you should ask yourself weather something adds value to your life, it’s not about escaping certain situations that perhaps doesn’t make you feel comfortable at first. If you pursue this way of thinking, you’ll end up running for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that although something feels good, it doesn’t have to be good – in the same way that something that feels bad doesn’t have to be bad. The question should therefore be what kind of problems you have the energy to manage in your everyday life. Because problems that take over your everyday life will end up stressing you out. I chose to retire from my position as a designer, both because the passion for sketching clothing just wasn’t there for me anymore, but especially also because there were too many of the challenges the job brought with it that I just couldn’t see myself dealing with. For example, I couldn’t picture myself traveling so many times a year and being away from my family so often, even though that didn’t even become a regular part of my job . I just knew it wasn’t for me.

Now I work part-time and I’m also self-employed, I have more flexibility and although it sounds like the coolest thing in the world, remember that this scenario has challenges and consequences as well. My salary fluctuates wildly from month to month – most months, I actually earn less than when I worked full time and I’m alone much of the time too. But both these challenges are something I’m okay with because a flexible job has proven to be just right for me. It has now been 4 months and I have never felt as comfortable in the labor market as I do now. Yes, I still have bad days (we all do), but I don’t come home crying and burned out anymore. The challenges I face can still be tough, but I can handle them and I feel fine with the fact that they are part of my everyday life. Now I can be more present with the people who mean the most me, because I’m more balanced. Minimalism is about cutting to the bone and reassessing what really adds value to your life and I have learned to master this especially by looking at the problems a given situation brings with it, because as I said, they will always be a part of life.

Jeg har været meget åben omkring min vandring fra job til job siden jeg blev færdiguddannet for et par år siden, og der er især én vigtig ting jeg har lært i den proces: uanset hvad dit drømmejob er, så vil en eller anden afart af udfordringer (et pænere ord for problemer) altid være en del af jobbet. Det gælder iøvrigt ikke kun dit job, men stort set alt det du længes efter og det du mener gør dig lykkelig har en skyggeside. Jeg tror ikke på et liv, hvor man udelukkende jagter det gode, og når minimalist bevægelsen siger du skal spørge dig selv, om dette nu også tilfører dit liv værdi, så handler det altså ikke om, at lukke øjnene for problemerne eller flygte fra situationer der ikke udelukkende får dig til, at føle dig godt tilpas. Først der ender man med, at løbe resten af sit liv. Husk på, at selvom noget føles godt behøver det ikke være godt – på samme måde betyder noget der føles ubehageligt ikke at være det. Spørgsmålet bør derfor være, hvilke problemer du har overskud nok til, at kunne klare i din hverdag. For problemer der overtager din hverdag ender med, at gøre dig udbrændt. Jeg valgte bl.a. at træde tilbage fra stillingen som designer, både fordi jeg bare kunne mærke min passion for at tegne tøj slet ikke var der, men især også fordi der var for mange af de udfordringer jobbet fører med sig, som jeg personligt ikke kunne se mig selv i. Jeg kunne fx ikke se mig selv i det der med, at skulle rejse så mange gange om året, og være væk fra min familie så ofte på trods af jeg ikke engang var nået dertil, hvor det var blevet en fast del af mit job. Jeg vidste bare, at det skulle jeg ikke.

Nu arbejder jeg på deltid og er halvt selvstændig, jeg har fået mere fleksibilitet og selvom det lyder som det fedeste i verden, så husk at selv dette scenarie har udfordringer og konsekvenser. Min løn svinger helt vildt fra måned til måned – de fleste måneder tjener jeg faktisk mindre end da jeg arbejdede på fuld tid og jeg er alene meget af tiden. Men begge dele er noget jeg er okay med, fordi et fleksibelt job har vist sig, at være mere frugtbart for mig. Der er nu gået 4 måneder, og jeg har aldrig følt mig så godt tilpas på arbejdsmarkedet, som jeg gør nu. Jo vidst har jeg stadig dårlige dage (det har vi alle), men jeg kommer ikke hjem grædefærdig og udbrændt længere. De udfordringer jeg bliver stillet overfor kan stadig være hårde, men jeg kan håndtere dem og har det godt med, at de er en del af min hverdag hvilket nu betyder, at jeg kan være mere til stede sammen med de mennesker, der betyder allermest for mig. Minimalisme handler om, at skære ind til benet og revurdere hvad der virkelig tilfører éns liv værdi, og det har jeg lært at mestre ved, at kigge mere på de problemer en given situation fører med sig, for som sagt, så vil de altid være en del af livet.

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas there are. – Steve Jobs

This leads me to the above quote by Steve Jobs. It may be one of the main reasons why minimalism is about living life with more focus because you cut away all the things that don’t align with your true values. It’s a long process in itself and the process is also not static because you change as the years pass, as will the proces and outcome be different from person to person. As a fashion enthusiast, this statement has proven to be the case after I started the capsule wardrobe project. It made me realize how much value there is in saying no to fast-changing fashion and instead say yes to personal style, which as you know, lasts and is also a more sustainable approach to fashion. That in itself has resulted in a much smaller wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean it will be the same for everyone, though a certain amount of art of limitation will probably always be the case. Now I am having fun with fashion in a way where I no longer compare myself to others and constantly crave for the new items. I can be present in other (to me) more meaningful situations while at the same time feeling comfortable in my clothes and my style. It makes my inner fashionista happy and confident in a completely different way, just like this way of thinking, has spread out to of other aspects of my life as well.

