Saturday, October 24, 2015

Finding YOUR Ideal Minimalist Life

One thing you will discover once you embrace becoming a minimalist is that, just like anything else in life, there are many paths. You will not want to wonder down all of them. Case in point, in my last post I announced all the reasons I was giving up having internet at home. Well, after three months without it, I realized that the logistics of leaving the house to access wifi when I wanted to use the internet to plan for my art classes or to blog just was more than I wanted to deal with. The idea behind minimalism is to simplify your life so you have more enjoyment in life and less stress. I sure wasn't feeling less stress from this decision. I found a cheaper internet provider and here I am, sitting at home blogging again.

Minimalism is not about doing without the things that bring you joy or help make your life less stressful. While my three months without the internet made life difficult, there are things that I have eliminated from our home that I do not miss. I do not miss a TV, nor do I see ever replacing the microwave. I always hated the clunky microwave sitting on the counter. It just took up too much space. Not to mention concerns over health issues. However, maybe your microwave eliminates stress in your life. I am not here to judge. Perhaps you can, and do, live without internet at your home.

Ideally, I would love to live somewhere where I could walk or bike everywhere and not worry about owning a car. But, living in an older suburb with a six year old son, I need a car to get around. The best path for me is to own a used car with no car payments to worry about.

My point is, we shouldn't beat ourselves up for not becoming puritans. We do need to pay attention to what brings us happiness and what leads to our ideal life. I find my happiness in creating, in being in nature, and being around those I love. None of this has anything to do with buying or owning stuff. It doesn't mean I don't want things. I would love to have a new plush robe to replace the worn and faded one I have had for over sixteen years. I want some rugs to make our home feel more cozy. I would be thrilled to own a newer camera. But these aren't things my happiness depend upon.

Minimalism is personal, so make it about you.

Less stuff, yes. Jump off the hamster wheel of over consumption and debt. Generate less waste. Slow down and cook at home more. From scratch, even. Spend more time being with the people who bring you joy, or in quiet retrospection alone. Do more of what brings you happiness, if that be reading, strolling in the park, or dancing all night surrounded by friends and strangers.

Just don't be hard on yourself over that one thing that doesn't quite fit into your ideal of minimalism that you hang on to anyway.

There are many paths up the mountain. What is important is that you enjoy the view along the way.