I’ve always been aware that I have an imaginary version of me. And I didn’t realize that it was actually a thing with a term that lots of people have until I came across the term “fantasy self” in an article online.
Your fantasy self is the person you envision yourself being or becoming. And learning to distinguish between “real me” and “fantasy me” has made an incredible difference in the process of letting go of stuff, decluttering and keeping what I really do actually use and need in my life.
For example: maybe you have a yoga mat and all kinds of cute yoga gear, but you never do yoga. And maybe you don’t even like doing yoga. But fantasy you gets up at 6am on a Sunday to go do sunrise yoga. And real you has been sure for a long time now that you’re gonna start doing that sunrise yoga really soon, just this next Sunday. And it’s been a couple years and you haven’t gone. That’s you’re fantasy self.
Or you’re somebody who loves to cook or you like the idea of cooking and in a perfect world you would have time every single evening to put together a lavish feast for yourself and your family. So you have tons of kitchen gadgets, you have all of the different mixers, the blenders, the choppers etc. And maybe in reality you don’t cook very much or don’t have time to cook very much. Or maybe when you do have time to cook you would rather get takeout instead. All of that extra kitchenwear belongs to your fantasy self.
I personally have a weirdly specific fantasy self. I have held onto so many items for just the strangest, most specific scenarios. Especially in my wardrobe.
I had a sweater that was a really loose open knit that was definitely too open to wear without something underneath it. And I hate wearing tank tops under sweaters. But I was like “this would be really cute over a swimsuit”. But it was a nice sweater so I wouldn’t really wear it to the beach where it was gonna get really sandy so I held onto this sweater thinking this is gonna be really nice if I was sailing, like if I was on a boat and I needed a sweater to put over my swimsuit. Now to be clear. I don’t own a boat. I don’t have close friends who own a boat. Boating is not a regular activity of mine. But I held onto this sweater because I was like “I can definitely see myself on a sailboat with my hair in the wind and this chunky sweater and it will be perfect for when I go do that”.
Another part of my wardrobe that I was really bad about for a long time was having flats. I used to have so many pairs of flats. And I wear pretty little flats maybe four times a year. I don’t really like them. They aren’t very comfortable. They aren’t practical to wear really anywhere. So let’s say 4 days a year I wear flat shoes. Roughly 1% of the year. And yet looking at my shoe collection it would seem that I wear flats 1/3 of the time. Which makes absolutely no sense. But I would look at these pretty flats in the store and be like “well these will be really great when I’m sitting on rooftop in Manhattan sipping cocktails”.
I think it’s hard to declutter your fantasy self because it feels like you’re giving up on that dream of becoming that person.
But what I try to keep in mind is: generally speaking, what I’m getting rid of is replaceable. I’m not getting rid of one of a kind items.
A few of my fantasy selves include:
- A skilled rock climber with the latest AIRnet harness and tons of pretty and colorful chalk bags. I wear fancy aggressive shoes and climb crack effortlessly. I send outdoor v10s in scenic places and travel to climbing competitions all over the world and I also get sponsored by lasportiva.
– And I really do love climbing, it’s an awesome sport. But, this one can get problematic because I’ll end up spending money I don’t have on gear I don’t necessarily need and won’t use.
- I’m 20lbs thinner. I workout every morning at 6am. I have all the cool workout gear and am rich enough to buy all the expensive fitness vitamins + supplements + pre-workout drinks.
– I grew up in the era where everyone wanted to be a thin as physically possible. I now realize being thin, not eating enough and working out to the point where your body aches is super unhealthy. Also pre-workout and all those vitamins can be achieved by having a healthy, balanced diet. There is nothing sexy about being skinny. I want to be strong! Not thin.
- I’m an outdoorsy granola girl who lives in the Alaskan wilderness in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin. I hunt all my own food, gather all my own firewood, and know how to survive effortlessly.
– This one is my excuse for buying all the outdoors gear I don’t need. And yes, eventually I would love to go to Alaska. I do doubt I’ll ever actually live there. By myself. Alone. In the wild.
- I’m married to the love of my life. Travelling around the world as digital nomads. Sipping cocktails on rooftops in Italy. Sailing in the Bahamas. And photographing sea turtles in Australia.
– This one I would love to summon into reality! It’s the excuse I give myself to buy camera gear.
- I have enough money for all the expensive outdoors gear + comfy clothes. And I go backpacking at least once a month to scenic places all over the world. This fantasy self goes shopping at REI every week and is going on adventures 24/7.
– This is another “granola girl” fantasy self. I use this one as my excuse to shop for things.
If you’ve never heard of the concept of a fantasy self, I hope that this was really interesting! I know that once I realized that it was an actual thing and I acknowledged it. I completely changed the way that I look at the items that I own. I think that everybody has a bit of a fantasy self and I would love to know what yours is. If there’s something that you hold into or you buy a lot because you have some fancy scenario in your head.