How mindfulness, minimalism, and intentional living have the power to change the way we consume
"I let go of the life I thought I should have"
Written for Joon + Co. by Kelly Brown - Writer, coach, barre instructor, community leader, master multi-tasker, basically superwoman.
Kelly is wearing the Rib Turtleneck by Alabama Chanin, the Imogene Jean by Imogene + Willie, the Raw Edge Swing Jacket by Hackwith Design House, the Chloe Dress by Kristinit, and the Full Moon Pendant Necklace from KIND Jewellery. Use the links above to shop Kelly's looks.
Kelly's shirt, the Rib Turtleneck by Alabama Chanin, is made from 100% certified organic lightweight cotton and her jeans, the Imogene Jean by Imogene + Willie, were patterned, cut and sewn in the use from 12.5oz. American made Cone Denim.
I have, essentially, always been waiting for life to really begin. Waiting for the perfect job, the right house, the best “little black dress.” I have considered myself to be on the verge of becoming – becoming something (or someone) else and waiting for the life I thought I should have. When I lost 40 pounds after college I thought, “This is it!” and when it wasn’t, I thought a new job, getting married, or publishing my writing would really give my life that extra push to juststart already.
But through all that waiting, here I am. Time is passing, and I am still here, waiting. I believe as humans that we unconsciously live our lives waiting for the “Big Moment.” You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the moment in the movie where the key event happens that splits time into a before and after and it changes everything. It’s the record deal, the wedding, a touchdown or some other worthy event that changes the course of the main character’s life. I had visions of that big moment in my life but all I was doing was going to work, coming home, working some more and then going to sleep. I was ready, and yes…waiting, for that big moment. I expected my average life to fade into the background and this big moment to carry me away into some new reality like a boat out to sea.
But then one day I woke up and decided to stop waiting. I let go of the life I thought I should have and started to focus on the one I was walking through, each day, morning to night. Truthfully, this normal, simple, day-to-day life is beautiful on its own without all the cars, little black dresses, and big, life changing moments. That’s a hard truth to admit.
We all know and hear about mindfulness. While it might seem like some yogi, philosophical, 1970’s hippie mindset, mindfulness and living consciously is an easy change you can apply to your life. For me, it meant the following:
- Cleaning out my wardrobe and focusing on beautiful, ethically sourced pieces
- Practicing and implementing mindfulness into my morning routine
- Transitioning from a maximalist to minimalist lifestyle.
It’s true that in life less is more. I am by nature a maximalist. I’m the crazy lady who lets greeting cards pile up on their desk, stacks coupon books that never get used, and always keeps that one item of clothing because you never know when you’re going to need a leather, zip up crop top that you feel waaaaay too uncomfortable in (cringe).
This summer, I purged my closet of any piece that I didn’t cherish. That meant all those tops from Forever 21 that were paper thin and worn once were donated and/or recycled. At the end of my purge I had nine (YES – NINE!) bags to donate. I wanted to cry. How could I let myself hoard that much stuff?! This was my “big moment.” While it didn’t carry me away into some fantastical dream world, it opened my eyes to a lifestyle change that needed to happen.
From that moment on I began a practice of intentional purchasing. I wanted to fill my closet with wardrobe pieces that meant something, and I wanted them to be pieces that would last years. This Slow Fashion movement prioritizes quality design, creating and buying apparel for longevity and slows down the production process encouraging fair trade, wages and environmentally conscious design and implementation. Slow fashion is the best fashion.
It wasn’t just my wardrobe that needed to change, it was my entire lifestyle. I wasn’t ready to give up all my family heirlooms, or the artwork on my walls that I really do love (you can’t just throw away a Marushka!) but I had to start asking myself, “When is enough really enough?”
Maybe we should reference Brand Pitt from the movie Fight Club: “An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
This quote came out before the smartphone generation. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram…we get to see how everyone else is living and man does it look great. All it takes is 5 scrolls through your IG feed before that envy sets in. The friend from High School just purchased a new car. That guy you used to work with is showing off his new iPhone and before we know it we start the cycle all over again… “If I just had [x item] I would be happy.”
Kelly's dress, the Chloe Dress by Kristinit, is made in LA and a portion of the proceeds go to Every Mother Counts as an ode to her sister passing away after childbirth. Kelly's necklace, the Full Moon Pendant Necklace from KIND Jewellery is 100% hand made in London from 80% recycled materials using local artisan suppliers.
In these moments, I must dig deep and practice mindfulness. Why do I really want that item? Will it really lead to a happier life? What if I saved that money and spent it on a nice dinner or perhaps a vacation?
Less is more doesn’t have to be an overnight switch of the light from maximalism to minimalism. It can be a slow process through the years. Maybe you just change one part of your life, like purging your wardrobe or using your own totes instead of plastic bags at the grocery store. I’m here to challenge you to alter your mindset. Purchase goods with a mission that you believe in, reflect on your life and find the beauty in whatever stage you’re currently at, and focus your energy on commitments you believe in.
For inquiries, contact Kelly here. See the top of the post to shop Kelly's looks.