Back in 2014, I wrote my first minimalism post. I’m re-copying it here for new beginners to see.

” I was working in Shanghai this summer, and my boyfriend and I went to the bookstore just because we were missing reading something in English. While I was reading a book on the factory conditions of China, he was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. I grew up seeing the ads for this book in the subway. I quickly decided to order a copy off Taobao.

In the book, it talks about how the poor are poor because they spend their things on luxuries trying to appear rich. It hit me. All these years, I remained poor because I couldn’t control myself. I was too busy keeping up with the Jones, cluttering my room with more than unnecessary things, while my bank account remained uncluttered and pretty much empty.

   I decided then and there that I was going to stop buying wants and only buy needs. I wanted to keep traveling around the world, and I wanted to just take the basics with me. I have no need for the extra things in life.

 After two months in Shanghai, I returned to Canada for school. I did really good at not buying any needs while I was at school up in Thunder bay (it also helped that I did not have access to a mall. All I did was hit the gym and watch netflicks for fun). The biggest expenses besides food and rent, were buying a heavy duty jacket ($180) for the winter and treating myself to a salon ombre ($140)

  However being back in Toronto, my old spending habits slowly crept back in. I still only bought things on sale, such as clothes and maybe one or two new pieces of makeup. However, I think the lowest point came when I went out 30 minutes before a friend gathering to buy a new set of clothes. Who am I trying to impress? None of my friends came dressed up, and one was even sloppily drunk. I could have stored away the money. I comforted myself by telling myself, the clothes are good and I can reuse them a lot during my practicum.

The other day, I was out shopping with my family and my boyfriend’s family. I came across a really good book. Do Less by Rachel Jonat was great. The book talked about having less clutter in your life in exchange for financial freedom. The book talked changing the hobby of shopping, for having more time to do more fulfilling things like running, knitting, painting, or doing my nails.  Although this holidays my visa bill is twice the amount I thought it would be, I did not make any large or unnecessary purchases such as a designer bag. I did not go shopping online on ebay, and I only bought one sweater during boxing day.

   I think that next year, I will not go boxing day shopping. It’s a waste of my time. The sales I got the days before boxing day were better anyway. I wasn’t crowded or rushed or digging through disorganized, X-large shirts.

   I am disappointed in myself in treating myself to wants, such as a black and also a white fur jackets. The same jackets cost 70$ in H&M and I bought mine for 16$, including the 30% employee discount from work. I wanted this jacket since the summer. I think that several months is a good time for wait for an item.

    I also bought a pair of earrings, some shirts, two sweaters and a scarf. Each item did not cost more than 10$. But these are wants, not needs. So I still felt disappointed in my life. I can’t dwell on this though. I can’t return sales items but I can hopefully learn. It’s all a learning experience. All those lipsticks I thought in Shanghai that I never got around to opening because Christmas gifts for my friends. At least I did not have to waste time and more money on finding them gifts. So I hope I can learn from my experiences. And living in Toronto is filled with expensive temptations. I’m pretty happy to leave the city life behind. So that way, everyday expenses just stay as once in a while luxuries.”

Thinking Big

I read the book “The life changing magic of thinking Big”. I thought a lot of the principles were common sense, such as stop having excusing and do what you need to do. But it wasnt until I read that Mr. Money Mustache sworn by the book that I realized how much potential the book can teach you. I realized how little I had really gotten out of the book.

Since I started to mediate and learn about Zen, I wanted to stop complaining all the time, both out loud and also in my mind.

It has been both a blessing and a challenge. It wasnt until I decided to stop complaining about all the small things that I realized that I complained a lot. A LOT. As I paid attention to my words and thoughts, I realized how ugly all my whining and complaining about small petty stuff was.

I also started to question myself, why did I let all these small things bother me? Why were they such big deals? Why couldnt I think bigger? Look at the bigger picture? Be a bigger person, aspire and focus on more important things?

Just for fun, among the things I complained about (and still, on bad days, think about) is my weight, the amount of money I have, how my social media is doing, and lamenting about my ex. I think thats embarrassing but needed to be written out.

I used to vent and whine and cry to my boyfriend about all the things mentioned above. I allowed them to become thorns in my heart and mind. They became actual illnesses and I carried them on my back.

I decided, no more. I decided, how can I fix my way of thinking? I decided to have more positive thoughts. I decided to look at things from a more helpful angle. Such as, my weight doesnt define me. I should focus on eating healthier and not beating myself if I had food I wish I hadnt eaten and try better next time. I told myself, the amount of money I have is enough to eat so Im grateful. I told myself, my social media is just for fun, dont take it so seriously. And lastly, I told myself, I should look in the direction Im walking in. I cant go back into the past, so stop turning my head that way.

