This week I stumbled across The Minimalists! Man, am I ever glad the interconnected roads of the world wide web brought me to their virtual doorstep. If you haven’t heard of them, please use the link to check them out. They are the epitome of the minimalism movement. They demonstrate maximal minimalism through simplicity. It is a pleasure to read their essays and listen to their contemplative podcasts. I highly suggest you try them on for size. Their thoughts allowed me to think more about my own life and journey towards financial independence. It turns out, minimalism breeds wealth.
I like minimalism.
Minimalism Breeds Wealth
This is true on so many levels. Not only does minimalism breed monetary wealth, it also breeds personal wealth. Let me remind you…money does not equal happiness or contentment. Money allows us the freedom to pursue our true passions.
Oh my God, is this another post that isn’t about building financial independence? Nope. It IS about building financial independence. Guess what. Financial Independence is much easier to build if you’re a minimalist. Minimalism comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t need to live in a cardboard box with your cat. All you need to do is examine what kind of STUFF you are allowing into your life and examine whether or not it is making your life better or worse. That is part of being a minimalist. You don’t need to slip down the rabbit hole of consumerism to be happy.
STUFF doesn’t make us happy. Pursuing our passions makes us happy. Spending time with loved ones makes us happy. Increasing our intellectual prowess makes us happy. Financial Independence allows us the freedom to engage in all of the above.
I was a minimalist before I even knew it was A Thing. It wasn’t until I started dating someone quite a few years ago that I realized I was a minimalist. He walked into my house and the first thing out of his mouth went something like…wow, i think you’re more of a minimalist than i am. Minimalist? Me? Why would he say that? Was it because I have absolutely NOTHING on my kitchen counters? Was it because EVERYTHING in my house has a place and is in its place? Was it because my house looked like it was a model home, ready for the next potential buyer to walk through? Hmmmm…he may have been on to something. After laughing at his vocal observation and acting like I knew what he meant, I carefully thought about what he said. And, after much consideration I came to this conclusion…YES…Minimal Me.
Peaks & Valleys
Despite being mostly a minimalist, I have experienced peaks and valleys over the years. I haven’t always been true to my minimalistic nature. I have made good decisions and I have made really bad ones. Last year I was in another valley. I wanted to validate my highly-educated, highly-paid self with a huge mortgage to prove to others that I was successful. Stupid.
Things fell through at the last moment. Thankfully. At that moment, I decided to get back to my minimalist roots and allow it to infiltrate every facet of my life. And let me tell you, I have a fantastic life. I have a wonderful husband and engaging daughter, 4 animals that drive me nuts, and plenty of time to enjoy my passions. I still have the high-paying career, but we have decided to stay put in our modest-sized home and enjoy each day without the need to spend a ton of cash on a ton of stuff that ends up living in the darkness of our cold basement. Instead, we’re focusing on stashing enough cash so that I no longer need the high-paying job. Minimalism at its finest.
The Minimalists walked away from six-figure salaries, and I plan to give myself the same option. I have committed to focusing on my relationships instead of amassing more stuff. Because, stuff doesn’t make me happy. I have proven this concept to myself time and time again.
Does this meme describe you? It described me at various points in my life. I think, now, I have solidly come to the realization that STUFF doesn’t make me happy. I know many individuals who have big jobs, with big paychecks, and very little time to themselves to enjoy their loved ones and other passions. They buy the biggest houses, the best cars, and the most expensive toys to validate their self worth and prove to the world that they are successful. But, is that true success? Or are they just living for the next vacation?
So, the question is…Minimal You?
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