Minimalism has become a trendy word, a fascination, and something widely misunderstood. It has become a movement, broken down into soundbites, Marie Kondo, and images of stark interiors with no sense of warmth. I am both elated and frustrated by this. Elated because it means that people are breaking away from what society would have us believe defines success. Frustrated that the minimalist lifestyle is merely seen as a fad, something that will pass as people fall back into old habits. And while this will inevitably be true for some, for many, including myself, minimalism has been a journey, one that runs deeper than any trend or fad.
The first time I discovered decluttering (the word “minimalism” had yet to enter into my vocabulary) I was a senior in high school. To this day I am uncertain what sparked my desire to clean, donate, and box up my possessions, leaving only that which I used and/or enjoyed. I was simply overcome with the urge to do so. I remember the airy, light, and intoxicating feeling that came along with the process. It is a feeling that still comes over me every time I decide to let go of another thing or possession that I no longer need.
In college (somewhere that I never dreamed of attending while growing up) I would lay awake at night, contemplating the possibility of selling everything I owned, and living out of a backpack. I craved freedom, but didn’t know how to achieve it.
For most of my adult life, I wasn’t intentional about minimalism. The dreams and desires to live as a nomadic writer and photographer were still floating around in my head, but they felt obscure, like a pipe dream, to the point where I didn’t even try to touch them. I was in debt, devoid of purpose, and much of the decluttering in my adult life had to do with moving eight times in nine years. I wasn’t doing what I loved. I was barely making ends meet. With every move, I would swap possessions, decluttering some and still buying more. I would wonder how I had so much stuff and why I was so miserable most of the time.
I wanted more.
When my grandpa died on November 30, 2017, I was consumed by thoughts of Ecclesiastes and the brevity of life. My focus, which previously had no horizon line past the here-and-now, shifted. I began to ask, “What really matters in life?” and, “Am I honoring my grandfather’s legacy?”
The answer to the final question was no.
I didn’t like that answer.
With each passing day I have become more focused and more intentional. Taking inventory of my time and my possessions is now a daily task. Getting out of debt is priority number one since it is something that will free me to do other things. Along the way I find inspiration from others walking a similar journey. Minimalism has infiltrated every area of my life, much to my benefit.
It is a common misconception that minimalism is only about how many possessions that you own when, in reality, it is about living simply, doing more with less, and living a life focusing on things that really matter. These things are namely faith, relationships, and stewardship. It is about curating a life rich with meaning, one that leaves a legacy for the generations to come.
Life is short. Will you join me as I unpack perspectives, philosophies, tips, and more about what it means to be a minimalist? I would be honored if you would follow my journey and subscribe.