I try to think happier thoughts too. I tell myself, Im pretty regardless of my weight. I smile and tell myself, that getting healthier wont always be easy but it can be a worthy cause if done with the right attitude.

Some days I do better at this than other days but just by having worked on my baseline of daily complaining, I feel a lot more peace and content in my heart. All the things that I didnt address just became these thorns in my side. I thought by complaining to my boyfriend, they would get better. But dumping it on him was irresponsible. It also meant, I wasnt strong enough or trusted myself to carry and figure out my own problems.

My problems were mine, and my responsibility alone, to figure out. And solutions arent as satisfying as the solutions you can come up with on your own.

Im happier with my newer thought process. I hope to keep practicing it in the future. Let me know if you guys have read the book!


Mignon Cobra

Fake it till you make it.

I’ve been recently reflecting on success and what it means to me.

“Fake it till you make it”.

This was the motto of Amber Scholls. When she first came on the youtube scene, I was so smitten by her charismatic personality. Shes a star in the making, I thought. I wish only the best for her!

Shes really popular and famous now, and I like to reflect on what she said. I wondered to myself, did she really fake it till she made it? I think that she didnt fake it. She genuinely was trying to create a life for herself and just reflected it on social media.

And I think thats very beautiful and inspiring. I used to think that you just had to fake it and then somehow youd make it too. But I dont think thats the case anymore. If one wishes to accomplish something, you need to whole-heartedly believe in and act as if it was already yours.

She also showed the world a happy and positive attitude. She was never down, never complaining, always laughing. Who doesnt like company like that? I used to think that if someone complained, they were being real. But I realize now, reality is simply just perspective.

Amber has always presented a positive spin, even on negative events. I remember one time she dropped her laptop into a pool and she laughed it off by carrying her laptop in a sac of rice to try to dry it.

I might have pegged her as a bit materialistic but its easily overlooked because she uses those material things with joy, love and affection. All her negative qualities become adorable. Shes messy but it looks cute, like a messy teenager. Shes crafty and it isnt childish, its genius! She makes you wonder, why didnt I think of that?

She was also resourceful. She made DIYs of popular trendy high fashion pieces. I always thought you either bought the real or you searched around for a knock off. I never thought to MAKE it yourself. Thats creating reality. She knew what she wanted. At the time, she couldnt afford it but she didnt let that stop her. She asked herself, how can she still have it? So she made it herself.

I really admire that attitude of hers. It is always a pleasure to watch her videos and see what kind of mischief shes up to. Her creativity and go-getter attitude is inspiring and Im really happy to see that the world rewards people like her. She provides a service of entertainment and inspiration. Like the title of that book, Think and Grow Rich.

Thats exactly what she did. She used her brain to be creative and imaginative and put into action what her thoughts were. I want to learn to be more like Amber and make my own dreams a reality too!

Let me know if theres anyone that you admire as well.


Mignon Cobra

I can only be happy if I decide to be happy

One of the best and practical principles of Zen is that you can only be happy if you yourself decide to be happy. Its actually a personal decision. There are no external factors.

I love it because its very frugal and easy on the wallet. I no longer need to buy that YSL wallet. I can finally just be happy just because I want to be happy.

Before this, I used to think I needed this or that and then Id be happy. Then I read that material things dont make you happy so I thought Id be happy once I got rid of my stuff. So down that rabbit hole, I went.

Once I started to read more on Zen, I started to enjoy the benefits of being happy just because I decided to be happy.

Many things didnt have as much of a hold on me, both positive or negative. I didnt have such a burning desire to buy this or that, because, I was already happy. I didnt get as angry when bad things or things didnt go my way, because I decided to be happy anyway.

I still have days where I genuinely feel unhappy, but instead I try to reflect on it. If I can fix it, then I smile and stop worrying. If I cant fix it, then I stop worrying because theres nothing I can do about it, so why worry?

This laisser-faire attitude has helped me enjoy the day. I dont think of the future, because I dont exist there. I only exist in the present moment, so I might as well be happy here.

Let me know if you guys practice being happy intentionally.

Mignon Cobra

Cozy is the new minimalism

Minimalism is pretty trendy right now. But I feel like minimalism has been trendy for some time now. I mean, when I first discovered minimalism, it was from a book, Less is more and that was like 6 years ago. That author had probably been practicing minimalism for some years before they wrote their book. So you can only imagine how long minimalism has been around for now, despite it still being trendy.

