When it comes to our home, the stuff we own should be useful. Not here just because everyone has got it or it is “the norm” to own them. I am not talking about decoration, art or stuff that makes us happy, those are more than useful and an expanding of our personality.
Here is a list of things you might consider not having in your life / home, especially if you live in a big city.
A car. Let’s start with a big thing. If you live in a big city, you do not need a car (at least in Europe.) Public transport is well thought, you can do everything and go everywhere easily. As for us, yes we do not have our driving licence (yet) which explain why we do not own a car but honestly, we really do not need one. Plus, it costs a lot of money and is bad for the environment.
A fridge. It is absolutely possible to live without a fridge. For the story: last august, my ex-roomate left with the fridge and the washing-machine. We had to choose to spend our money in one item because we could not afford to buy both. With a baby, we chose the washing-machine (but for ten years I lived without one and it was totally ok.) Without a fridge, we do need to go more often to the groceries to buy fruits and vegetables, we cook only for one meal in order to have no leftover… but there is no big constraint. We do not eat fish, meat, milk or eggs so maybe it helps. As for the cheese (we do eat cheese), my brother-the-farmer told me that it is better to keep it outside the fridge in a special box: it will taste better (and smell stronger too.) My mum told me I had an great-aunt that lived 40 years without a fridge and died at almost 100 years old… See, very possible.
A micro-wave. No need to explain. A micro-wave is a modern ustensil for hurry people. You really do not need one.
A TV. I can not understand why people still have TVs nowadays. It is pure crap and with the internet, you can choose what to watch and when to watch it. In France in some places, the internet is very slow or barely exist but still: putting the radio on, listening to music or opening a book still are options.
Too many clothes. I have a reasonable amount of clothes (less than the majority but more than some people I guess) and a few pair of shoes and I do appreciate all of them. When we met with my boyfriend, he had only a pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, two t-shirts and a coat… We bought him some new stuff since (for work or a big event like a wedding) but he really is what you can call a minimalist and you know, he is doing fine. If you love clothes, feel free to have a lot of them but only if you really enjoy having them around. If not, consider having less of them and keep the stuff you do wear. You can be stylish with just a few items.
Too many cosmetics. I used to love beauty products and makeup, it was my “péché mignon” for a while. I still own a few makeup products (although I barely use it especially since I gave birth), a shampoo, a product to wash my face, a face cream and a deodorant. It is hard for me to let go but deep down I know I need less than that. My boyfriend use only soap (because I tell him to, if not for me he would use only water…), coconut oil (very useful) and sometimes pure clay. Maybe one day I’ll do the same beauty routine as he does… “If you can eat it, then you can put eat on your skin” he told me. Well, kind of logical but obviously, most of the products that are sold in stores are poison for our health, let’s keep that in mind before buying our next shampoo or body cream. Recently my friend Jamie gave me a soap and a creme that she made back in the US: check the Goat’s Goods it is all natural !
Too many household products. Some soft soap (“savon noir”) and vinegar should be enough. Although I still find myself using wipes or bleach pastilles. Bad girl is still learning.
Any suggestion ? Which things do I not need without knowing it ?
This August with my sister Victoire, we had the chance to exhibit some of our work in an old “lavoir” (washing place), which is a beautiful and very unique place. My sister (Instagram @vikyjune) is a young photographer. She also makes little notebooks and lovely things. I am very proud of her and also of me because it is my first real “adult” exhibition.
Since december, I have got my name on a paper, an official paper, saying that I am the lease holder of an appartment. My first real appartment. The place where I am / we are going to live at least one year. I am a person who can feel herself at home pretty quick and almost everywhere but there is a time when moving a lot can become a problem. When it is not a self aware kind of choice.
I loved all these years (more than ten years already!) living with people, sharing a flat with friends, with strangers, sleeping on my brothers/friends couches. Having the possibility to pack my bag and being the next day to a new place, a new city, a new country was the freedom I did choose for many years.
Since september, I am working in Paris and happily pregnant. The time has come to settle down for a while. Surprisingly, I feel relief. Because we have plans, we are becoming parents and I am not by myself and living just for me anymore. Time has come and I finally know what it is like to have a purpose bigger than my own little person. It feels pretty amazing.
I feel so lucky. A place where I can go anytime! Where I can cook! Where I can put my stuff on the walls and light some candles whenever I want to! Where I can paint and draw! Where I can clean up after my own mess!
People should never underastimate the luck they have to call a place “home”.
As I am in the middle of my second trimester, I thought I would share some tips. Nothing unexpected or that you have never heard before but I can see it is working for me or at least until now. It is helping me to stay healthy and relax during this special time.
Your body is changing and you can get tired very quickly so one advice: take it easy ! Don’t rush, don’t push yourself too hard especially at work. You are now breathing for two, it can be exhausting. On the other hand, you can sometimes feel a lot of energy within yourself. Take advantage of these days to do yoga or to go swimming. It is good in every way: body, mind, spirit. Being slow does not mean being inactive.
