Introducing Minimalist Nath read her pearls of wisdom here and lots of great reflections below. Drop by and tell her I sent you...she's a girl on a mission.....
You've recently created/moulded a new life for yourself- tell readers
how it came about and what is different for you now, compared to a year
ago. For years I have been on a journey to a better life... and a few months ago I decided to move miles away from where I always lived and people I knew... It was the ultimate change I felt I needed to make to tie loose ends... Despite all the changes I had made already I felt like something was missing... or refusing to come out: probably due to people's expectations around me - I felt oblige to be a certain person... I was still, somehow, stuck in a mold - much less strict but still a mold. A year ago I was living with my husband and my son every, other week, in Montreal. I worked in a big corporation in a office setting making 4 times the amount of money I make now, having roughly 2h commute a day (on good days) and very little time to myself and my family. I had family and friends to share my time with as well as my yoga practice and cooking. Now, fast forward to this year, I no longer have family and friends around... I do not know anyone here... yet. I live with my husband and son (full time) in Moncton, miles away from Montreal... I work as a Barista, part time, for a coffee shop, make very little money but feel like my job as a purpose and brings a smile to people when they get their morning coffee.... It is about a 20 minutes commute - walking or biking - no car or public transit anymore... I have all this extra time to cook and do my yoga... as well as take care of my loved ones. I read more... and reflect more on my life. Moving far away actually has freed me from a few chains that I could not cut back in my home town. Not sure why, but I think that the fact that no one knows me here it is easier to acknowledge who I am and let it shine. No one here knows the "old" me.
You have been chipping away at the minimalism stone for years now- what
inspired you? What kept you going and what got in your way? My first few steps in minimalism were forced by life - having lost a job, being in debt and having no savings I had to sell my house and move back into an apartment. It was very difficult and brought about many tears. - I felt like a looser - really! I did however convince myself that it was just temporary and that I would soon gain back what I lost and even more... little did I know... A few months after moving into my apartment, and about to go bankrupt, I read a yoga book that was talking about the yoga principles. One of them was non-stealing and they were explaining in the book how possessing something you do not really use or need is actually steeling it away from someone who might. It opened my eyes... a few days after, I read a Feng Shui book where they were mentioning that unused objects/furniture/rooms create a stagnant energy and that it was really bad energy in the end to have around... I added those 2 and was converted to minimalism.
That was exactly 7 years ago and even though I had a few set back, I always continued on that path because of how it make me feel. Every time I was giving away things I would feel better... I would breathe more easily... and every time I "gave up" and bought useless stuff or refuse to part from things I was no longer using I felt stressed and anxious.... and it even, sometimes ,kept me up at night! The freedom I gained is worth so much more then I the money I wasted... I can now do work I love.. I am almost debt free and I have savings!
The set backs were always old patterns... I was a shopaholic: I shop to feel better... to relax... to enjoy myself... to spend time with friends... to prove to other that I was stylish... to have a good looking house... to impress others... I now know that this addiction came from being afraid of missing out on something and not being loved. It is sad... I know... but I did not know better at that time. And it took a long time for me to resolve that issue... to let go of what people think of how I dress and of what my home looked like. I think I dress well, my home looks pretty with all old furniture. I will probably never be mentioned in a design or fashion magazine... but who cares? I do things how I like. Once I understood that I had an addiction and why... and once I understood that society makes it so to create shopaholic I could manage to get over it. It was not easy and it took a lot of discipline... a few set backs... and some tears... but things sometimes have to get worse before they get better.
Knowing what I know today and where it brought me, the path would be easier and I would surely make it more aggressive to get to my state of well being faster.
Where do you see your adventures in minimalism and simple living going
from here. For now, I am pretty much set... at least until my son is independent and can live on his own... then my path will continue. Our objective as a couple is to save more and more... and when we retire ditch the apartment, rent a mobile home and travel across America. That would be step #1. Then we would probably get a 300 sq ft (or maybe just 200) small house closer to the ocean then we are now (it is only a 20 minutes drive for now), live there half the year and spend the other half in Portugal - Spain - Indonesia... Depending. For sure we'd like to spend time in Bali... and maybe travel to India to an ashram We would ,by then, own almost nothing but our clothes and the few items in our 300 sq ft home. All these are dreams of course as we have no idea of what the future has in store for us... but one thing is sure, we'll always need to live somewhere and it will definitely be a smaller place... the smallest we can! And the cheaper we can! Small home here we come!
Tell readers what you're most proud of and what you are yet to conquer. This is a tricky one... and I am not sure I know what to answer... I am proud of having let go of that feeling of wanting to be rich and live the American dream. I may be in Canada but it is the same dream! Years ago I wanted to be a millionaire, own a fancy house and an inground pool... travel 2-3 times a year... wear expensive clothing and jewelry... retire at 50 and continue that same life. This was nothing like me... I am proud that step by step I have let the real me shine through and realise that what I want is freedom more then anything. Money does not buy you freedom.... but only chains! Freedom really is FREE!
I still have issue with my wardrobe... in my opinion... and even though is contains about 80% less clothes then it use to, I know I could still do with much less... I am working on it but it is no longer a major issue. I can do with what I have now and will just look into not replacing every items as they get worn off and follow the one in/one out rule if I really feel like buying something.
What advice would you give to people wanting to simplify their lives? I would say take it slow... one step at a time! Your life did not get this clutter overnight did it? Well it won't get simple overnight either! And do not listen to people who try to convince you otherwise... if you feel this is what you need to do, give it a try! And worse case, if it does not work for you, everything you think you might need will still be there for you to buy... But I can guarantee you that if you go slowly and respect your own pace and listen to your heart you will be happier and much much less stress in a simple life!