Recently I read a piece called “The top 10 tips I’ve learned from minimalists” on the blog The ExtraOrdinary Simple Life by Lara Blair. This post discussed how to find the parts of a minimalist lifestyle that work for you and provided some great tips on putting them into practice.
After having a comments discussion with the author regarding single socks and their attack on the minimalist lifestyle and the zen of the human race in general (it made complete sense to us and I may blog about it at a later date) I discovered a comment written by All thoughts work outdoors, part of which really struck a chord with me. The paragraph that particularly caught my eye was as follows:
“I found that a simple, yet very powerful tool for decluttering is to reevaluate one’s social life. A lot of people hang onto stuff because they wanna be prepared for any social situation, be acceptable to anybody and everybody who will judge them. But when you get hard-core-honest about who you really want to spend your life on, you’ll find it’s the ones who don’t give a rat’s ass if you have festive holiday napkins or the right hemline”. – All thought work outdoors, 2014
I loved this comment! I absolutely remember being this way, wanting to be acceptable to all, be a pleaser, I somehow believed that being part of the pack and being accepted and acceptable was vital to being happy. What the hell was I thinking?! How much time and energy I wasted being this way is quite scary to think about. When I was 18 I even drank the same drinks as my friends because lolly water alcoholic drinks were so in, they tasted like Bertie Botts’s every flavour beans, but they were in so I had to like them.
My wakeup call came when I moved to Ayers Rock at the age of 19, for those who haven’t been let me tell you, it’s hot, it’s arid, there is red sand everywhere and pretty much everything about it is not conducive to wearing make-up and sexy dresses. Basically it is about trying to stay comfortable and always being prepared for a sand storm and visits from unexpected wildlife 🙂 It was fabulous and I loved it! I learned so much and I met amazing people from all corners of the Earth and all walks of life, it was a completely unique experience that I value so much. Though I didn’t realise it at the time I now believe having this experience at that age really played a part in shaping who I am today.
While I was living at the Rock at one point I had 3 jobs, I worked full time as an all-rounder for a tourism company (which pretty much means you need to be able to do anything), I was a guide on sunset champagne tours a couple of times a week and I ran Karaoke once a week. I didn’t feel overworked because we had so much play time as well, I explored all the amazing things the Red Centre had to offer, there were many times that I truly felt like I was being paid to be permanently on vacation.
When I moved back to Sydney at 21 I really didn’t understand the friends I had from High School anymore; I didn’t get wearing teeny tiny dresses to go out in 15 degree weather, I didn’t understand them wearing more make-up in one night than I saw in 2 years at the rock and I really didn’t understand these women I knew to be very intelligent giggling and flipping their hair in an effort to get male attention.
Did I feel out of place? Yup. Did I feel like the odd girl out because when I went out I mostly wore nice jeans, a pretty top and flats? Absolutely. Was I always on the outer edge of conversations with my old bosom buddy friends from school because I didn’t relate easily to them anymore? Hell yes! The above coupled with the fact that my grandfather passed away not long after I moved back had me in a pretty dark place; I would try to talk to my friends about how I felt about his passing and found that they just didn’t get it. None of them came to the funeral to support me and after a while I started getting comments like, “are you still sad?” (I don’t blame them for this really as I came to the realisation that none of them had dealt with the death of a loved one).
So I trudged along, I still went out with the group, due to the alcohol education I had received living at the Rock I no longer drank lolly water, or anything else the girls were drinking… it was mostly beer for me at that stage. After a few months I discovered something thanks to a male friend of mine, one night whilst the girls were tearing up the dance floor and we were chatting he divulged that the girls in the group were really intimidated by me. I was shocked and asked why; he gave me the following reason:
- After school rather than go straight to Uni I had moved interstate, lived and survived on my own and thrived whilst holding down three jobs – all my friends were living the Uni life, some working casual in bars, the others living off the bank of Mum and Dad and they all lived at home.
- When I go out I have the confidence to wear whatever I am comfortable in and am happy to strike up conversation with pretty much anyone (pretty sure this came from 2 years in a town of 1500 people where you knew everyone so you talked to everyone) – the girls were nervous about approaching new people, particularly guys.
- I hold my alcohol really well and can keep up with most guys – thanks Ayers Rock alcohol education 🙂 Although I must say that this trait does run in the women of my family for some reason.
- Because I wear sensible shoes I can pretty much stay out all night without complaining of sore feet – no running around the streets in bare feet for me. It also means I appear to have more stamina.
- I am able to talk to guys easily, I can hold my own at the pool table and drink with them – What can I say they had a lot of pool tables at Ayers Rock and I like the game. Pretty rusty now though.
It was then I realised that the girls were having as much trouble relating to me as I was to them. By moving interstate and living/surviving on my own, working and paying bills I had matured significantly. In high school we were all having the same experiences and because my friends then went on to Uni even though they were at different Unis studying different subjects they were still having similar life experiences whereas my experiences were completely different. The fact that we were still making such efforts to relate to each other was quite admirable.
It seemed living there gave me the independence to grow into who I was removed from the variety of influences girls in the city have at that age. I am quite thankful for that now, it helped me discover who I was and I don’t spend as much time trying to impress people by behaving in any way that is unnatural to me. Take me as I am world 🙂