I always thought minimalism meant living in an empty apartment with one white chair and one transparent table. I never thought that life was for me.
My minimalism journey started when I paid off huge amounts of consumer debt. I had debt because I kept buying things in an effort to find happiness. The advertisements were flashing in neon lights, showing me just how happy I could be if I got the next car, holiday, outfit, accessory, or must-have item. The problem was that there was no happiness to be found in these places where I was buying. I grappled for more stuff and noise to fill my life, not understanding that I was drowning. This was the opposite of what I was trying to achieve. I was surrounded by piles of stuff that I either disliked or had no use for.
I remember when I started listening to The Minimalists’ podcast. I was moving houses and unpacking box, after box, after box. Moving was such a big task because of all the possessions I owned. It was an overwhelming burden to manage all of the stuff.
Gradually, I started taking better care of myself. I went for long walks, listening to advice from podcasts. I dropped a few vices, and bought less of the rubbish I usually filled my life with. I started cooking and taking more of an interest in those around me. I was already in my late 20s but it felt like I was growing up.
Now, I only have items in my possession that make me happy or that I have a use for. I do not feel the need to fill my life with noise and things just for the sake of it. I try to ignore advertisements, even though they are everywhere. I have discovered meditation, which helps me clear my mind of clutter and focus on what I really want in life. I used to juggle the people in my life, trying to accept every invitation and attend every social occasion. I no longer push myself to do this. It is true that “the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind.” Now, I make the most of time spent with friends and family instead of burning the candle at both ends.
Minimalism is a whole package: the items in your possession, the thoughts running through your head, and all of your relationships. By reviewing these areas, I created the life I wanted to live. I learned that less is more and quality beats quantity. I learned to be ruthless with my time.
Finding minimalism was a light bulb moment—a turning point in my life. I always thought that having more would make me happy. It turns out my happiness was under the pile of things I had accumulated. All it took was for me to find it again.