At its core, minimalism is the removal of clutter. Clutter in our lives.
Minimalism is about priorities, the intentional promotion of the people and the relationships that we most value. The removal of everything that distracts us from those.
Minimalism is about the promotion of freedom and peacefulness by the removal of the noise. A life lived intentionally.
With the chaos and noise in our lives, the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle is appealing. Our lives are cluttered with things and mortgages and cars and jobs, “to-do lists” and shopping lists.
This weekend we are shopping for a new toaster. We are looking for a four slicer. Retro style to fit with “our look”. With a de-frost function.
And then next week I will spend the entire week on the road and away from my family. My husband will work a 40+ hour week. Our girls will squeeze in four swimming lessons as well as girl guides and soccer and piano. Except that it won’t be us taking them, it will be our Nanny.
With all this in mind, is shopping for a toaster really a good use of my time this weekend? Is this spending quality time with my children? With the people that mean the most to me? Could I do better than this?
The toaster is symbolic of the clutter and chaos in our lives. But it is not just the “things” making our lives chaos. It is that we are pulled in every direction. It is the commitments. It is being asked to do things, to present at this conference or attend this group or this function or this fundraising event. All of these are “things” that take me away from what is really important to me, my family.
So we have been looking at minimalism. We have been reading The Minimalists and watched Minimalism: A Documentary About…. There was one quote that really spoke to me:
“I realized that I was completely and utterly trapped and that I would never be able to walk away from that amount of money ever in my life… and any dream that I had of living a life of purpose and meaning and being an adventurer and somebody that would actually take risks and live a life that is deliberate and intentional … those were gone. When you see your life scripted out and you recognize that this is not anything I want and why am I doing this … maybe this was never for me to begin with.”
In our industry we call it the Golden Handcuffs.
Am I working for money? No. Those are figures in a bank account.
Why am I working? Why am I chasing a career?
I chase success. But what is success? Who’s definition of success? Is success having a nice house and a nice car? Is success making other people happy? Saying yes? Committing to too many things for other people – people that don’t really matter to me.
I chase security. An ability to pay the bills, raise the children, pay for health insurance and dentists, invest and plan for retirement. Security is important to me.
So does minimalism mean to have to quit my job to live a simple life? No. Not straight away at least. To me it means living a life of purposefulness. To be mindful. To work towards my dream of a simpler and more intentional life. Minimalism is about chasing the good. And I need a plan to do that.
My Plan to make my life simpler and happier:
- Be purposeful in everything I do:
- When buying something – does this thing make my life easier? Does it serve a purpose? Is it useful? Does this thing give me value?
- Does saying yes to this commitment give me more quality time with my family? Does it promote a cause I value?
- Say no more often.
- I will exercise three times per week, including yoga at least once a week.
- I’m going to minimalise my wardrobe. I had been thinking of a wardrobe renovation so that I could fit more “stuff” in there. Surely there is a simpler answer? So i’m going to start with the 333 challenge. Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
- I’m going to have more cuddles with my girls.