With enough time being in the spotlight, theres a long list of pros and cons of the lifestyle. When I first started, I was in love with all the pros. Then as I continued to live the lifestyle longer, I saw there is also some cons. And so I started to look at ways I could adjust the lifestyle.

So what I wanted to share how cozy has become my new minimalism. One of the things I didnt enough about how extreme my practice of minimalism was, was how spare everything was. There was no extra things, no impractical things. I didn’t own an extra pillow or fuzzy blankets because that’s not frugal or minimal. One blanket is all I need.

But now, I enjoy the puffiness of all the extra blankets I own. In retrospective, I regret not having cherished all the stuffy toys on my bed, or all the extra comfortable things I owned. Sometimes, we don’t know how to cherish things until we have a shift in mentality.

I enjoy lots of non-essential things such as owning two towels, so I can wash one and have a fresh one to use. I have a toothbrush hol
der for my toothbrush. I have duplicate of make up products I bought aboard.

I also realize that this is a luxury. When I was a student on osap, and I didn’t have a parttime job, I had to be very frugal and very tight. Minimalism was a coping mechanism to glamorize my current state of affairs.

Currently, I realize that cozy is now a privilege and a luxury that I didn’t have and I really cherish it. Perhaps then, cozy is not the new minimalism. But having comfortable things feels a lot better than sparse bare walls.

I don’t think I’m not the only one. There’s the trends of Lagom (Swedish for not too much, not too little, just enough) and hygge (Danish concept for cozy), in which people are finding that sweet spot of not too much or not too little. I think this is a good way to live life. The middle road. This is just as Buddha had suggested, that the middle road is the most suitable. So that is what cozy is for me, the middle road of my Spartan minimalism and over-indulgent consumerism.

The art of losing

Until I started started youtubing, I had always won. I hadn’t realized this until I couldn’t get one thing, which was getting my social media to blow up.

Growing up, I always had great marks. I studied hard and I got into the best university for a difficult program. I was overweight and I lost the weight by working out during the summer in a tough self imposed workout routine at the pool from 8am-5pm. I wanted a certain type of boyfriend and I worked on my appearance so I could get him. I wanted medical school and I got it. There was nothing I wanted that I didn’t get.

In med school, I decided I wanted a productive hobby, so I decided to start a youtube channel to talk about my current hobby at the time, minimalism. I poured in a lot of time and effort but I didn’t mind, because I genuinely believed that under a year, it was only a matter of time before I became famous. But the years started go to by, and nothing changed.

After several years of no results, I finally realized how much of a thorn in my side my youtube channel had become in my life. I felt angry that everything I tried, the amount of time I poured into my work, and the countless stress showed for nothing. My youtube channel remained unnoticed. I felt devastated. I became more desperate and I wanted to succeed, even to the point of wanting to quit med school to fully pursue it.

Nothing changed. Even when I took a break from med school to solely focus on it, I felt so depressed and unmotivated that nothing happened. I felt like years had gone by (I’ve been youtubing for about 4 years) and STILL nothing? I didn’t want to, but I was starting to face the ugly truth that perhaps I just might not be really that good.

It was a blow to my ego, and my mood around others suffered. I started to experience jealousy. I started to feel petty thoughts. I unsubscribed from my favorite youtubers.

In my youth, I had always imagined with certainty that, of course, if I youtubed, I was going to be a over night success. I had that naive level of self-believe and arrogance.

If my favorite youtubers were this successful, why not me? What special thing did they have that I didn’t? I was pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, hard working enough. Or so I thought.

I never wanted to consider “luck” as a factor because that isn’t something I can control. I always believed, if you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

I continued in my obsession with my social media. It was my hobby, my reason d’etre. I wanted it so badly and I felt so angry and jealous that nothing was going my way at all. I watched fellow minimalist youtubers that had started around the same time as me, who, at the time also only a couple of subscribers, now talk about their 100K followers and how blessed they felt. I was so bitter inside.

I kept asking myself, “What about me?…” or “What’s wrong with me?” I started to think that youtube must be a reflection of society on the large and it was finally showing me who I truely was. I was a loser. No one wanted to watch me. No one cared what I had to say.

My self esteem was rock bottom. I was struggling with all the weight of self doubt and desperation. It was also starting to make me ill. I didn’t want to accept it though. I just thought it was the price to pay for success. If I didn’t have talent, then I’d make up for it in hard work. I filmed, editted and only breathed youtube.