Eat clean. Although I tend to eat as clean as I can (I am not perfect), I also never restrain myself. Variety is the key. No meat or fish for me but I am used to do so since I am fifteen. There is not one single rule when it comes to food. Except maybe no alcohol and listening (at least considering it) what your doctor tells you.
Follow an easy and simple routine. I never wear a lot of makeup but I am trying to focus on the quality of my skin. Dry skin is never confortable so I use a body cream (odorless) more than usual. After the first semester, your hair won’t need a lot of caring: the hormones make them grow faster and less oily that is why I tend to keep a very minimalist routine.
Love yourself. Your baby will thank you and your partner will love you even more. It will help you going through the pregnancy, no doubt. Obviously, you will gain some weight but it is for a good cause, it is better not to care too much as long as you are healthy.
Read as much as possible! Having a brain activity is so important. Essays, fiction, non-fiction, books about pregnancy… Whatever. The point is to stimulate your imagination, your critical thinking, to get informations and a lot more.
I know, I said to take it easy. But being pregnant also means that you have a lot of administrative procedures to do, documents to fill in and appointments to attend. I am very very bad at doing these things but since september I try to do it on time because I am no longer on my own. Yes it is boring and not fun but it is for the best. Getting stuff done is important.
I never thought I would be pregnant while living in Paris, I always thought I would be in the countryside. I need fresh air, trees, long walk in the forest or just being surrounded by silence or the singing of the birds. Observing nature is necessary if I want to stay positive. I know I should go more in parcs or force myself to escape the city even a few hours…
Above all, I believe the key is to listen to yourself and your body. Make some small changes in your everyday life if you feel the need but nothing too dramatic. Try to avoid stressful situations and take care of yourself. And as my doctor said “you’re pregnant, not sick.”
In september 2016, I got my cellphone stolen. It was an old one at the end of its life therefore I was not very very upset (except that I lost everything in it, like pictures or messages and that my credit card got stolen as well, not great.) Just upset and sad, this theft happening to a difficult time of the year. Life was playing with me and telling me something I needed to listen, so I decided not to buy a new cellphone. At least I decided to live one month without one, as a challenge to myself and the ultra-connected world we live in.
Matisse drawing a dove, by Henri Cartier-Bresson
This one month soon became 5 months. Here is my status report.
Disconnection. Without a cellphone, you are very aware of what is around you. Living in a big city can be tiring but if you focus on the right things and if you enjoy the time without checking your cellphone every 2 minutes, you will see things you would not have noticed otherwise. Being aware is always a good and salutary state of mind.
No more (useless) phone calls. As you are not reachable, people won’t call you to tell you stupid stuff or to bother you when you want to be left alone.
No more phone calls. At all. If you are not very comfortable when you have to pick up the phone, you won’t have to do it. Never. Same with sms you do not know how/want to answer. I guess it is a selfish reason, but it does not mean you won’t get back to people, just that you will take the time to do it.
More reading. As you do not have the chance to read your emails everywhere or to check your social medias, sms, mms in the subway or at the restaurant, you will be tempted to open a book, an actual book, more frequently. The same will happen if you do not have the internet at home. That is a perfect reason to get rid of your cell phone.
In a way, it leads to a more involving kind of communication because you will actually & only communicate with people in face to face, not via a machine. And you will make eye contact with people, strangers, friends or family. Something that does not happen a lot if your are glued to your screen.
Portrait de Gertrude et Ursula Falke, 1906
Disturbing for your entourage. The main problem will come from your entourage: they will tell you to get a phone ASAP because not being reachable is not acceptable, specially when you are a girl, in a city, late at night. It is not safe, you know ? And when your friends want to plan something, it is true that being reachable only via the internet a few hours per day is not convenient.
Professionnaly? Not responsible. You won’t be able to respond to your boss or collegues calls. You will miss any job opportunities, because they won’t bother emailing you twice if you don’t pick up when they call you. Too bad.
No music. I used to listen music with my cell phone as I do not have a mp3 player anymore. In my case, living without music was the hardest part. Although sometimes, surrounding yourself with silence can be quite enjoyable.
Life is not made for people without cell phone. You need a number to give almost everywhere you go, for administrative procedures to shops, medical stuff to any kind of registration, or even to make new friends. Not surprisingly, it is a very marginal and offbeat move to make the choice to live without a cell phone.
Of course, it is possible to live without a cell phone. You just have to organise your life differently and be prepared to the fact that in these days, not having a cell phone is a very unordinay if not crazy thing to do. Personally, I felt that not having one for a few months was more unhandy and disturbing for my family and friends than for myself. You just get use to it very fast. Let’s see what it feels like to receive calls and sms again !
I am enjoying making these printed-illustrated notebooks. Do you want to get one ? Just ask me at email@example.com -with a few lines about yourself if you want it to be personalized. Two sizes available / Little surprise included Number of pages : variable Open prices