It’s hard to think back to three years ago when I was living a completely different lifestyle that could be described as anything but minimalistic.
Leaving my home at 8 am each morning, to work 10 hours a day at a job I wasn’t very passionate about, and returning home exhausted each night. I remember thinking about how much I loved my city (NYC), but how disappointed I was not to be able to enjoy it.
In fact, I didn’t have much time to enjoy anything, my passions such as traveling, reading, and writing were often pushed to the side.
Then I made the decision to change it. My lifestyle, that is. You see, it wasn’t just that I had this plan to take a year off to travel the world, leave my job, and my stuff behind.
It was more than that. I wanted to do more of what actually mattered, and less of what didn’t. I wanted to invest in what actually served a fulfilling purpose in my life, and less of what took away from this.
And that’s what inspired my path of minimalistic living.
The Minimalistic Journey
It’s also hard to think back to the things I accumulated over the five years that I lived in NYC, but even more difficult to understand the purpose of these things and the why behind it.
As I sifted through my belongings, placing only what I needed in my suitcase and the rest in the donate pile, I started to reflect and think more deeply about this. And once I started to see what I needed wasn’t really all that much, it became easier to let go of the rest.
Once I got my physical belongings in order, I realized I could apply this to other areas of my life as well.
This meant keeping quality over quantity…quality relationships, quality items, and maintaining a quality lifestyle.
This also meant being more intentional with how I spent my time, what I spend my time on, and who I spent it with.
It soon became less about what I let go, and more about what I decided to let in.
Letting in things that bring you value, purpose, and personal fulfillment takes you towards the path of minimalistic living.
Beginning Minimalistic Living
Your path is entirely your own. Minimalistic living means different things for different people. You can get there by digging deep within yourself, by exploring what is valuable to you…and what isn’t.
Anything else will have to go.
This can apply to belongings, physical well-being, your friendships, your personal goals, and aspirations in life. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do your values align well with what you presently have in your life, or are small changes needed?
Do your values align with who you aspire to become, a better version of who you are today?
Are the people you surround yourself with, supportive and build each other up…especially in times of need and reassurance? Do they value and respect your opinion, even if it may be different from theirs?
Is your time being spent on things that lift you up, inspire you, and get you closer to your goals and aspirations? Or are you just simply wasting time?
Is your money being spent on things that help you to grow and provide a better future for yourself? Or is it being spent on nothing other than material possessions, which only provide a false sense of happiness?
Minimalistic living means different things for different people because our values are different. What is important to you, may be less important to someone else.
And that’s okay.
Minimalistic living for some people may mean embracing a quiet life…maybe traveling around in a van and surviving with only the essentials.
For others, it could be the act of decluttering and disposing of unnecessary items that take up too much space in their homes or their lives.
Regardless of which direction you choose to take, and it is yours for the choosing, remember that there are no rules to follow.
As I approach my third year of choosing to live minimally, I’ve realized that the small decisions are the ones that have mattered the most.
For example, choosing to surrounded by great friends instead of just good ones, setting intentions for the day instead of just letting it pass me by, and leading a life I feel proud of that aligns with my passion for living out experiences, instead of material things.
The small decisions all lead up to the bigger picture, of a life well-lived.
What inspired you to try minimalistic living? Share your thoughts in the comments below: