How Minimalism Changed My Life

Every time I visit my parents' house, being surrounded by my old things, I am reminded of the different chapters of my life. All those objects signify treasured memories for me, and I felt a little uneasy moving away and leaving those things behind, as if they were little pieces of me.

I used to place such an importance on the things that I owned. I was the girl who needed to buy a postcard during every trip, had books on the shelves that were untouched, constantly added to an overflowing closet, all in the hopes of becoming the person I aspired to be. I was collecting things because I thought that's what it meant to build a life, to build a sense of self.

But somewhere along the journey, I realized that I couldn't buy my way into achieving truly the important things in life. Pursuing a materialistic path often left me feeling empty, even when I had a house full of stuff.

Making the bed

Coming back home this time around, I realized that I never truly left anything behind. While these things were sitting here on the shelf collecting dust, the precious memories, stories and milestones were with me at all times.

To say that minimalism changed my life would be such an understatement. It was a very gradual process but I recognize it when I just come across different situations in my life.

For example, being back home, I can really reflect back on the person that I was and I can almost see my old thought patterns and habits. It just makes me realize how differently I look at life now.

I never wanted luxury goods and fancy things, but my goals were very materialistic nonetheless. When I started working and had disposable income for the first time, I immediately started buying things, like cute outfits and things to fill my house.

That was not fulfilling in any way, but it was very satisfying. I was more than happy to work multiple jobs to be able to pay for those things, and I never stopped and thought about if this was even giving me any kind of value.

People at a fayre

Even if my wants were not physical things, I always wanted to live in a specific place. I wanted to travel often and eat at expensive trendy restaurants. This is how our consumerist culture sees wealth, so I was conditioned to believe that the path to success and happiness was to accumulate things.

However, the closer I got to achieving this materialistic success, the more I noticed how empty it was. This constant pursuit of chasing these things was exhausting, and I found no value in it. To afford the clothes, the curated home, and all the things that I mentioned, I needed to work constantly, and I never stopped and thought about those costs.

Discovering minimalism was when I first started questioning what I was trying to achieve. It was really refreshing to see different people, all different walks of life, in different countries, striving for a simple and more intentional life. It made me rethink everything, especially my definition of success and how I wanted to spend my time and my money.

Watching the sunset

Once I realized how little I really needed to be happy and to thrive, just getting rid of everything else was pretty easy. I decluttered, readjusted my budget and my lifestyle, but the main thing happening was restructuring my values and restructuring my life to conform to those new values. For the first time, I was envisioning the life that I wanted to live and set a path out for myself.

I think the true benefit of minimalism really compounded after that. With the changes in our lifestyle and budget, my husband and I were able to reduce our work hours.

Of course, this is not an option for everyone, so we are so grateful to be able to do that. At the same time, I would not be able to look for that option if I had kept up the same irresponsible and unsustainable lifestyle that we had been living.

I am so happy we have found the path that is right for us. Now even if we earn a lot more money, we are just not interested in upgrading our lifestyles that much.

I am very happy to live in a small house, preferably with privacy, where my dogs can run around, so our lifestyle would stay more or less the same. However, with that extra income, I could build my parents a home next to ours, support businesses that I really want to support, and contribute to causes that I feel passionate about.

There are so many different ways that we could spend our money, and minimalism really made me realize that I could redirect my earnings to make a bigger impact.

Cabin in woods

Money has such an important role in our society, but it really has no value when it comes to our inner journey. Money cannot buy us a personality, relationships with people, or other virtues that we have to actually work for. If anything, it can buy us the illusion of having those things that will never fulfill us in the same way.

What is the point of having more if we do not appreciate what we have? What is the point of having spare time if we do not even know what to do with it? What is the point of having a full social circle if those people would not be there when we need them? And what is the point of looking wealthy if we do not understand the true meaning of wealth?

Personally, I am not chasing that illusion anymore. I want things in my life that are more real, tangible, and authentic to me. I think that is really worth working towards and striving for in life.

How minimalism changed my life

How has your relationship with money changed over the years? How did minimalism change your life? Leave a comment and share your story!

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