intentional living

I’m a minimalist.

You might not know it at first glance looking at my house, but realistically I’m trying to be a minimalist, and it’s a work in progress (plus more of a challenge when you’re sharing a living space with other humans).

Being a minimalist is very on trend right now, what with Marie Kondo taking over Facebook memes (and I’d like to say, for the record, that I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up before it was cool). I think some people perceive minimalism as people who keeps their house so clinical feeling that it’s more like a doctor’s office than a home. Some people might adopt that take on it, but for me, it’s a little different.

Minimalism, to me, means living intentionally. Not possessing much more than I need. With that, I value what I have more. I am intentional about what I purchase. Intentional about what takes up space in this small rental home. Intentionally choosing what represents me, what brings me joy to be surrounded by.

This is a far cry from the generation before, who held onto anything and everything in case they’d one day need it. Sure, those people may have their day when they lose yet another extension cord and have to go digging in their attic to find their spare one, but to me, the peace of mind is worth so much more than keeping extra junk around. If I need a new one, I’d rather borrow it, thrift it, or buy it cheap somewhere else.

With that, I am far from pointing fingers to those of you who hold onto all of your keepsakes from childhood with white knuckled determination! This, like most things I share, is just what works for me.

My work is a reflection of this kind of mentality. When shooting film, you have to be absolutely present. Every shot counts. If you push the shutter, there’s no take-backs. No erase button. The number dial will move up one more and you’ll have one less exposure on that precious roll of (expensive) film. Thankfully, as opposed to digital where I’d be connected to the result on the LED screen, film allows me to be present. To fully compose, expose, and focus (literally and with my lens!) on what’s right in front of me.

This has become something of a meditation practice for me. And with any meditation practice that I do, I leave feeling so much better in the wake of it.

What are you surrounded by? Does it bring you joy?

Do you notice?

only one

This post has been a looooong time coming. I’ve hesitated.

No. Don’t put your heart out there like that.

No, do it! You should say something.

But what about the repercussions?

So on and so forth. You get the idea. But if you’re reading this, then you can probably guess that the angel (or devil) on my shoulder spoke loudest.

I have an only child.

I get a LOT of feedback on that, almost daily. It’s gotten better in the past year or so, but it used to be that I couldn’t go to my mailbox without my neighbor asking me, “So when are you gonna give her a baby brother?”

Or hearing people chime in and say “But she needs a sibling!” or “Well you’ll want to hurry before there’s too big of an age gap” or my personal favorite, that “Only children end up dysfunctional”.

My life story is far from being fully written, but to anyone who might be concerned: I absolutely CAN have an only child! And so can you.

Who wrote the rulebook anyway? One is too few. Three, (definitely more) is too many. So two children is apparently the socially acceptable, normal number of children allowed to be had or else the world will cease to turn on its axis the way it’s supposed to.

Aside from the fact that this is absurd, and coming from a well-functioning person who was raised as an only child myself (with the exception of my half sister who is 18 years older than me), it’s extremely hurtful.

I know some people only truly care. I know they ask, comment, suggest out of love. But at the end of the day, it STILL hurts. What if I were someone who was struggling with infertility? What if I were someone who had other causes, stories happening behind the scenes that you weren’t aware of that did not allow me to have any more children? What if all I could think about all day, every day, all my heart yearned for was to have another child? To give my only a sibling? I have been all of these things at some point or another, but whenever I heard a tip from an unknowing passersby (or family member. or friend. or church member. etc etc) it felt like salt pouring into a wound.

Aside from that, what if I were someone who only CHOSE to have one child? What if I did something so crazy as to ask to not be fit in a box? I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am married. I do not have a big family. Those things can all coexist peacefully. I don’t fit into a box, and nobody else should feel they have to, either!

This post is also out of love, a call to awareness, a voice reaching out into the abyss hoping to reach an ear who may need to hear it. I am with you. You are not alone. It really, truly is okay to have only one child. It’s also okay to have many children. Or none. So long as you take care of those God-given babies, who am I to judge?

Below is my best friend (muse) and her family, who have chosen to have more than one child and I love them in spite of it ;)