Why not minimalism? Just kidding.
As my personal and professional life have drifted towards minimalism I often get weird perplexing looks from people, as well as the frequent, "why on earth would you want to live that way?" questions about my lifestyle choices.
Let me take you back. Years ago, I had a lot of stuff. If you don't believe me, you can ask my husband. Frequent shopping led me to an entire room that was my closet. It was full of clothes, shoes, and accessories. I had a house full of gorgeous furniture from high end brands, a kitchen equipped with every gadget, and don't even get me going on the contents of our garage. We had two couches, four huge chairs, and an enormous dining room table... none of which we even used! And there was nothing strange about any of it. It was a standard American house full of regular things. We weren't hoarders, things were put away neatly most of the time, and there weren't a bunch of cats roaming the house (just making sure you're still with me).
My whole life I had worked towards ownership of all of these possessions under the assumption that that is just what you do (more on this in a future post). Every year we talked about traveling, but it just never happened. My husband and I worked so many hours that we barely saw each other, and when we did, we just wanted to watch mindless TV and eat ice cream.
One day, we realized that life would be over before we knew it, and we wanted to really LIVE rather than continue to work long hours to pay for a bunch of shit we didn't even really care about.
I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I doubted every choice I had ever made that led me to where I was.
I wanted out.
I wanted to spend more time doing what I love, pursue passions and creativity, prioritize my health, do tons of yoga, spend more time with my family, travel the world, learn to surf, and whatever else may spark my interest. I wanted to feel like I was contributing to this world. Helping people. Saving the planet. I kept wondering, how do I add all that into my life?
And then I realized, I was carrying around a metaphorical garbage bag that was stuffed to the brim, and then trying to cram in all of that other stuff that actually mattered to me into the bag. I needed to create space. Empty out the bag.
Minimalism is just that. It is a life philosophy that allows you to create space and breath so you can fill that space with your values and passions. Minimalism is not a strict way of life that has to do with having a certain number of possessions. It doesn't involve only having a backpack of belongings, living in a tiny house, and owning one fork... although it might look like that for some people! It's up to you how extreme you'd like to take the principles and apply them to your own life.
Minimalism: Subtract what doesn't give value to your life. Add what does give value.
For us, this meant selling our house, and donating 95% of our stuff. It might not look like that for you, and that is totally cool! But try this on for size: Look at all of the stuff you have bought, and look at where the majority of your hours go. Then write down a list of your core values. Compare both, and see if they overlap. To add more of your priorities and core values, stop asking how to add them in, but what can you actually cut out first to create space?
So back to those perplexing looks and stink eye glares... This is why I am so passionate about a minimalistic life. Not to mention that I no longer spend hours cleaning a house I barely use, carry no debt, and get to explore a business that I LOVE with all my heart.
Are you interested in applying minimalism to your life? If so, what are some of your fears or what is holding you back?