Goodbye Materialism, Hello Happiness

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2017 was the year that I finally set myself free from materialism and it was the best decision I ever made 🙌.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I spent [most of] my birthday and Christmas ca$h on materialistic items in an attempt to momentarily feel happy. Over the years, especially during my college years, I learned that wasting money on impulse purchases not only burns a hole in my wallet but my bank account takes the final blow as a consequence for my poor decisions.

Luckily, I learned the value of money from an early age. My parents taught me that money does not grow on trees and if I want something badly enough, then I need to work hard for it. There is a misconception that only children are spoiled, selfish brats, which may be true for some kids, but I do not consider myself to fit that stereotype. Honestly, it infuriates me when people assume that I possess this quality just because I “appear” to be spoiled, whatever that is supposed to mean.

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Window shopping at the Mall of America in 2017. I left the store empty-handed even though these stuffies are cute. 🍌🎂

Be-grateful_Daily-Inspiration_The-Red-Fairy-ProjectA turning point occurred prior to moving out and living life as a 20-something independent post-graduate just trying to make it on her own, alongside her soulmate. Honestly, I could not imagine my life without my husband. I often wonder, where would I be today had I not met him? Would I still be living with my parents, hiding in my room all day, while caught in a mess of never-ending-drama-infused-quarrels among my friends, especially online? Social media was definitely my fuel for real-time connection, but was I really connecting authentically?

Unlike most of my peers, I try my best to detach myself from ego, likes, and popularity contests. Seeking approval and searching for happiness that is purely ego-driven is a pathetic way to live and sadly, too many people choose to base their happiness on external validation. I see it way too often, especially among my close friends, where their motives are purely ego-driven and they base their self-worth on the number of likes they get on an Instagram or Facebook photo. Personally, I am relieved to have left this realm where I no longer have the need to participate in this glass-ceiling dream of egotistical satiety or having to impress people I don’t like with stuff I cannot afford.

News flash! the ego is never satisfied. 😱

Throughout my young life, I have been trying to please other people and conform because I wanted to fit in. If normal is seeking everyone else’s approval while failing to love ourselves, if normal is relying on external validation such as the number of likes or comments or shallow happy birthday wishes we get once a year from people we barely know IRL, if normal is wasting countless nights dwelling on our past mistakes and wondering why we were ghosted by whatshername, then I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want that extra baggage weighing me down. The moment you realize that none of this stuff matters (external validation) is the moment you will set yourself free and start living a better life.

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I’ve only been to the Mall of America once in my lifetime and I would like to go back one day.

I am curious to know whether or not you embrace minimalism. Also, what are your thoughts about seeking social media validation? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Unsolicited Baby Advice

There is no easy way to handle unwanted baby advice, especially from a family member whom you simply cannot avoid. Unless I ask for advice on parenting, I do not want your opinions shoved in my face. I cannot tell you how many times someone has given me “the talk” about how to properly parent. Worst case is when they give me a lecture on how I don’t properly parent. Headphones in. Volume up. Ignore the world.

Well, I’m not ignoring my baby of course. It’s all of the unsolicited opinions from people who rub me the wrong way. Sometimes, strangers or former friends/acquaintances would walk up to me and comment on my daughter’s appearance in an ignorant manner as if I didn’t already know. Some days I rather not leave the house than be forced to interact with people. In a future blog post, I will talk about this in more detail.

Recently, I have been avoiding family members on the phone because every time they call, I get some kind of lecture. It has gotten to the point where I have the temptation to hang up on people. Lately, I would check caller display to see who is calling. Then I would debate whether or not I’m going to talk to them, and several times I ended up ignoring the call. Last time when I visited my grandmother, she proceeded to give me unwanted advice, and her negativity made me cry. I was an emotional wreck then and still am now, but that was my breaking point. After that visit, I proceeded to ignore her phone calls and attempted to write her a letter instead.

Thought I would share my letter with you like I did in Weeding Out Toxic Friends. Names I won’t disclose so we’ll just refer to her as grandmother*. I have yet to hear whether she received my letter in the mail. I am curious to know what you think of my actions in the comments section↓. Am I being extreme or were my actions necessary?

Dear Grandmother*,

           I am writing to you because I know that you don’t use email and I am not ready to talk on the phone yet. I’m not sure what my mother has been telling you, but take it from me rather than from her. Lately, I have been in a very confusing and difficult place, thus forcing me to leave social media and “cut” some toxic people out of my life. I had cut the toxic people, so that is one step forward. When people ask me how I am doing, I do not know how to answer that question.

          Yes, on the surface I am a new mom and probably a naive one too. However, I am dealing with things that none of my friends or family is dealing with, so I ask that people keep their “thoughtful” opinions to themselves. As a new mom, I know what I am doing and I am getting some of the best guidance from an experienced guy who knows how to handle babies. He has taught me a lot and has made me confident enough to handle tasks on my own. Although you may be trying to give me advice, I do not want anyone’s advice unless I ask for it. Do not take it personally, but any negativity isn’t welcome nor do I want it. If I have questions, I ask my mother since she seems to enjoy keeping tabs on my life and current whereabouts. The stuff that I tell you and others is just a mere glimpse of my life, so any judgments based on these facts are inaccurate and bluntly speaking, seldom true. I do not need guidance, or advice on how to live my life. I also do not need people telling me what I should be doing or could be doing rather than what I am currently doing. As a resolution, I made a promise to myself to live in the present moment and do what I think is the right choice at this present time. It may not be the most logical choice however, but if it feels right to me then I am going to listen to what my heart wants.

          I am here if you want to talk to me. There is no need to question our friendship. Truth is, you are my favorite grandmother and I feel closer to you than my own mother when it comes to personal issues. Lately, my mother has been trying to get closer to me because of the distance separating us, but we cannot live together long term. [rest of the letter has been omitted for personal reasons]. 

Love, Hilary ♥