How Living With Less Made Me A Happier Person

If you live in Toronto and have looked into buying a house, you’ve probably discovered that the average home price has nearly tripled since 2000. Meanwhile, average student debt ranges anywhere from $17,000 to $40,000, depending on where you went to school in Canada. This dismal fact has forced a ton of millennials to rethink what we thought would be our destiny. So, if you’re considering a change in direction, you should definitely check out minimalism, a “no-hack” life hack all about living with intention that I am FULLY on board with. 

A bit of back story: When I was growing up, I assumed I’d own a home similar (basically) to the one I grew up in (a two-storey house with decent size property). But now, as an adult, I see the financial burdens associated with that and I don’t really want anything to do with it. It’s not that I don’t trust myself to be able to pay for it. I know I could work my ass off in some job and buy that version of a life and make it mine. For sure. But I would have to rearrange virtually everything I do in order to pay for it. And it might be worth it. I don’t know. It could be, maybe.

But what I do know as sure as I know myself, is that large sums of debt and big looming bills make me anxious. To me, they just don’t feel like part of a comfortable life. I want my home to be a place that makes me feel at ease, and I don’t feel at ease if I know I’ll be locked into a routine or grind I can’t change. I just don’t want to spend my life giving over huge chunks of my brain power to pay for my house. There’s so much else I want to do.

I want the kind of growth that looks like continuously shaping my life into something intentional / meaningful. That’s really all that matters to me. Not stuff. Not a huge house. I won’t get what I want if I feel oppressed by my possessions. That’s why I like the idea behind minimalism, that’s all about removing the clutter from our daily lives to make room for the things that matter. (The movement comes from Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who created The Minimalists, which has become a book, podcast and documentary about this way of living). For me, minimalism is about less people involved in my finances, contracts to sign, responsibilities that don’t feel right, and more of me just keeping my whole life a hell of a lot closer to me. 

With that in mind, here are 10 ways I’m embracing minimalism in my life now:

  1. I keep my notifications turned off for stretches at a time.
  2. When I do need to shop, I try to be forward-thinking. I really liked this sentiment from Buzzfeed: “When considering adding possessions, try to picture the item in your home six months from now. You’ll generally find that you can skip it.”
  3. I make a point to keep clear surfaces. Especially tables and desks.
  4. As a meditation practice, I practice “being enough.” For me, this is about being present and accepting my limitations. I love this guided meditation by Tara Brach: At Home in the Moment.
  5. I surround myself with people who love and support me, and take anyone else’s feedback with a grain of salt. (This is a really helpful way to feel that aforementioned enough-ness.)
  6. I’ve quit buying things just because they’re “adult items” and since I’m an adult I feel I need to have them (i.e.: dijon mustard, a toothbrush holder, etc.)
  7. I’ve stopped overbooking myself and feeling guilty about not doing enough. Fuck. That.
  8. I aim to be intentional with my money. I save for the things I want. I don’t live beyond my means.
  9. I pay attention to the moon phases as a way to feel more in touch with nature.
  10. I don’t automatically put on music or a podcast when I sit down to work or go to do my dishes or cook. Silence is valuable.

What do you do to be more present in your life? Let us know in the comments. 


Tags: minimalism

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