Life

The Minimalist's War On Wardrobe by Jennifer Chan

There is a crusade, led by conventional minimalists, that need to be stopped. The mission is not focused on a sole person, but rather an idea: clothes are bad. I’m not sure how it exactly started or why it grew steam, but one of the core tenets of minimalism is to pair down all of your clothes into a capsule wardrobe.

Undoubtedly, this was popularized by Courtney Carver, an inspiring woman who, after being diagnosed with MS, reduced her stress through living with less. Project 333, an initiative she started, has been featured on The Today Show, O Magazine, the BBC, and other mainstream media outlets. The premise is that we often only wear 20% of our wardrobe, and we can easily get by with owning 33 items in your wardrobe.

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I Turn 28 Today: Here's 28 Lessons About Work, Money, and Life I Learned Over the Past Year by Jennifer Chan

I’m officially in my late twenties. Like many other bloggers, I’ve decided to review what I’ve learned over the past 365 days. I created this blog, adopted a Texan dog, began ghostwriting for a client, started a small podcast, moved into a new apartment, read some life-changing books, and paid off most of my student loans. It had much more ups than downs.

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You Weren't Made to Do One Thing by Jennifer Chan

No one emerged from the womb assigned with an intrinsic purpose.

The doctor did not take one look at you and say, with confidence, “You will be a fine race car driver!” or, “I am looking at the forthcoming Youtube sensation of 2030.” Life doesn’t work that way. No baby, child, teenager, or even adult, knows for sure one thing that they are destined to do for the rest of the life, and if they say so, they are deceiving themselves.

The reality is that we make our purpose. It evolves as we get older, acquire more skills, experience more things, and form our values and beliefs.

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How Not to Become a Zombie by Jennifer Chan

Sometimes, I feel like a zombie on autopilot.

But instead of looking to feast on living, unsuspecting humans (or suspecting — a zombie isn’t picky), my sole mission is to optimize every facet of my life, as much as possible. Dead from the inside out, roaming the scorched earth in search of life hacks and self-help advice to make me better, stronger, faster.

Want to reason with me? Good luck. Convince my boss to let me take a week of vacation? Sorry, that won’t satiate my appetite. Gift a pair of tickets to my favourite band? I might blink twice to let you know that somewhere, underneath the rot of my exterior and the stench of death, a part of my consciousness is trapped inside—but that’s all you get.

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Minimalist Living by Jennifer Chan

“We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important...We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people...Life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.” ― Leo Babauta

Minimalism comes in all shapes and sizes. For Colin Wright, that involved selling most of his belongings and travelling around the world. For Courtney Carver, it was embracing a minimalist lifestyle to improve her health (she was diagnosed with MS in 2006). For me, my focus is not so much on eliminating physical clutter - although that’s certainly something I’ve done - but also incorporating a form of mental minimalism into my life. A lifestyle that takes into account all the distractions, interruptions, and needlessly complex processes that I encounter over the course of my day. It’s about simple, deliberate living.

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Incorporating Minimalism by Jennifer Chan

A minimalist lifestyle looks different for everyone. For me, it’s helped me pay down $42,000 of student loans in just over 2 years, lend more of my attention to my loved ones, and set me on a path of intentional living. In the past six months, I’ve felt happy, healthy, and at peace.

While I can’t guarantee that what I have incorporated into my life will do the same for you, reflecting on a few of these things may help provide clarity to your life.

(1) Downsize your stuff. Personally, I donated about 70% of my clothes to various non-profit organizations. I realized that I owned several items of clothing that I hadn’t really worn in months. If I didn’t love it, I didn’t keep it. To prevent myself from accumulation creep, I review the contents of my wardrobe once a month to see if I can get rid of anything more.

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This Is What It Actually Means to Have Straight Privilege, Because It’s Not Just About Acknowledging Your Privilege and Sitting On Your Hands by Jennifer Chan

Yesterday, I made a video on an Instagram story and tweeted my thoughts on an article that proclaims LGBT people can overcome heterosexual privilege.

At first, I thought, “Great ­— a problem I’ve been dealing with all my life!” And then, upon clicking the post, that the proposed solution was nothing more than, “consider your lifestyle,” and, “there are savings to be had just going from a 0% savings rate to a 5% savings rate.”

I obviously don’t speak on behalf of the entire community. I also don’t speak on behalf of poor or working queer individuals. But as a queer woman of colour who has a lot of feels about a community I’m proudly part of, here are some things that need to be shared:

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