Over the last two years I have come to find a simpler way of living. I've reduced two thirds of my possessions, sold a home that I had been struggling to pay and maintain for 8 years, paid off nearly $50,000 in debt, moved into a small one bedroom apartment with my dog, ditched all my social media, reevaluated the people, things and situations I add or keep in my life and began working two jobs.
I found my path to Minimalism in the most unlikely way: on a cold, rainy day in November 2015. While summiting a slippery mountain, I broke my new phone. The discontent had been brewing for years and something snapped in me. It wasn't any one thing, but a multitude of events and setbacks in my 20's all added together that brought me to this moment where I drew a line. Initially, I thought my anger stemmed from breaking this new, expensive phone I had just purchased (i.e. financed), when in reality, I was ashamed and disgusted with myself that I didn't even have the money in my bank accounts to pay the $200 replacement fee. Two hundred dollars was all I needed to get a replacement, but I didn't have it. All the while missing the beautiful vista and the fact that this material object was stressing me out so much that it made my life seem ridiculous and completely out of control.
I will never forget the shame I felt and decided I wasn't going to live that way anymore. The next morning, I began researching various “how to get out of debt” combinations and I came across an article about a family of four who paid off $20,000 in 9 months on an income below $40,000 and I was incredulous. How is it that I had a larger income, yet I couldn’t get rid of my debt as a single person? Through more research I found Minimalism, but more specifically, The Minimalists' blog and their podcast. Presenting such a simple concept simply was all I needed to revolutionize my life. I now clean less, drive less, stress less about what to wear and read more. I have a new love of indoor gardening and in addition to my regular walks with my dog, I hike and bike through the city I love. I buy less, waste less, reuse more and feel life is just a little simpler.
Although I have more options and freedom to do what I want moving forward, instead of paying for the past, it doesn’t automatically make everything easy. Life still requires difficult decisions, living below your means, trying new things, figuring out what you do (and don’t) want, and falling down along the way. Essentially, any life worth living requires hard work. And it’s a beautiful process.