When I was younger, my family and friends referred to me as the social butterfly.
From the minute I arrived home from school, I would rush to the phone (a landline at the time…talk about outdated) and call my bestfriends to see if they were around to play. “I’ll be home for dinner,” I would cry out to my mom, dashing out of the house before she could even get a word in.
Those were the days where it didn’t matter one bit what I was wearing, for my jeans would become grass stained by the end of our final rounds of tag. It didn’t matter that my hair was frizzy and falling out of my ponytail. And it sure as heck didn’t matter what my body looked like. I was as wild and free as can be because I was not focused inward, but on the interactions I was having with my friends in that moment.
Throughout the years I think I have lost touch with that kind of social life. Perhaps the technological age has something to do with this phenomena, but I like to attribute the greatest factor to our society’s obsession with material things. Back then games of hide-and-seek and ‘house’ were the only form of entertainment we needed to be happy and present. Nowadays I feel attached to the tangible items: my phone, my clothes, my makeup, my hair, etc., and I think many millennials would probably feel the same way.
However through self-awareness and my recent experience with travel, I have learned that the tangible items bring me much less joy than social interactions and actual experiences. Not once while I was vacationing in Spain did I have the desire to change my whole wardrobe or put on pounds of makeup to please other people. I was focused solely on absorbing my new surroundings. But it shouldn’t take going to a foreign country for us to feel this sensation.
My thought is that all we need to do to get in touch with our younger, unmaterialistic days is to pinpoint our awareness on human interactions instead of our technology, clothes, and makeup. Much easier said than done though, right? Like anything else in life, becoming aware of the present moment and the people around us will take patience and time. And in the process we will still probably face some serious FOMO (fear of missing out…a wonderful acronym that I just learned), but that’s why it’s called a process. We can’t just reverse our mindset like the flip of a switch. If it were that easy, life would be a drag.
To start my journey of a life with less stuff and more interactions, I plan on easing in with the simple acts of spending less time on my makeup (or not wearing any at all!) and spending more time talking to people I meet at the farmer’s market, skipping the shopping day and opting for a bike ride with friends, and sitting down with my family for a home cooked meal instead of catching up on my bloglovin feed with a plate of avocado toast in my bedroom. It’s the little things that add up to make the biggest difference.
I like to think of this intention to become more social as a minimalistic cleanse for the soul. Material items can’t grant us the long term joy that human beings and experiences can, so let’s indulge in spending time with good company.