This new phrase has caused a significant amount of reflection on my part. We moved to Italy for a variety of reasons, one of which was to simplify our lives. To experience life without all of the stuff that we had filling it. Some of that stuff we got rid of, a lot of it is sitting in various places around the greater-Denver area and I'm not looking forward to sorting it later! Ultimately, Alex and I both could have worn the label Americanata prior to our move here.
However, our lives here have been simple. Easy. Ultimately lacking in a lot of stuff. For example, I wanted to make a robe for pajama day this past week. I don't have too many PJ type things, and I thought it would be fun to sew something. In the States, I would have pulled out my fabric stash (which is far to full of so many different options... Americanata) and started sewing. Here? I have less than half a yard in my sewing box. The fashion fabric stores are a 30-minute bus ride from me and it was cold, so I didn't sew anything.
Another example from this week. I've loved the teacher planner that I bought for this school year (actually, my former class bought it for me!). I love it so much that I know I want another one for next school year. I started looking at the company's website and conducting Google searches to see what covers I liked so I could order it and have my mom or brother bring it to me later this year. What flooded my computer screen, however, were these images of excessive crafting. In the past, these would have excited me. I would have run out the door to the closest craft store to fill up my basket with washi tape, stickers, pens, and other embellishments. Americanata. And now? I close my computer screen and go do something life-breathing.
This is a change that has not come easy. Plenty of work was done on my soul in the past year and a half, even before we made it here, for me to get to this point of comfort in simplicity. Stuff represented so many different things to me. Comfort. Security. Status. All a bunch of lies. My security should not come from things. It should not lie with stuff. In fact, it is the very stuff that I tried to shove into my life that began to suck the life out of me.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
I have spent too much of my life fixated on pouring my efforts, time, energy, and money into places that ultimately did not align with my understanding of the world. I have poured my life into things that do not produce the type of character I should be cultivating.
Returning from the States after Christmas and New Years, I knew that I had changed. Changed for the better. I knew that my goal of living in simplicity was coming true. I just didn't realize how far I had come in such a short amount of time.
As I continue to walk this journey to living with less, I am now pondering how I can live simply in the United States. Is this new version of myself, this simpler and easier version, sustainable in my home country? For I'm just now starting to get a glimpse of how my perception of stuff has so clouded my soul. Sucked the life out of my body. And I don't want to go back to the Americanata mindset that I have so long carried. I'm choosing simplicity. And with it, I'm choosing life.