The Little Black Dress of Life
What’s your ‘Little Black Dress’?
When I was an undergrad, one of my roomates nicknamed me “Stuffanie“. Yup, you guessed it; because I had a ton of stuff. Ha. ha. Most of it was school supplies, clothes, but a lot of it really was just ‘stuff’. Actually, I still have much of it. Meaningless stuff that takes up precious real estate in my tiny apartment. I recently undertook a project to declutter the house since my fiancé moved in and we had doubled up on a lot. I decided I would give away stuff that I didn’t want or need, sell some of the more valuable things to make room, and only keep clothing that fits. I found out the hard way, that is much easier said than done.
Purge the Meaningless ‘Stuff’
I started in the kitchen, because I knew that would be the easiest since there wasn’t really anything that I was emotionally attached to in there, and it would prepare me for the rest. We purged most of our mis-matched dishes, and traded them in for a nice set (my parents were moving and we got lucky). Turns out I have a thing for unique antique glasses. They just make me so happy when I use them! So I kept them.
Then onto the bedroom [insert scary organ music here]. Without a doubt, I had more than enough clothing to wear something entirely different every single day of the year. I still had clothing from my childhood, and I’ve moved more than a handful of times! I made 2 piles: KEEP: I wear this regularly or I wear this on special occasions & PURGE: This doesn’t fit or I haven’t worn this in forever. I quickly realized that a boatload of my stuff didn’t even fit, I forgot I even owned it, or they still had tags on them! Into the purge pile they go. Then there was my little black dress. I had bought it a few years back and loved it, even though it was the most expensive dress I had ever bought (I ate leftovers, skipped my morning Tim’s run, and gave up on fun outings for months to be able to afford it!). With a huge smile on my face, I put it on so I could spin in it a few times before putting it back in the closet and continuing my purge. My smile quickly faded. Since the last time I wore it a year before, I had packed on the pounds and it didn’t fit. Not even close. I literally cried over a dress. My little black dress no longer fit. The beautiful black dress that flowed around you when you twirled, the dress that flattered my curves, the dress with the impeccable craftsmanship, the dress that made me smile every time I looked at it. Not anymore. It no longer made me happy, but I couldn’t bring myself to let it go just yet. Fast forward to a few weeks later when I needed to go buy a new black dress for a function I was attending. After an unsuccessful shopping trip of not finding any styles that looked good on me at countless stores, I decided to double back to the original store and check out their classics. That’s when I saw it. THE dress. MY little black dress! And it was my [new] size! Once again, I cried. Over a dress! But this time they were happy tears. I didn’t even look at the tag; I didn’t care about the price, I just bought it. I got my joy back. And it was worth it.
Invest In Your Happiness
Of course we can’t buy everything, but wouldn’t be great if we could fill our lives and our hearts with only things that made us feel such joy? I actually started a personal project recently to do just that! –>365 Days of Happy
We all we find joy in the most random places, like antique drinking glasses, the perfect smelling soap, your favourite piece of clothing, or that super soft and fluffy pillow on your couch your mom bought you. Often times, we find joy in our memories, which is why those items can seem so important, especially when they are a family heirloom.
I once had a client who splurged on a family portrait to hang on their wall, who ended up getting a much bigger one than they could afford at the time because it was their first family photograph with their newborn baby, and they absolutely loved it. They took advantage of the payment plan and got the larger size they really wanted. When they finally had it paid off and picked it up a few months later, the tears in mom’s eyes were pure bliss. I was overjoyed that I could make another human so happy. I knew they would cherish that photo down the road, but at the time neither of us realized just how much. Years later, they wrote to me:
I am so glad we went ahead with the canvas. Every day my little boy gets older and bigger, and it is such a rush to see us all so happy staring back at me, especially with him being so small in that photo. It certainly helps on those days where you struggle through the “being a mom is hard” moments, and reminds me of why it is all worth it.
I know exactly how she feels. No matter how bad of day I am having, or how angry I might be at my partner, looking at the canvas of us happily embracing each other on the wall makes me smile, every time. As much as I love my little black dress, it’s not on the list of things I would grab running out the door if there was a fire.
Find what brings you joy, and invest in your happiness!
#investinhappiness #buywhatbringsyoujoy #thisismyhappiness