New Year, New Basics (Part 1: The Minimalist Life)

New Year, New Basics (Part 1: The Minimalist Life)

Hi everyone! Today, I have some great and exciting news to share with you all. I have finally made the decision to begin this simple living process that everyone talks about. And I’m definitely writing about the minimalist life… but don’t you cringe away yet!!! This post isn’t certainly about following some mere “new consumerist way for the elites” trends or just taking it from the angle of beautiful but fetishized austere aesthetics or any ridiculously radical change of lifestyle such as throwing all my belonging away to become a nomad with possessions that can be counted on my fingers.

Non! Instead, this is about my own journey and my interpretation of what living through the glance of minimalism means to me. It’s how minimalism is seriously starting to change the way I see things, myself, and life as a whole.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. –Wayne W. Dyer

How is the minimalist life right for me?

So are you still hanging with me? I’m hoping so! To me minimalism is a wonderful opportunity to triage what is most essential in our lives from what is a source of noise, excess, and chaos. Right now, it’s more important than ever for me to embrace the concept of minimalism. Today, the obstacles I and perhaps some of you face in society require us to be more adaptable.

Personally speaking, my humongous college debt requires me to be more frugal; chasing my dreams demands incredible level of focus, and maintaining my health, both mind and body, involves better organizing my time for exercise and reading. Wouldn’t you too be seduced by the minimalist life idea? Leaning in more to become successful and happier in life! By using this great tool, we could achieve these goals. With these thoughts in mind, I started drafting this post… New Year, New Basics.

I hope I am not misinterpreting material renunciation, austere aesthetics, and blank white empty interiors as symptoms of capitalist absolution. That is not what new basics mean to me. To my way of thinking, minimalism shall have deeper goals: to challenge relationships (rather complex at times) between people and possessions.

Downsizing is daunting

I am currently painfully packing from a larger than 800 square feet and moving into a downsized apartment of less than half of the current one. There are so many things that accumulated throughout the years, I didn’t even know where to begin packing anymore. For many years, I’ve felt dreadful about the thoughts of sorting through my clutters. So I just boxed them up and moved year after year with the heavier and heavier weight on my shoulders. Additionally, storage space cost started to amass with each year. Paradoxically as the size of my apartment grew, the more things were bought to fill in the void.

But the difference this year brings along comes from the fact that I am recently forced to downsize for the first time ever! And this resulted with a melt down. Overwhelmed, frustrated, distressed, and… broke! Needless to state how unfulfilled I felt about my living situation and the lack of direction in my life.

What is the minimalist life anyway?

Undefeated, I started to pick myself back up and made the committed decision to begin to live a more simplistic life! But why the minimalist life and what is it anyway? It’s a lifestyle choice and according to The Minimalists it’s 

a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.–The Minimalists

Why do I think the minimalist life is for me?

Rid of excessive invaluable things

It’s a way to eliminate the ton of dross accumulated over the years from my life (and from my apartment!!! It was so tragic that I couldn’t invite any friends over anymore. I witnessed an unsafe situation taking place where a friend tripped over wires and fell head on the mountain of boxes laying around in my living room. OUCH!! And Grant knows this better 😉

This dramatic accumulation of clutter came with an extra bonus of unfulfilled and regrettable feelings; I can’t take back the time and effort wasted coming from the things I didn’t need and didn’t enjoy that took space, drained away my energy, took away time because of cleaning, organizing, maintaining, repairing, moving, removing, and even shopping.

These unessentials created stress, and evidently accumulated debt. Let alone the carbon footprint I left behind!! Who needs two tea pots anyway? Why do I still have this fancy steam iron I never ever used with its original packaging? How do I store all these clothes I don’t wear? Wouldn’t you agree that we should keep life free of excess stuff that do not bring us any pleasure!

So my first reason why I MUST¹ start a minimalist life is to rid of excess material things that have little to no value in my life. Having stated this hopefully will remind me to avoid being caught in the excessive consumerism trap! Recall this post and I’m grateful to have this blog to keep me in check!

Reclaim my time

Next, I shall reclaim my time to be able to live more in the moment. Minimalism is a mean to focus on spending time with the important things in my life. I stood there in my dining room and stared at piles and piles of old school books lining up against the wall as I was about to box them up. I then realized how much I was still living in the past by holding onto them all.

Letting go is the hardest thing! Similarly with constantly feeling anxious about the future; there are so many goals I set for the next ten years where I often feel overwhelmed and begin to be oh too familiar with procrastination which leads to a lack of actions sometimes with disastrous consequences. You guessed that this mindset brings nothing positive! So minimalism gives a better perspective and allows time for better experiences (over materials), people and things that add true value to my life.

There is no secret that I love traveling and connecting with people so I shall focus on growing this area. Wouldn’t be wonderful to be able pair down time wasting and soul sucking mundane activities (yeah social media, online browsing, and have I not yet mentioned cleaning? I hate cleaning!!!) that are holding us back and instead to pursue our passion in creating more and consuming less. So having more time to focus on activities I enjoy most is another reason why I MUST seek the minimalist life.

Have a clearer mind

Lastly, the minimalist life brings mental clarity from daily noise. When work gets out of hand with so many urgent tasks with critical deadlines, I recently began to pay more attention to the health of my body and mind and getting the habit of saying No vastly improved my life. I learned to stop over committing while under delivering. It’s counterproductive and multitasking is not the way to success my friends. Commit to do one task at time with great focus!

Any more benefits from the minimalist life?

Having this knowledge now helps unburden my mind from the heavy weight carried by the chaotic surroundings. By being more focus, the minimalist life also allows me to discover my missions and my purpose in my life, to grow as an individual and to contribute beyond myself.

To me the minimalist life isn’t a final destination or how my tiny apartment will be free of clutter but a mental shift and a process in which I feel the urge to experience more freedom and wealth 🙂

Wealth is not a number of dollars. It is not a number of material possessions. It’s having options and the ability to take on risk. –A little essay by Charlie Lloyd

The other day, Grant gave me his version of what wealth meant to him; he defines wealth as connecting with people and I embrace this definition very much!

Any change in lifestyle takes time (to be exact 66 days on average before a new behavior kicks in automatically). A new habit to form can vary depending on the behavior (me stubborn), the person, and the circumstances). So taking small steps towards the right direction is a smart way to go about it.

I’m in… any guide on the minimalist life?

I am following these simple 11 essential steps to become a minimalist. Also, some caveat to watch out for however; accumulating things is that of a materialist’s focus while getting rid of those things is that of a minimalist’s focus. Notice that both are centering their thoughts and actions on well… things. This simple life choice is to liberate ourselves from focusing on things!

I’m looking forward to this New Year, New Basics and to living a simpler life! Do you too feel a need to declutter? What are your thoughts on minimalism? Do you embrace or reject it? And I am curious to read why 🙂 Drop a comment and until then I’m already anticipating the part 2 to this series and sharing with you all about my journey through the minimalist life. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

Featured photo taken in Arizona Horseshoe Bend by Grant from @grantfood

¹ Read more about Josh and Ryan’s 21-day journey into minimalism here and the planning part here.

 

 

 

 

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