My immunity suffered and I got sick. I got vertigo, I didn’t sleep well, and my mood and attitude sucked alot. I saw everything with black colored glasses. Nothing in my real life felt of value. My friends? They sucked because they didn’t understand my youtube struggle. My dental career? That sucked too, it was just taking time away from my youtube channel.

In retrospective, I can see why my channel wasn’t popular. There was no joy in my work. No happiness. My videos were just a mirror of my feelings. No one wants to watch someone struggle all the time. People go to watch youtube to be entertained, to forget their own stresses and worries. Who the hell wants to listen to someone else complain? If I complain once, they can related. Multiple times? Then I’m just a throwing a pity party and no one wants to go there.

And it didn’t seem to help that I was experiencing all the worst technical problems possible. My macbook, after only one 1 year, started to randomly shut down and refuse to turn on unless I hold down the power button for 45 minutes to an hour (I know because I would look at the clock as I did it). Even if my laptop turned on, and I finished editing, uploading was a nightmare. I tried to use the student dorm internet. It wasn’t powerful enough and my uploads would abort. So I’d go to a cafe after I finished school and finished my part time job. It was exhausting. I’d be in the cafe until the servers would come tell me the shop is closing.

It didn’t help that I need to use a vpn to use youtube in China. I was trying to youtube in China, which has a firewall that blocks youtube. In order to youtube in China, I need to pay for a vpn. And video uploads via a vpn are slow as hell. It would take me about 6 hours to upload a video. I would need to constantly watch it to make sure my laptop didn’t die, or that the upload didn’t abort. Which happened often. After maybe 2 hours and a half, either or would happen and I’d have to start again from scratch. One video would take me about 1 week to upload, through dropped vpn signals, or too slow upload, or laptop shutting down.
But I thought, it’s just God testing me, putting obscales in my way because victory otherwise would not be so sweet. So I kept “hustling”. Even on holidays from school, I would spend the entire time just working on my youtube channel. All these sarcifices had to add up to come, right? How how I claim to love youtube if I wasn’t willing to put in the time and effort? Resting was for the weak, I had goals and dreams to chase after.
Money was another issue related to my hobby. I even bought a second phone plan for extra data so I could upload via my phone. I bought filming lamps. I bough wallpaper for my background. However, I had ceased to live in the real world. I didn’t want to spend any money on myself in the real world. I could use that money to buy more equipement or someting related to youtube. Money (beyond food) could only be spent for youtube. I was saving up to buy a new laptop as well. I was like a rag-a-muffin in real life. I let my home become dirty because cleaning my home was time taken away from youtubing. I didn’t care about my appearance because I wanted to invest all my mental energies into my channel. I had a minimalism uniform of the same shirt and pants which I came to hate.

But I wasn’t going to buy followers or pay to promote myself. That felt like cheating in my mind. I wanted to grow “organically”, all on my own. I wanted to believe my talent was enough.

It took my laptop finally dying for me to finally stop and take a long hard look at youtube. I had started to only live in virtual reality. I didn’t find joy in my own life at all. All I did was fantasize about being at a cafe 24/7, and working on my youtube channel. I would be sipping on a latte, basking in the success and glory of my channel. I just played this fantasy over and over again in my mind, like a broken trackrecord.

I felt like I had woken up from a beautiful nightmare. I sat in my room and I stared at my dead laptop, asking myself, is this how I wanted to keep spending my time? Torturing myself? Refusing to spend time with people in real life just because I had to chase this “dream”? What did this dream really mean, at what price was it worth?

I thought painfully, No, perhaps I don’t need to keep beating myself over the head with the same hammer. I began to play with the idea, that maybe I didn’t need to be this obsessed with this hobby. I asked myself deeper questions. Why did I care how many followers I had? Why was I obsessed with success? Why was I taking failure so hard? There were so many times I’d cry out in frustration, saying I was quitting youtube, only to go back to it several months later. If I was really going to let it go, Why couldn’t I really let it go?

I thought of one of my favorite youtubers, Wengie. She had liked one of my instagram photos when I was in university. I thought she was really pretty so I went to see if she had a youtube channel. She did, but no videos or subscribers. I thought, what a pity, I bet she would be amazing if she did. I watched her throughout the years, as she, she worked in an accounting firm and then quit it to keep doing her youtube fulltime. I wanted her life, this was my fantasy. I thought youtube might save me from my reality. I wanted youtube to save me from the mundane life of the 9-5 job. I imagined that once my youtube kicked off, I’d finally be able to travel the world, and get signed by companies and all my wild dreams would come true, just like Wengie. I feel really embarrassed but also relieved to write this, to share this.

