Living with less creates time and space to discover what really matters
Have you ever wondered about having more with less?
I have for a long while now. I wondered what it would be like to minimize stress, possessions, work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and in-turn having more time, energy, sleep, happiness.
I’ve slowly been making some small and some big small changes to live my life on purpose … creating my own little manifesto for happiness. Life is after all ours to create and live! Life is pretty simple actually; it’s we as humans that have a way of complicating it.
My journey began when I decided to move from Toronto to rural Manitoba, 15 months ago. That was step one in eliminating the +++ stress and road rage 0f sitting in traffic for countless/needless hours, releasing some financial burden of a $$$ mortgage and surrounding myself with more things that I wanted to enjoy.
I have always been one who is well organized with my time, priorities and my house. I can take on a lot, but I can always manage to get it done, on time and on budget. I’m also a bit of a nut about having a clean and well organized, uncluttered house … everything has a home and belongs in its place!
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things debuted on Netflix a few weeks ago (check out the trailer at https://minimalismfilm.com/), and of course I had to watch it. The documentary “examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life-families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker-all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less”(movie info gracias a Rotten Tomatoes)
Like many of the folks who have taken up the minimalist, simple life approach, I am on a search for balance and freedom by:
- Reducing material possessions – they drain bank accounts; take up space and our attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give your your favourite brands, a book collection – but it does mean buying with a purpose.
- Time – reducing commitments and activities that are not in line with my values.
- Thoughts – reducing negative thoughts and emotions (which also may mean eliminating certain relationships) – negative thoughts, like negative people, are completely useless and do not improve us. When I have a repetitive thought, I try to decipher whether it is constructive anguish or useless rumination. If it’s a useless rumination, I get rid of it.
- Debt – this is a big one for most of us. Free yourself from credit card and LOC debt, car payments as soon as possible. I have been paying cash for things up front for a while now. And, if I am required to purchase on credit, I pay it back the same day.
- Dress with less – consider Project 333 – dressing with only 33 items for 3 months (clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories) sounds extreme, but thousands of people know that it actually makes life easier instead of more challenging (see all of the reviews and praise online). And, let’s be honest here – I am apt to wear the same few items regardless of the large walk-in closet full of clothing. Check out their website: http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/
A bigger step toward this freedom is tiny house living. I am in love with this movement on so many levels. More and more people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom -> that’s me, count me in. My plan is not to have to work to 65, heck I’m seriously aiming for Freedom 55!
Retirement isn’t just a form of magical thinking , I don’t envision myself working a moment longer than I have to. My how times have changed. Where I once used to envision us in our huge home, I now picture us, living in our tiny home, on Vancouver Island, with our important possessions (my brother may lose it when he reads this – in a good way – but I’m coming to realize that happiness has nothing to do with all your stuff) , living simple, spending our mornings sipping coffee on the veranda, and spending our days hiking, lazing, reading a book, traveling the world, watching the stars – whatever it is that we want and love to do. Live Simple. Live happy.
A simple Life: It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value ~ Zen Habits
Music video by John Mellencamp performing Pink Houses. (C) 1983 John Mellencamp under exclusive license to the Island Def Jam Music Group