This is the definition Wikipedia gives of the downshifting phenomenon and I I just copied it because it is much better than the one I could write:
"Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”. It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work and focusing life goals on personal fulfillment and relationship building instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success.Downshifting, as a concept, shares many characteristics with "simple living", but is distinguished, as an alternative form, by its focus on moderate change and concentration on an individual comfort level, a “dip your toes in gently” approach."
Of course there are many different interpretations of the downshifting process, but in my case, the "dip your toes in gently" approach, fits very well: I don't want to live with 100 objects, I don't want to stop caring about my look, I don't want to avoid any little consumerist vice.
Basically, what I want to do is to remove any clutter from my life, material, or mental one.
I think that the physical part plays a very important role in helping the mental one but of course it's important to work on both.
As I said, it started very slowly, some years ago, and now, while thinking about my "One year project", I started to write down the main things I changed that were clear signals of this process:
- I gave away my TV set in 2010
- A couple of years ago I stopped buying soap and started producing it by myself
- In the last couple of years, I started painting everything white
- When I am at home, I always feel the urge to throw things away
- I stopped all my magazine subscriptions
- I tend to dress in neutrals
- The only things I am buying recently is storage containers
- I cut my super cured long nails
- Whenever I need something, first I think if I can do it by myself
Of course it's just a stupid list, but it made me realize that I am in the process and now I am ready to think more deeply about it: where do I wanna go? why? how fast do I want to change? what am I ready to give up? can I do it having a family? Is it right?
This is why I decided to include the "Going minimal" target in my yearly project and I will go on talking about this.