My favorite place in Indianapolis is called Locally Grown Gardens. Whenever I go home to see mom, I’m sure to visit the small, eclectic pie shop/ restaurant and fresh produce market that I worked at in High School. Perhaps this is where my love of earth-centered, conscious-living began. LGG always captivated me with the spirit of all things beautiful, simple, and meaningful to the chef and owner Ron Harris. I felt at home in the shop with DaVinci the market cat and the clean aesthetic of the kitchen in the back. I’m certainly not a chef or a baker, that’s my husband Daniel. But, the longing to be surrounded by simple, intentional spaces is me to the core.
In my most vulnerable and needy moments, I seek these spaces out. Like many, it took me a while to discover the comforts of a stable place to rest.
Growing up, I moved a lot. With a father in automotive and a mother with a sense of adventure, our family leapt state to state and even over to Germany when I was younger. Dad worked the corporate scene and mom swapped hats from lawyer to mother and back to law, president of my sister’s preschool and occasionally our own fashion designer for Halloween costumes. Each was resilient in their own way through rough pregnancies, the 2008 recession, and eventually, divorce. What they gave to me was a passion for travel, an emphasis on education, and a hard work ethic. Simultaneously, frugality was a spice they sprinkled into my psyche and without faulting them entirely, money has always been a topic which made my palms sweat and my paranoia peak.
Until college, I found no joy in spending the money I earned. I saw the value in investment and practical purchases, but couldn’t bring myself to spend a dime if only to buy a present for someone occasionally or “fit in” when my friends wanted to go to Starbucks or Noodles and Co. Instead, I watched YouTube Hauls, pinterested my plans for my closet and dorm room and stood back to watch jealousy and comparison build up as my peers spent their paychecks on the exact things I had pinned the day before.
When I met my husband in my first year, I didn’t even enjoy when he spent money his money on me and I couldn’t believe how many shoes the man had! Still today, Daniel invests in his hobbies, finds beautiful and practical products, and lays his dollar down on what he values. I’ve always been amazed at his ability to find what he loves and commit his earnings to it…all the way to the wedding ring that I wear on my finger.
Slowly, I became brave about buying pieces that brought me joy. Unfortunately, my strategy to joy only lead me to cheap, short happiness in the form of a TJ Maxx mug, a shirt from a small shop nearby, or a colorful throw pillow. When I started reconnecting with nature and taking classes on the environment in my junior year of college, I panicked as my values and ethics no longer matched my actions. Shopping fast fashion and seeking immediate gratification in the form of shelf trinkets didn’t fit and I stopped buying. However, the urged to purchase returned when I graduated and entered my professional life. I “needed” items to feel fulfilled, accepted, and comfortable. I wanted assurance for myself in the form of materials.
Recently, I made the decision to re-commit to defeating the hold consumerism has on my mind, my heart, and my time. In choosing to live intentionally minimal, I hope to become more conscious about my spending and what I bring into my spaces.
I want this apartment home that we moved to in October to feel like Ron’s shop. A kitchen filled with fresh baked pie placed on crisp white plates and served with a light espresso and cream. A table open and inviting with nothing by soft wood, a little bouquet and a book. Shelves lined with carefully picked product, items with memory, and books, books, and more books. A space that speaks out loud to the person which inhabits and found it. A space which attracts positive, pleasant people who share with depth and honesty about their experiences. A raw, real place that shows change and renews itself often. This space leaves room to breathe and grow and move and mold to what the world brings through its doors.
I hope you will join me in interrogating my origins and seeking this new intention to live a conscious and sustainable life.