I’ve just finished an hour long walk through my favorite forest, which means my inspiration and desire to create is through the roof. Lately I’ve had this overwhelming itch to write, to create, to connect. This space has always been my first line of defense against whatever ailment plagues my mind, and although the last few years have been a valley of thoughts, I feel like I’m starting to see the peak.
It’s uncomfortable yet necessary to have the valleys in life, without these we will never experience the peaks.
I’m coming upon a new season in my life, one that I’ve been not so patiently waiting for. It’s been a long, unclear, and uncomfortable season for me the last few years, but as most say when they feel the end coming: I don’t regret any of it. I’ve discovered who I am as a person, what I’m capable of, and how resilient I am. I’ve also learned that when I feel stuck the best answer for me is to change something.
Key words: for me.
My mom claims a lack of responsibility to “stick things out” is a millennial thing. She doesn’t mean anything negative by this per se, but I always play devils advocate because my belief is that us “millennial’s” move around more often in life because we’re not afraid of chasing our dreams. We’re not afraid to break out of the mold we never fit into in the first place. I know in my soul when something doesn’t feel right, and those feelings manifest in other ways when I don’t listen.
The awesome thing about all of this is that when we listen and take the time to learn about ourselves, we have the ability to discover what we need. Needless to say I’ve had a lot of self discovery the last few years. One of my daily focuses these days is minimizing as much stress as possible. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt stressed and anxious when it comes to “excess.” Friends and family often don’t take me serious when I tell them, “please no gifts” for holidays and birthdays, but most of the time those gifts I receive are donated or re-gifted. I don’t do this to be inconsiderate, but I don’t want more than I truly need.
Living with less gives me so much more.
I go through spurts of minimizing my already minimal belongings, and I’ve been on a big downsizing kick lately. I’ve downsized to only clothing I wear or have worn within the last month, because how many shirts can I actually wear at once. I sold my iWatch, because the constant connection was draining and I wanted to be more intentional with my focus. I gave away jewelry because let’s be real, I don’t wear jewelry. I threw away my mascara because I haven’t worn makeup in months.
The list goes on…(I sold 11 thing on eBay and have raked in over $770 so far.)
What I gain each time I minimize is a sense of freedom. Freedom from belongings that bring me no value or joy, but just take up space physically and mentally. I’m a simple gal, with simple taste. I dress in dark neutral colors because it makes getting dressed in the morning effortless. I only wear things I feel truly comfortable and confident in because life is stressful enough without adding the pressure of “what will I wear today?”
I’ve always had this mindset tucked deep in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until the last few years I began to embrace this about myself. Sometimes it takes walking through a valley to reorganize your life and pay attention to what is important to you. Everything else has a way of fading into the background. As a teenager I cared about what people thought of me much too often, but as a “one year shy of 30 millennial” I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been.
One of the perks of our 20’s, they truly are about self discovery.
I’m well aware a minimalist lifestyle is not for everyone, but I do think everyone could benefit from consuming less in life. We live in a world where debt is at an all time high, we’re encouraged that if we don’t have the money for it to put in on our tab, when really if we don’t have the money for it then we cannot afford it. I struggle with understanding this mindset, because to me it’s always been obvious – if I can’t pay for it with cash, I can’t buy it.
End of story.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but I hope to see a day where we as consumers take control over our lives, and stop letting society influence us on what we consume. Do you really need that $80k car? Do you really need those $500 sunglasses? Or how about that five bedroom house that you’ll be paying off until you die when it’s just you and one other person living in it? Success is too often equated with money, and items, and the more you own the more successful you are, but is that really the truth?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with having “stuff” if you truly find endless joy in something, but to know the different between a quick fix and true joy takes diving deep into our intentions.
Success to me is a loving and healthy network of people, the ability to travel and learn about new cultures, the ability to have enough to get by right now, and enough to get by in the future (yes, I have a 401K and a Roth IRA) without the stress of needing a high paying job to pay for my lifestyle. My idea of success might be different than yours, and that’s OK, but I believe if you’re buying just to buy there’s likely a void in your life you’re trying to fill.
Once the joy from the new toy fades, we’re left with the same discontentment. We’re left feeling lost, like being a tourist in a big city.
This isn’t to say we should never buy things, I fully support when items bring true joy to our lives and will be used over and over. It’s the excess that acts as a coverup. The beauty of the world we live in is that we’re all entitled to our own opinions and ways of life, I won’t judge you for your consumption, but I also won’t pussyfoot around the destruction that can accompany a lifestyle riddled with excess.
