How Minimalism Has Changed Me

New to minimalism? Start here.

During my #WeekOfMinimalism on Instagram, I shared little ways I live simply and intentionally each day. Taking the train to work, cooking simple foods in my crockpot, and maintaining a small yet sufficient wardrobe are just a few examples.

To me, minimalism means taking a non-complicated approach to happiness. It's about identifying the things that are most important to you and that bring you the most joy and ignoring everything else. The things most important to me are not groundbreaking: maintaining strong relationships with my friends and family, caring for my physical and emotional health, and expanding my mind (by reading books, listening to podcasts, writing, and traveling).

In an effort to focus more attention on these things, I have eliminated many distractions from my life. I have let go of superfluous relationships, meaningless side projects, bad habits, and quite a lot of clothes and kitchenware. The more I let go, the more I realize there are very few things I need in life - food, clothes, transportation, shelter, and human connection. These are basic freedoms in many parts of the world but not everyone is lucky enough to have them. As a result, I feel free, blessed, and grateful every day of my life. 

Philosopher Alan Watts has this quote, "The meaning of life is just to be alive". This is so simple and yet we complicate it so much. We allow all these things that we think we should have and should do flood our lives and so much of it is unnecessary. Minimalism has caused me to focus merely on being alive. When I pause to reflect on how lucky I am to just be alive, I can't help but think: "Well, now that I'm on this planet as a living being, I might as well make the most of it".

Below are some changes I have noticed within myself as I have progressed in my minimalist journey:

  • I focus my time, money, and energy on the things that matter to me (hint: they aren't things at all).
  • I eliminate anything from my life that does not have a purpose or bring me distinct value.
  • I do not attach my identity to arbitrary things. I feel less urgency to establish "who I am" with my possessions or lifestyle. 
  • I have little to no stress.
  • I feel lighter.
  • I am kinder to others.
  • I open up more.
  • I listen better.
  • I don't make shallow promises.
  • I do what I say I am going to do, whether it is for myself or for others.
  • I don't complain.
  • I am more grateful.
  • I am more patient.
  • I am more present; I do not wish away time.
  • I love myself more and have more self confidence.
  • I am happier.
  • I feel more alive. 

Take it simple, everybody.