I am a minimalist. In some form or another, I always have been. It naturally comes with living a nomadic lifestyle. As of late, this approach to life has given me one of the biggest advantages to living the life I truly want to be living. With all the hype surrounding the minimalistic lifestyle approach, and the fact that the minimalism documentary on Netflix is literally my life (going from working the corporate life to owning only a mattress, a dresser, a car and basic necessities while living in my friend’s basement) I thought I would take some time to write about it. Because honestly it took me a second to put the pieces together. To realize that I am the living, breathing example of a typical millennial minimalist. The one that worked her ass off to get to a certain point in life. To accumulate as much shit as possible along the way. Only to realize that I was completely broken inside. Only to realize the only thing I was craving in life is exactly what we were placed on this earth to experience. Adventure. Not all the crap I was working for. Not the lifestyle that was pounded into me from day one. I was the typical millennial that quit her job, sold everything she owned, and went traveling for 6 months, to end up right back in the states. In the same grind. in the same day to day. Only different. With a new mentality this time. A mentality of working for a purpose rather than a lifestyle. A mentality of having a lifestyle that enhances the very purpose I am working for. Not one that makes me lose sight of that purpose.
One of the deepest revelations I had while going through the massive emotional rollercoaster of giving up a lifestyle to transition into a new one is that as much as it felt like a “typical” life decision, it most certainly wasn’t. Once I found a way to break through the fear of giving my traditional lifestyle up, I turned around and looked at reality in the face. I turned and saw that everyone else was feeling that same pain I felt. I saw that fear is driving us all to continue the cycle. Some people are aware of that pain and. Some aren’t. Even fewer are able to break that cycle to free themselves of the pain. So why are material things so comforting to us? Why do we become attached to every physical thing we come across? Why is it easier for some to break the cycle? This cycle of attachment? Is this a lifestyle that is meant for everyone? Or just a few? With so many of these complicated questions floating around in my head, I thought I would address some of the reasons why this lifestyle works for me. And why I am such an advocate of it.
First thing is first. Why do we as humans create such an attachment to material things? The answer seemed simple to me. Somewhat. Our emotions are intangible. An intangible thing that we want to hold on to. They are something we want come back to when we need it. When we are feeling empty. We look for these emotions to fill us back up with warmth. One of the most common ways in which we seek to bring that emotion back when we call on it is to attach that emotion to an object. The teddy bear your first boyfriend gave you. The ring your grandmother gave you. The Vanity that has been in your family for generations and generations. We find comfort in remembering the happiness and love we felt at that point in time. With that particular person. Or that particular memory. Yet, in reality the physicality of that object is not what is giving us that happiness. It is the memory that fills us with warmth. And because we can’t physically touch this memory, we place that tangibility on an object that was with us when we experienced this feeling. So how do we find a way to look inside for that feeling?
One of the ways to start looking internally, to cultivate a shift to be more minimalistic, to release that grip of attachment, is to create awareness around the benefits that you are reaching for when downgrading the amount of crap you own. To create a vision for the type of lifestyle you are trying to create. To create a more simple life. What are some of those benefits? I will break it down for you:
- You see and understand a deeper sense of life purpose that leaves you feeling awake. Once you start decluttering every aspect of your life, you start to make room for clarity around what really drives your happiness. Which in turn, pushes you into a deeper understanding of what your life purpose looks like. What kind of difference you are trying to create for this world. Are you trying to help people build confidence through their looks? Are you trying to provide an awareness to proper nutrition and diet? what does it look like for you? What really drives you? the more you start to declutter your life, the more you realize how very little you actually need. Which begins to eliminate the attachment we have to our things. The weaker that attachment becomes, the more you are able to focus on the feeling that certain activities give you. The more you can understand where your happiness lies, the more you can begin to understand what drives you, which will lead to a cultivation of purpose. The more simple your life becomes, the more intentional you can get with what you put your energy into.
- You feel lighter. Both physically and spiritually. How does it feel when you clean out your closet? Take that feeling and multiply it by 200. That is what you feel when you do a deep cleanse of what is surrounding you. What are the benefits of feeling lighter? It’s just like your diet. When you eat that burger, you feel like a cow. When you own more and more stuff, you feel weighed down from an energy perspective. on the flip side, the lighter you can make yourself feel from an energy perspective, the more you can start listening to the opportunities that the universe is putting in front of you. So you can start making decisions towards the vision you have started to cultivate for yourself. Most people don’t fully comprehend this benefit until they experience it. I know I didn’t.
- Your life becomes drastically more simple. Are the dishes clean? Where did I put that thingy that opens wine bottles? Where is that hat I bought a year ago that I only wore once? With a minimalist lifestyle, most of these questions aren’t swimming in your head distracting you from real problems. Because you. don’t. own. that. shit. This massive amount of brain that clears up the minute you get rid of your shit is breathtaking. Now you can worry about real problems in your life. Like what kind of difference you are going to make in the world.
- You are able to stay mobile. Coming from someone that doesn’t like to be tied to one place for long, this was one of the biggest benefits I experienced when adopting this kind of lifestyle. I don’t own a ton, which means I have the freedom to pick up and move where I want when I want. I can go traveling on the turn of a dime because I don’t have to worry about who is going to feed my dog, etc. before leaving.
- You have nothing to lose. In any situation. Because you don’t have anything.You have nothing to lose, because you already gave that shit away. What could make you any more dangerous?
- You are able to focus on high quality pieces when you are buying. One of the best parts of being minimalistic. Focusing the things you are buying. Placing stake in high quality pieces that will last. Therefore you are buying less in the long run and have pieces that provide even more beauty to your life. Another perspective I keep while purchasing is tying each purchase to a goal I accomplish. This not only makes me appreciate the pieces I have in my life when I have them, it makes it easier for me to part ways with them when I set new goals and new visions for new pieces.
In all honestly, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I decided to quit my job, sell my stuff and go traveling. I didn’t realize at that point in time that I was about to change my life drastically for the better. I just knew that I was desperate. But it is in the darkness of desperation, I saw what massive benefits this kind of lifestyle brought to me when I needed it the most. Something that I will continue to practice and refine as I step into every new chapter of life. Hopefully this has helped provide some context to the good in a minimalistic lifestyle. Let me know what you think and leave any comments/questions you might have. Ciao my loves :).