Minimalism

My Failed Life as a Cycling Hipster/How to emotionally detach yourself from STUFF

Just over 2 years ago, I purchased this bike.  The day this photo was taken, I had visions of myself riding this bike to the market and filling the basket with fresh fruit and flowers. In my vision, I was adorable and hip.

Then I started a full time job and the bike only got out a few times a year.

Then I got married and it didn’t have a garage to live in so it was an eyesore under a big gray tarp next to my car.

This week as Dave and I have been challenging ourselves to get rid of things that we weren’t using on a regular basis and really didn’t need, Dave suggested “maybe you should sell your bike.”  i FREAKED out, mostly on the inside, but a little on the outside too.  I rebelled against the idea for a few days, but came around to seeing his point.  I have ridden it 3 times this year and 2 of those times I whined a lot because of the hills in our neighborhood.

So why was I so apprehensive to get rid of it?

Why are we as human so hesitant to get rid of our STUFF even if we arent using it?

Twice in my life I have visited a therapist to talk about some minor upsets.  Both times I decided they didn’t really know what they were talking about because I had experiences like this:

Therapist: Why does that make you so upset?
Tammy: I’m not sure, I’m just an emotional person
Therapist: I think you’re experiencing grief for the loss of the way you wish things were.

At the time, I was angry that she was quoting a text book answer back to me, but strangely in this situation, I think I finally understand the emotion she was trying to explain to me.

This weekend I was upset because I had wanted to feel like a cool person who had a laid back lifestyle and could ride this really adorable bike to do cool and laid back things. Getting rid of the bike meant that I could no longer have the potential of being that person.  I was identifying myself based on the stuff I owned, not what I actually did.

So I manned up and posted the bike on craigslist.  Dave advised me to post it for $150, but that just tore my heartstrings so I posted it for $200.  (Plus, people rarely give you your asking price, they will always offer less) Within a couple hours, I had several offers for $150 and one for $200!  So I agreed.  We met up with this SUPER nice woman who, I am sure, had the same vision of herself on the bike as I had previously.

While we were driving away from our meeting spot, what did I feel?  RELIEF! Surprising relief!  I no longer would pull up next to the bike everyday and tell myself I should ride it, just because I owned it.

I was then free to move on from the persona I wasn’t and can now move on to something different, being filled with an awareness to be who I am, not be what I own.

***Another important tip***
Dave came up with a great idea while we were cleaning out a box of my memorabilia.  I pulled out an item that someone had given me and didnt want to give it up.  Why? Not because I inherently liked the item, but because it brought back a priceless memory of the person who gave it to me.  In my mind, getting rid of the item would get rid of that special memory. So Dave came up with a good solution for me.  Take a photo of the item, put it in a journal or a blog post, and write about why it meant so much to you. That will not only have the visual trigger of the memory, but also, now other people can read the entry and appreciate why that item was so important to you.

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10 thoughts on “My Failed Life as a Cycling Hipster/How to emotionally detach yourself from STUFF

  1. I think you are a super cool person, with or without a bicycle. And you have a lifestyle that is just right for you. Consider me a fan!

  2. …and who you is an amazing, phenomenal woman who is unceasingly a remarkable friend and my person through thick and thin. AND forever adorable and crazy hip. (with hips that don’t lie.) thanks for some much-needed perspective.

  3. Tammy, it was hard to give up the cute bicycle! I guess it doesn’t fit your lifestyle at the moment. But I predict someday that you will get yourself another bicycle at a time you can have some relaxed riding.
    I got a beach cruiser bike last year and I really enjoy riding it with the wind blowing in my face. There are so many beautiful places to ride.
    So, you will be that bike woman again, when the time is right. 🙂 Enjoy your life as it is today. You have so much to be glad for and we get to observe from the sidelines.

    1. Brenda, you make a great point! Someday I will be a bike woman again 🙂 Im so glad you are enjoying your cruiser, that was one of the first things I noticed about mine – I loved the wind blowing in my face and through my hair – so freeing! Dave promises that when we have a garage someday, we will buy a tandem 🙂

  4. But you loved that beach cruiser! I thought… hmph.. maybe the new owner will love it more? And I hardly ride mine, I do more in the summer. Isn’t it nice to always have around in case you need it? Those are my thoughts.. =) Obviously not a minimalist thought!

    1. I totally loved it and it was really tough, but it was sitting outside in the rain and I barely ever used it – hopefully this new lady will use it more. The only reason I was keeping it was because it was cute and it made me feel cool to own something that cool. And my mother in law, who has 5 bikes in her garage, has assured me that I can borrow one anytime! So Im not out of options 🙂

  5. Tammy. This is SUPER insightful. Thanks so much! I am now inspired to get rid of some things in my life that are not who I am right now and to really stop mourning the loss of things as they were. 🙂 That is profound. Who knew that another great benefit of your moment (besides relief) was impacting a whole lot of other people who sometimes feel the same way?

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