At the end of 2015, I was a far way from where I am now in terms of my embracing a simpler lifestyle.
My mindset was probably a little unsettled, influenced by what I thought should be focusing on, rather than what my heart told me was right for me. Fast forward to the now and I can’t help but sit back and marvel at the transformations that have unfolded within my personal value system in the past two years.
Discovering minimalism was like the lightening bolt striking and the light bulb turning on at the same time. It was like being handed a guidebook for navigating the intangible stressors of modern life. “It’s okay to want less, to choose a simple life, to pursue simplicity instead of more money, more possessions, more stuff!”.
Looking back, it is a bit difficult to see how it all evolved to get to this point, but there have been some definite schools of values that have spoken to my soul and enabled my interpretation and illustration of ‘minimalism’ to come to life.
It started with pure minimalism – owning less physical stuff. I’ve blogged about the purges of stuff that happened after discovering the radical (not so radical) concept of owning less (throw it all out!!). Then came a bit more of what I first thought of as ‘abstract minimalism’ – minimising the non-physical – the busyness, the mental clutter. That was a bit more challenging. Took a bit more mental effort. Looking back, I now just see it all as minimalism. But I also see it as simple living. Choosing to uncomplicate things. Simple living has conjured up thoughts of how life was lived way back when – and for me, it is a bit like that. There are concepts of simplicity in practices of bygone eras – home cooking, hanging your clothes on the line, spending more time reading, talking and connecting face to face.
A natural flow on from this has been simplifying resource management – how I manage my financial house, and the beautiful merits of frugality and living within or below your means, for greater financial and personal freedom. I have ‘minimalised’ my spending. I don’t just want to own less stuff – I want to have the resources to live as fully as my heart desires. No one has an infinite amount of money. We all have decisions to make about how we choose to live – daily decisions are played out through the values we hold in our hearts. I am very open to say that the last two years have shown me what I value most and I am not wasting any time in delaying my pursuit of those things.
Over the past two years all of these schools of thought, these value systems, have influenced me. Being the type of person who likes things to fit into neat boxes (read: Type A), I have been feeling a bit unsettled lately about how they all fit together – I started out as a pure minimalist, and now I am also a frugal living advocate? But I also enjoy old fashioned concepts of simple living. Throw in ‘intentionality’ and I am left pondering how they are all meant to fit. Do they go together? Which is more important?
The answer I have discovered (no surprises here) is that they are all equally important and valuable. The important thing is not the definitions or terminology – it’s the way I choose to live out these values in my day to day life. Many people I know already live a life of simplicity, frugality and minimalism to a degree that feels right to them. For others, it is a new journey. There is no competition in life. No one gets a medal for figuring this stuff out sooner than anyone else. And for others, it is not a desirable path to walk along at all. It’s all good. All that matters is that a life of simplicity is available at the point at which it is chosen with gusto by the individual.
I choose to blog about this today because I have been wrestling with the evolution of my minimalism for a little while now. I still don’t have all the answers but I do know this.
I love purging my home of things that no longer add value to our life. I love the feeling of walking through a shopping centre and letting the feeling of needing to buy more stuff pass me by. I love having better control of my wallet. I love that I am tripping over less stuff in my house. I love the fact that I can find things easily around my home. I love the fact that I can cook simple meals and hang my washing on the line on sunny days. I love that I channel my inner grandmother when I decide to stretch my dollars as far as they will go. I love that I am reading more and watching TV less. I love that I am connecting to the humans I love more and spending no time pawing over retail catalogues shortlisting what I want to upgrade next in my home. I love that I have the freedom to continue to make choices that allow me to live to my hearts desire and allows me to work steadily towards goals that are right for me.
I am a minimalist intentionalist simplicity-relishing frugalista and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Until next time – simplify, focus, pursue and count your blessings.