I continued in this jealous and depression until something magical happened. I stumbled across this figure skating anime called, Yuri on Ice.

After watching Yuri on Ice, I fell in love with how the main character picked himself up from failure and started to blossom. He did it because at the core of it all, even if he wasn’t super talented, he loved to skate and he was willing to put in the time. If he had spare time, he skated. He skated without knowing he was being filmed and his video went viral. His idol came to personally coach him. He decided to skate again for a second time, however, this time he decided to do it for the love of it. I was in awe, I felt that that was what I had been missing. (Okay, Wengie is not going to come coach me lol).

If I wanted to do youtube, I should not have been chasing success. I should have been doing it with love, with love for the game and with attention to detail.

I started to reflect on myself. It occurred to me, to go through life expecting to always win effortlessly is ridiculous. It’s similar to never wanting to play a video game unless it was guaranteed you would get 100 percent, each and ever time. Ridiculous. Where was the fun? Wasn’t the point of playing a game to have fun?

This revelation made me excited. I told my boyfriend Will, that I finally understood what he meant by, sports teaching you about life. Teaching you how to get up after failing. Teaching you that you aren’t always going to win. Teaching you that there will always be others better than you. Teaching you that there will always be new games to be played. Teaching you that failure isn’t the end of the world. Teaching you, it isn’t about winning or losing but how you, when you do lose, how to lose with grace, not lose your cool and keep going.

Will smiled at me and said, “I’m glad you got to see it for yourself. You never played sports as a kid, so when you finally lost at something as an adult, you didn’t know what it was, or how to express your frustration. But I’m glad you see that you gotta do it for the love of the game.”
I think it’s rather a beautiful lesson that I learned from all of this. I had never had to taste bitter defeat before. I had only known winning. In this way, I developed a new life skill that I think is really really useful. I learned how to be more graceful when I lose. I learned to be more humble and I learned, that even though I lost here, it’s not a big deal. As long as life goes on, there will be new games to play. And I have to remember, these are just games to be played. One of the more important things is, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Do it because you want to, do it because you love to do it, not because of the end result. Obsessing over the end result did both the process and I a disservice. At the core of it, I learned to persevere.

I look back fondly, instead now, at how naively I thought. I smile a bit to myself when I think how desperate I had become in my youtube journey. I wanted to be like one of those glittering stars, without the effort. I wanted it to have come to me as effortlessly as I thought it had come to my youtube idols. But you never know people’s struggles behind closed doors. There’s a chinese saying that goes “10 minutes on stage comes from 10 years practising off stage.”

That didn’t really address what was at the core of my fears. I felt when I started my youtube channel at 23, i had lots of time to grow and blossom. But after 4 years, and no growth, and 29, I felt the fear choking me more. I started to think, “If I was going to be someone, it should have happened. But i’m almost 30 and it isn’t happening. What if it isn’t for me?….”

So I looked deeper into this fear. There is only 1 Lebron James and how many countless basketball players. I didn’t want to accept I might just be medicore. Just another among the masses.
But this experience with youtube let me face that fear that, perhaps, I might just be average. Or at worse, worse than average. Untalented. But as I was forced to face that fear, the fear didn’t look at huge, that terrible. I smiled. I realized, as long as I’m enjoying the process and I am whole-heartedly giving it my all, the result isn’t something that I can control. If I place last in the competition and I did all I could, and I can honestly say, that was my best performance, I can be proud of what I’ve done.

Life is just a series of games. I’ve already won some and now I’ve lost some. And that’s fine with me. I can now lose with grace and look forward to the next game. In the meanwhile, I will enjoy myself as I prepare for the next round.

Yuri on Ice: chasing success vs for the love of it.

I want to discuss about how Yuri on Ice has helped teach me the value of striving even if one lacks talent but has passion.

So I recently got into looking for Muji clothes, which took me to a Japanese article. In the website, it recommended to me more articles, and one of them was about the anime, Yuri on Ice and Japans fascination with figure skating.

I thought that was a very interesting topic. I thought Japanese preferred baseball, and that figure skating was something that only very cold countries enjoyed, such as Canada or Russia.

As a Canadian myself, I decided to watch this anime on figure skating. And just one episode in, I feel in love. I loved how the anime showed the main character as someone in love with a hobby but when it was made as a career, he got to see how painfully inadequate he was. I can completely realize to this feeling. It was almost comical how perfect the timing of the show came into my life.