So again, I would like to point out that the minimalist movement is about so much more than how many belongings you may or may not have, just as it’s not just a style preference. But when you begin to question the things that make up your life, you will soon discover that there are probably many things you can easily do with out, in favour of a more balanced, focused and, not least, sustainable life.

Det foregående leder mig videre til ovenstående quote af Steve Jobs. Og dette er muligvis én af de vigtigste årsager til, at minimalisme handler om at leve livet med mere fokus, fordi du vælger alt det fra, der ikke stemmer overens med dine holdninger og værdier. Det er en lang proces i sig selv og processen er heller ikke statisk fordi du ændrer dig med alderen, ligesom den vil være forskellig fra person til person. Som modeinteresseret har dette især vist sig at være rigtigt, efter jeg begyndte på capsule wardrobe projektet. Det har fået mig til at indse, hvor stor en værdi der er i, at sige nej til hurtigtskiftende mode og i stedet sige ja til personlig stil, der som bekendt varer ved og på den måde også er en mere bæredygtig tilgang til mode. At det i sig selv for mig har medført en meget mindre garderobe, er ikke énsbetydende med det vil være det samme for alle. Men en form for begrænsningens kunst vil det nok altid være. Nu kan jeg have det sjovt med mode på en måde, hvor jeg ikke længere sammenligner mig selv med andre og konstant længes efter det nyeste nye. Så kan jeg være til stede i andre (for mig) mere meningsfulde situationer, samtidig med jeg føler mig godt tilpas i mit tøj og min stil. Det gør min indre fashionista glad og selvsikker på en helt anden måde, ligesom denne måde at tænke på, har spredt sig som ringe i vandet til alle mulige andre aspekter af mit liv også.

Så igen vil jeg gerne påpege, at minimalist bevægelsen handler om så meget mere, end hvor mange ejendele du er i besiddelse af, ligesom det for mig heller ikke kun kan siges at være en stilart. Men når man begynder at sætte spørgsmåltegn ved de ting man fylder sit liv med, så vil man uanset hvad hurtigt opdage, at der sikkert er mange ting man sagtens kunne undvære, til fordel for en mere balanceret, fokuseret og ikke mindst bæredygtig tilværelse.

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The Comments

  • Helle Steen
    16. February 2018

    Læsning jeg godt gider bruge min tid på. Du inspirerer mig og åbner mine vidder. Tak ?

    • signeh24
      > Helle Steen
      18. February 2018

      Det er jeg glad for Helle! <3

  • Justina
    16. February 2018

    “The question should therefore be what kind of problems you have the energy to manage in your everyday life.”
    I have never thought of assessing opportunities or options this way, but it makes so much sense.

    • signeh24
      > Justina
      18. February 2018

      I know, right?! I learned that in the book “The subtle art…” that I mention in this post. Such an eye opener! <3

  • Yii-sip
    20. February 2018

    I love reading your blog. You come across as a very thoughtful and sensible person. In a world of too much polarisation and extremism, I find your balanced aproach refreshing. Minimalism in it’s extreme version is just a tiring as overconsumption. Thank you!

    • signeh24
      > Yii-sip
      22. February 2018

      Thank you so much for this sweet comment! <3 All my platforms are meant to be places you can tune in and just breathe for a sec, so I'm glad you appreciate it! <3 xx

  • Elena
    10. March 2018

    Dear Signe,
    Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts and experience.
    I’ve been watching your Youtobe channel for about 6 months and actually started from the style and wardrobe content. I like your ideas and philosophy of minimalism that can be implemented into different areas of life… you inspire me… thank you so much!

    P.S.
    I work as a designer too.. architectural design. Totally understand difficulties you’ve met with. Good luck to you

  • SE A
    1. April 2018

    hello.
    I’m Se A(from Korea) I don’t speak English as well but I’m so inspired with your thought and idea. so I decided to comment here.
    your idea is so good and I think I can follow it for my self easily.
    Thank you 🙂

    • signeh24
      > SE A
      1. April 2018

      Thank you so much for your comment! It means the world to me! <3

  • Stella
    3. April 2018

    Hi Signe
    I just found your youtube channel a few days ago and I fell in love with your content.
    I too am trying to find a approach to declutter my life and possessions. It is really hard as I am just beginning. As I watched your latest video, shopping is just a way to escape vulnerability, I couldn’t agree more. It made me looked into myself and how I am aggressively shopping to escape certain aspects of my life. Things have to change. Wish me luck and keep on producing awesome content!

    • signeh24
      > Stella
      3. April 2018

      Dear Stella <3 Thank you so much for your lovely comment. And welcome to my little part of the internet! I always get so happy when a new follower checks in like this. I wish you lots of luck with your journey! Hopefully you will grow and enjoy it as much as me. Hugs!