LessWithAlicia: A New Journey

At the start of last year, I wrote a blogpost that scared me: Hiking with Hives. This year, I want to write another scary one – but in a kind of different way. That one was all about being more honest and sharing a part of the journey my body has been on for the past decade. Now, I want to be honest about the journey I’m about to start.

I’ve spent a lot of the last two years buying less things so I can afford to travel. Along with that “buy experiences instead of things” mindset, I’ve realized my life was full of things. I had a shopping habit – and honestly, I’m still working to break it. It’s taken awhile but I’m starting to question the worth of something. Like how a “cheap” dress from TJ Maxx or Target could buy me a night in an Airbnb.

So as I started filling my life with moments instead of objects, I became even more aware of all the waste around me. Pursuing a path that was better for my body, for the environment, and for my life – I became even more aware of all the toxins and negativity I was surrounded by. Both literal and figurative.

I was in pursuit of a “simple” life, but also insanely stressed by all the things out of my control. So if none of this is making sense, I’ll simplify it. I want less. And I hope that will give me more.

I want to start watching what’s in the products I use, what’s in the things I eat, where my money goes, and how much I accumulate only to throw out. I’ve been on the start of this kind of journey many times. I’ve done the research on the meat industry, and “fast fashion,” and environmentally friendly practices. And all of it is really hard.

But I think making small choices every day is the way. I’m not going to change over night, but I can give myself time for this new lifestyle. I think by keeping my day to day simpler, I’ll have more time for the things I really want to put my effort into. So all this to say, I’m focusing on being more mindful. And if you’re at all interested in following along or seeing my journey, you can find me here: Intro to Simple Living

Here’s to less stress, more adventure, new experiences, and happy days for 2019!

Things I Left Behind in 2018

As we’re all reading ourselves for resolutions, I want to talk about some of the things I gave up in 2018. It was a great year for me and I think a lot of that has to do with the things I stopped doing, just as much as what I started to do. So here’s five things I left behind that I hope to leave in the past as I head into the new year.

  1. Weighing myself
    After trying to limit my carbs by restricting all bread, I realized I’m a fad dieter in dangerous ways. I find it too easy to restrict. I’m much more likely to say, “I’ll never eat __ again,” rather than trying to figure out how to moderate a certain food group. So when I got on a scale after months of no bread and nothing much had changed, I decided I was done with a weekly weigh-in. It only discourages healthy dieting (at least for me). I wanted to work on what my body could do – not the number it showed. So I learned how my body felt after eating certain things, and stopped focusing on my weight. And there’s something to say about listening to your body and quitting the mental war based on how you feel before and after stepping on the scale.
  2. Buying “fast fashion”
    I can’t remember the last time I shopped at TJ Maxx or even Target, two of my go-to stores when I needed a top. In an effort to save money, I started thrifting. This caused not only my money to increase, but also my mentality of “buy, buy, buy” to lessen. As I entered more of the thrift community, I realized how terrible fast fashion really is from an environmental and social viewpoint. And personally, I was put face-to-face with my shopaholism. Which I know sounds dramatic. But I’m still coming to terms with how bad my spending (on useless stuff) was – I would buy a new top an hour before meeting friends , but like, all the time! Multiple times a week! So in the last couple of months, I’ve stopped letting myself mindless buy cheap clothes. And I’m happier with myself and my closet.
  3. Friends that felt like work
    Okay, this one was hard. I recently had two big epiphanies about friendship. One was that you have to make time to nurture a friendship – but not every friend needs the same amount. And the second was that you don’t have time for everyone who deserves it. Meaning that there’s a lot of great people in the world, and if you try and make time for all of them, you’re going to let everyone down. There’s simply not enough hours in the day. So I had to really evaluate my friendships and do more for the loved ones in my life by giving them more time – which in turn meant the hard truth of taking that time from other friends. This year I gave up a couple of friendships that brought me more negativity than positivity; if all I felt was guilt when I wasn’t able to see them, I knew I had to take a step back.
  4. Burying my feelings
    This one kind of goes hand in hand with the last one to be honest. Guilt is something I struggle with as a people pleaser. So much so though that whenever something happens, I always come away from a situation wondering what I did wrong or what I could’ve done better. Even when I’m the “innocent” party. I’ve been known to let things go, to decide not to stand up for myself because it’s easier to avoid the fight that would just make us both feel bad. Then I stopped holding back my feelings. I started expressing when I was hurt by people. Which I’ll admit, did cause fights for the first half of the year. But through this journey, my friendships grew stronger, my communication improved, and I’ve felt happier overall.
  5. Strict deadlines
    Let me start by saying this was not the blogpost originally planned for today. So this item number is very true! Instead of forcing myself to turn out a less than great blogpost (which will now come your way sometime next week fingers crossed), I stopped holding myself to strict deadlines. This blog is first and foremost, for me. It’s supposed to make me happy and only bring me joy. Sure, it’s still work at times, but I shouldn’t be so stressed out it affects my mental and physical health.
    I put a lot on my plate (in general) but especially these last few weeks of 2018 as I tried to accomplish everything I had planned. And as my “deadline” approached, I got more and more stressed. When I started making hasty decisions – which caused me even more trouble and wasted time – I dropped the deadline. I really want to do it all, and I always have lots of things I’m working on, but it’s okay to take my time. That’s the hardest lesson for me and I’ll probably have to learn it a few more times if I’m being honest.

Side note: The pictures used in this post were some of my favorite portraits of this year – a few taken by friends but mostly taken by myself (with the good ol’ timer feature). I’m glad to see they’re all happy! Happy New Year, everyone!