I have currently been questioning myself and my life choices. I love being artistic and creative but in my old age, I have to face the reality that I am not nearly enough talented to live off my talents. Its a painful thing to admit but I admire the anime for portraying the same struggle in the main character. He goes back home and just lets himself go. He eats pork cutlet on rice and just stays in his room. I found that is exactly what Im currently doing. I let myself go; eating all the comfort foods I didnt used to eat.

But I feel inspired because the main character still, deep down, loves skating. And that inspires me as well. I cant quit, no matter the outcome. (Apparently, in the end, his outcome isnt that great either. But the point was, he got up, and strived). I have to strive even if my outcome isnt good. The whole of life is not to give up. I think Im finally starting to understand this idea of dont give up. Its worse than failure, because at least with failure, there had been effort, hard work and perseverance.

I think I can make my peace with that. I might not be good but I never ever want to give up. I will pick myself up and keep going, even if I know that my result will not be good. The result doesnt mean I am worthless. Not doing anything means Im worthless. Working hard and striving in something one is passionate about is a life well lived.

Mindfulness: I started using a gratitude app

I already felt that I had done everything in my power to live life to the fullness by embracing minimalism, trying to live in the moment and do more of doing and less of consuming.

But some days, I still felt like shit. I didnt understand why. I felt like I was doing it all right. Be intentional in life, mediate, live in the present moment. Journaling, too!

But thats all just mechanical if I didnt have gratitude. I started to become this ungrateful, whiney, pussy crybaby.

Nothing was ever enough or making me happy. Living in the present moment sucked too, because now I was forced to have to face my painful reality and I really hated it.

During one of my whatsapp conversations with my mom, she asked me, what am I grateful? I scoffed and texted back, not much, other than dental school.

During one of my fights with Will, he asked me what am I grateful for in my life? I tearfully yelled back, Nothing, other than dental school! I will be able to make more money and finally turn around this shitty life of mine!

Later he told sadly, even during our fights, when I mentioned things I was grateful, I never mentioned him.

When I decided to change careers from dentistry to something else, it created the space I needed to see the other things that were in my life. I saw with new eyes, how I had never cherished the people in my life. I had sorta just expected them to be there and be good to me. Im really ashamed to admit that now.

So I decided that this attitude of mine is completely unacceptable. This reminded me of a novel I read when I was in high school, about how a woman who was married to a med school student discovered that her husband cheated on her, and justified it as Im a doctor now, if you dont like, you can just leave.

I downloaded the app, Presently. I use it to make a daily log in of things Im currently grateful. I also can read back on the things I had been grateful for in the past. One of the aspects of minimalism is to declutter the past. So I did that. I didnt bother with attachment to the past. But reflection of the past allowed me to cherish my loved ones.

I smile more now and laugh more when I talk with my boyfriend. I dont just see him as someone who has to listen to my problems. Im also very careful if I want to voice a complain. Is it really worth complaining about? Can I fix it by myself? Im not sure but I feel more like a responsible adult thinking this way. I dont want to bother others if I feel I can do it myself. I also felt better, I felt that I handled it by myself.

Another thing I try to be more grateful for is wealth. I used to be really frugal and pinch all my pennies. I never wanted to spend any money. It wasnt a way to live. If any unexpected cost came up, Id lose my mind and take it out on my boyfriend. I must have been a monster to live with.

Its one thing to be financial responsible but if one takes it to an extreme that is hurting oneself and others, it isnt healthy anymore.

So I show gratitude to the wealth I have, and the ability to use it to help improve my life and also share it with my loved ones. I couldnt love them because, honestly, I didnt love myself. Buddha said, to love others, one must love oneself.

How could I treat others better when I was really hard on myself. In my career obsession, it took all I had to offer, I had nothing else over, for anyone else, Will, family, or even me.

I used minimalism as a crutch to just help push me through the day to day. I had no idea or energy for anything, so I glorified having nothing as being a minimalist.

So I resented minimalism for a bit. I quit it for a while. I needed that break, so I find myself again. And now I can happily add minimalism to my list of things Im grateful for.

Im grateful for having discovered the healing power of being grateful. Things and people in my life deserve better, and I feel better for it because I feel like Im living a better life. I feel grateful and that alone makes me cherish what I already have, instead of that endless declutter and repurchase cycle. I have more room in my life and my heart feels bigger when I practice gratitude.

Let me know what youre grateful for!

