Have you ever heard of the Bloggers/Writers/Life-Mastering-Duo The Minimalists? I stumbled across their blog years ago before I had started writing pieces for a personal blog and way before Creative and Chaos formed, and it was one of those sites and checked back into every once in a while. Just this morning I came across their documentary Minimalism on Netflix and realized that it was the same fellas from the blog I had stumbled across years ago and I must say, I’m hooked. Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus have sparked a little extra something in me and I think I may have gotten the guidance I need to move forward in a purposeful life. One that isn’t so focused on a need to work for money, money to afford these things I don’t really need.
About a year ago I found myself living in a place I wasn’t fond of, feeling down about myself and rolling through the motions trying to please other people instead of myself. Fast forward to now and although I am living more for myself, than I have in the past, I am still not where I want to be. I still find myself worried about disappointing others sometimes. I am just going through the motions of working to pay the rent, attending most of my classes, coming home to go to a meeting or two, snacking and then going to bed just to wake up and do the same thing the next day. I’m stuck in a routine – a futile one at that.
I explained it to a friend this morning; I’m really just using these few years to get a piece of paper that says I know what I know. I work many different photo gigs and my regular day job to pay the rent, sometimes skip classes to get a good gig or to get that much-needed sleep I’ve been lacking from working too much. I work on my essays the day before or in some extreme cases the day of because I’ve been spending other time doing other papers or research or work. I have studied for two of my finals this semester the day of, in one occasion a measly 5 hours before the examination was scheduled to start. I go to meetings for extra curricular activities that I overwork myself for, and I barely see the people I love spending time with because I am always so busy trying to get ahead in this life. I’m doing all of this in a city that contributes very little to my happiness and that feels like the worst part of it all. I don’t have that sanctuary of being able to go for a stroll in the evening or to go to the community library where I see my neighbour and the lovely cashier from the supermarket. I have a lack of topophilia to this place, no sense of belonging and, time not spent doing what I love with the people I enjoy the company of. I need to find another place I can call my own home (aside from my famjam home of course), and I guess I didn’t realize how important that feeling of home was to me.
So that brings me to this whole minimalism thing and the notion of living a purposeful life. We work so hard to pay for the things we have and the things we are told we need. For me, that’s renting a place in a city that doesn’t contribute to my happiness, just so I can attend classes that I am mostly attending just to get a piece of paper that shows future employers I’m mouldable. At this juncture, I’ve come to realize that this just isn’t reason enough to stay so, here’s the plan!
Steps to Living my More Purposeful Life
- MOVE AWAY: In a years time I hope to be living in a new town (maybe a small town?) that has a library I can visit on the regular, a cute coffee shop that I can sit in to do my writing ,photography work and school work, a job that pays the bills but offers something greater to my life (much like my job now actually), and a place that I can have an affinity towards. Hopefully I can find somewhere with cheaper rent and a space I can call my own and I can do this and still finish my degree through online and continuing education classes.
- DOWN SIZE: I have a lot of stuff – after watching the Minimalism documentary I realized that it is possible to live without all these unnecessary things. I have all these clothes that I never wear but can’t get rid of. I have more paint than I can use in my art, too many books (I never thought I’d say that but I honestly need to cut down), an abundance of knickknacks and a lavish amount of beauty/fashion products and accessories that haven’t been touched since I left high school. Over the next few months I will be cutting down and donating/selling a majority of these things that collect dust.
- PEOPLE & EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS: This one is a tricky one. There was this quote that kept resurfacing and I feel like I saw Will Smith as the author but I’m not entirely sure so let’s for now say he is the author until someone comments on this post telling me other wise, ‘We spend money we don’t have to buy the things we don’t need to impress the people we don’t like’. Now ain’t that the truth but it’s a cycle society has put us in – we’ve been socialized by this consumption in a way that is not visible to us. My guilty pleasure has been clothes and more recently make-up. With the exceptions of certain staples, I really don’t need all of these things. My money that is spent so often on clothing and little knickknacks I will get bored with in a week, could be much better spent on a weekend up north with my partner, a night out with my family or a day trip with my ladies. Experiences are the important things; time with the people you love. I mean I’ve never cared about receiving gifts and have always longed for experiences or time out with loved ones during holidays/birthdays but when it comes to purchasing, I haven’t focused my energy on the people I love and I think that has contributed to my lack of happiness.
- MOVE ON: This is my last step; to stop holding on to that resentment and to that worry that things will revert to how they were in the past. Every day is a new day with new possibilities and I have to stop living through the lens of my past encounters, my past situations and my past relationships because it is what I do now that will define who I am.
So that is the plan and I will think of it as an ever-growing new years resolution to a happier me with a purpose! Cheers to an update on how this goes friends and thanks for sticking it out until the end of this thousand word post!