Muji Minimalistic Clothes

Obsession with Muji’s minimalistic LABO clothes

I recently started to get more into the typical aesthetic of minimalism, rather than the practical aspects of it. I decided I was too Spartan and perhaps a more gentle and conventional approach is warranted.

So I though to myself, what is the iconic minimalistic look? Then I thought, Muji! Off I went to the internet to search for inspiration. However, Mujis older clothing lines have been more typical of normal clothing. Fitted jeans (almost too fitted, hugging the body), with a fitted sweater. Ew, not at all what I see in my mind when I think Japanese minimalism.

Then I found that Muji’s spring 2019 LABO has genderless, straight line clothes. THAT was what I was looking for. Labo is the concept line where they let artists make more abstract designs and if the product does well, they make it part of their main clothing line.

As I get more and more into the minimalism aesthetic, I find myself drawn to the relax, loose, simple and humble aethetic. There is something sobeautiful and inspiring in the cotton material, in a unfitted cut. It gentle says, I’m not concerned with showing off my figure, rather, I want to enjoy feeling comfy in my clothes. Growing up in the era of the skin tight, it feels so vastly different to wear an outfit that isn’t strapped to my figure. I especially love baggy shirts. My under arms feel like they can breathe. I also just recently got into the flowy wide leg pants that are popular in Korea and Japan. As someone with a big butt, I love the feeling of bagginess around my upper thigh area. It feels so relaxed and effortless. I used to wear leggings as my uniform and sometimes to change it up, my skin tight jeans. I see in retrospective, it doesnt look as refined. It leaves nothing to the imagination.

There is also an element of showing ones physique off for others to see. Wearing looser clothes, the focus switches from showing off ones clothes, to instead being a source of comfort for the individual wearing the clothes. As a female, I find this switch of focus much more pleasing.

Another example of me choosing comfort over aesthetic is in my shoe selection. I do not own high heels anymore. I also dont own any dresses. For the birthday, I wanted to go clubbing, but I didnt. Instead, I went to a lounge and I had a great time eating and drinking and no dress or heels were required. On a practical level, I also dont have to wear any wardrobe space to heels or dresses. I also wear them infrequently. Loose trousers are so much more refined and comfortable to wear.

I went through a French style phase and more more dressier pieces but I find myself going the middle road now. I dont want to so bland as my Spartan minimalistic uniform, but perhaps not as dressly as the French. This is why the muji style of clothing really speaks to me. It has a bit more effort than how I used to dress, but less structured and a bit more humble than the French. I am really in love with the understated, and the unassuming.

I believe that the reason for this attraction to this way of dressing is my desire to just relax. In recent years, I have been hustling. Working part time, full time medical school, and in my spare time, I work out, cook, film, and read only productivity topics. Something could be fun, but primarily it had to be productive. I did not live in the present moment, I only lived with my mind in the future and what future benefits I would reap from my current activity.

So I feel that Im switching over for more intentional way of living. I want to be relaxed and happy in my current state of presense. So I find myself looking at the Muji aesthetic. If youve ever been to a Muji store, you will know what I mean. When I first went to a Muji store, my first thought was, this feels like an old Danish home. Later I discovered Muji was Japanese. I think they were also inspired by the comfortable and slow pace of hygge. There is this comfy, cozy, relaxed, happy feeling in the store. I have never felt that in a store before. The feelings I usually get in stores is, anxiety or stress. I hope the sales associates arent pushy, or I hope I can find what I need quickly, Im tired after having checked 10 other stores.

I think, however, the Muji lifestyle and aesthetic is a bit more luxurious and privileged than the store intended? For example, back in Canada, I could only afford to buy the pens there. Now in China, I consider the clothing prices to be outside what a student can buy. Its more for working adults with a developed taste for their own personal style, so they can buy one or two items and wear for many years. I can appreciate that. Ive outgrown fast fashion. Im not interested in looking trendy. The Muji aesthetic is a refuge. I can take a moment to sit-down on their couch and relax, listening to their soundtrack, and watching their display of essential oils gently blow out over the light beige wooden furniture.

I think perhaps its more of the dream that Muji sells, rather than the clothes. (I shop at Unqilo to get my Muji-esque fix, which is also another Japanese store!) When I think of Muji clothes, I imagine that its an artist wearing them. They have a garden, and live near the countryside. They go on picnics, and they are sure of themselves. They are not bothered by society pressures and go at their own pace. In the mornings, they make toast with warm butter and jam, with coffee.

This is the life I want to live, and am currently trying to build. So maybe this is why Im into the Muji style of clothes. I just want to keep buying into the dream. But I can live the dream, Muji clothes or not.

Let me know if this is something that you feel when you buy clothes or become inspired by a certain aesthetic.

Thank you for reading, my fellow minimalists.

3 Favorite Minimalism habits

Since starting my minimalistic lifestyle, there are three concepts or ideas that I have implemented in my life which I want to share with you today.

1) Clear surfaces
If your main goal is to just go for that minimal aesthetic thats super on trend, then I think the biggest hack is keeping your surfaces devoid of things on them. Maybe just one item can be placed on the surface. For example, your favorite one cup placed strategically on the corner of the table. Done.

But to discuss this from a non superficial aspect, there is more practical reasons for keep surfaces decluttered. For example, the items that go on the surface can now be put into the drawers. Drawers now need to be decluttered and organized to make access easier. Its like a flow of organization that flows downward into the other items. The next practical reason for keeping surfaces decluttered is that the surface is now ready to be used immediately for the next activity. There is no more of that arm-swooshing motion to help shove the items on the table off and out of the way. Another reason is if you live in a tiny home or a dormroom. You might only have one table. I only have one table, so I have to make this table my everything. Its my study desk, my video and filming area but also my dinner table. In my opinion, its too annoying and frustrating to try to film while I still have my books all over the place, or having plates, dishes and cups while I try to study.

If a person has the luxury to have multiple desks, then they dont need to worry this current situation. But if someone is trying to embrace minimalism, I recommend for both an aesthetic and practical reason, keeping surfaces clear. I don’t mean you need to throw into the garbage all the things you need on the top of surfaces, rather, just be mindful and keep your surface clear, in whatever manner that might mean to you.

2) Using your possessions as house décor

I think I got this idea from how millionaires live their lives. The book recommended instead of tacky décor, to put on display ones hobbies. I think this was a really nice touch, because before this, I was really Spartan about my home. Nothing on the walls, nothing on tables, almost nothing in the drawers. But living like this, this meant that my stuff had no where to go. This tip really changed my life. Now, I put on display my only 2 handbags. They look so pretty and aesthetic in my cupboard. I put on display my teapot and teacup on my faux- marble desk. I took my succulent plants and placed them beside my treadmill. Everything now looks more hygge (Danish concept word for cozy) and rich, but I didnt go out and buy anything at all. Now my things are my decoration. And I can look at them with pride now. Before they used to be this eyesore, like, material possessions getting in way of me being free from material things, but no more! I love how my workout clothes are hung prettily on a rack beside my treadmill. I took out ALL my makeup from storage and placed it all on displace. It feels very indulgent and I love it, because this items represent my hobbies, and it isnt that practical anymore, shoving them in closets to die and rot. Bring them out and it feels good because unlike my consumerist days, these actions are mindful, intentional and filled with gratitude. I used to look at my working out clothes and think, Uh, I need a new sports bra. This one doesnt inspire me to work out anymore. Now I think to myself, Wow, theses pair of sports pants and bra have been with me for the past 3 years. They went through my entire weight loss journey with me. I have so grateful for how long lasting these articles of clothing has been.

3) Living one aspect how you live all the other aspects

The intentionality, minimalism and gratitude that I practice when I practice minimalism can also been applied to all other areas of my life. I keep a simple yet efficient workout routine. I long ago decluttered my 1 hour and 45 minute routine. Aint no one got time for that.

I eat quick to make but highly nutritious meals. For example, I make assorted vegetables that I whip up in a hotpot, and I microwave protein such seafood or eggs. I found out, it takes me about the same amount of time to make these meals as it did for me to swing by the student convenient store and buy bread with milk (nothing wrong with that. I love milk and bread but I hardly ever ate a vegetable before. Or protein for that matter). Im a lot healthier now than before, for the same amount of cooking time.

Instead of having a closet with the boring minimalism outfit, I have a few more assorted pieces but they are versatile and more meaningful, than the same five repetitive basic pink wash t-shirts. I can wear a grey turtle neck, or a black cashmere sweater. I can change my slacks into navy blue or beige or brown. The color combinations are more and this is more effective, for about the same amount of clothes in my closet. 5 basic Ts in the same color, with only 1 pair of pants, meant I looked the same everyday and I got mentally sick of that after 2 years. I tried to live with those very successful people with a uniform but that wasnt me. I didnt find myself THAT productive, rather, I just felt neurotic, working out two times a day because I had too much time to be productive. Again, how I lived in one area of my life, is how I lived the other areas of my life.

I hoped you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you implement any of these in your life! Carry on, fellow minimalists!