The goal is not to be perfect, the goal is to be aware. I have my moments of desire to purchase things I likely do not need, but being aware helps keep me on track with my values. How much of your stuff is cluttering your life, blocking the space of something you truly need? Blocking your desire to travel, to connect, to inspire?
I love connecting with like minded individuals, either in real life, or through podcasts, social media, and books.
This goes for other consumption as well. I don’t struggle with material possessions, but I do have two areas I need to be consciously aware of: food, and social media. I can easily get lost in a bag of cookies if I don’t eat with intent, and social media is a rabbit hole I’ve hopped down too many times to count. I recently deactivated my personal Facebook, and spent a week without Instagram on my phone because I was over-consuming both.
Momentarily stepping away is all it takes for me to remember why I use social media: to connect, not to pass time when I could be doing something more productive.
With all things in life there’s a balance. Consumption isn’t satanic, and living with less doesn’t make you above everyone else. I’m not telling you you’re a bad person if you buy a lot of things, and social media can be a great tool when used correctly. My goal with this post is to encourage and inspire those reading to listen to their hearts and stop letting others influence the way they live.
For years I lived my life based on how someone else told me I should, and all that got me was a life full of stress, a mind full of discontent, a body overcome by disease, and a soul stifled with stagnation. It’s amazing how quickly things can change for the better when we start to live our truth. Our truth – everyone is unique.
As always, when I pour my soul onto the virtual pages of this blog – I feel uplifted, relieved, renewed.
To end I leave you with this – think about what success means to you. You don’t have to minimize to feel success. If you wan’t success to equal money then more power to you, but I’d argue most of us want more out of this life. Our truth is constantly changing, don’t be afraid to redirect multiple times. This is just one of my examples of success (I have many,) and yours will likely look different, but that’s what makes us all beautifully human. We get to write our own stories, no one else.
Q: How do you define success?
42 thoughts on “Success for Less – an Individualistic Approach”
kathy @ more coffee less talky
decluttering your home = decluttering your mind, imo. the more stuff you want/have, the more draining it is.
tell me your ebay selling ways! do you just set up an account and list your stuff?
YES, I agree 100%. I legit feel so overwhelmed when I’m surrounded by too many things, even when they’re not mine. I feel a sense of calm with a minimalist lifestyle.
eBay is super easy, but I only use it for things I KNOW will sell (like name brand clothes, my iWatch, and I had three jewelry items from Tiffany’s that sold.) I just created an account, and started listing! They take 10% though, so just be aware of that!
Success to me is setting goals and then achieving them. It’s also recognizing why I don’t achieve them if/when I don’t, and then readjusting.
That’s a great approach. Readjusting is key, and not beating yourself up when things don’t go like you thought or hoped.
Nice post! I’m heading into my 28th year…still discovering things about me too.
Thanks friend, we will forever be learning!
My version of minimalism: live like a grad student. Example: I will ride my bike to Key West. I bought it in 1991.
I used to play cards with a friend. He always turned his cards over, seeking a different, better hand. You live life like that. (BTW, I rarely beat him.) He learned this practice while planning cards with his father who was dying of cancer.)
Wow bike from 1991!? Amazing!
45,000 miles and counting!
When you turn 20😲
your birthday cake should say “Ten Hard Years Ahead” It’s not all rainbows after 29 but life is a good teacher. You’re getting better at it by the day.
HA! I don’t expect life will EVER be butterflies and rainbows, but this current self discovery chapter is coming to an end. A new one will start, but a different topic of discovery! 🙂
I went to college thinking I’d reinvent myself and be done. I didn’t realize I was just getting started in a life-long process called living.
First off: I’ve been trying to find a mutli-use face & body oil for a while now, so this post came in clutch today! I’m going to get some of the oil you mentioned as your only beauty product and try it out. 🙂
Secondly: I couldn’t agree more. There are so many “ideals” we are told my society to live up to and achieve, but we are not all cut from the same cloth and will not all feel the same sense of fulfillment from the same life. God created each of us to fulfill a unique purpose in the world, and until we stop trying to be like everyone else, we can’t discover just us.
Minimalism has seriously revolutionized my world. Since I started tossing belongings several years ago (with the understanding that they literally do not make me a better person, just add to the “stuck” feeling I so loathe) I’ve been so much freer, energized, and productive. Exhibit A: laundry only takes me 1 hour every 2-3 weeks. I do so little laundry that I haven’t even bothered to purchase a washer/dryer for my apartment and have no desire to do so. Not a lot of 20-somethings can say that. It’s pretty friggin’ liberating.
Thank you for sharing your soul-thoughts. They have inspired me once again. ❤
I LOVE that oil. I don’t use any products because I don’t want the chemicals in my body, so this was a trial and error for me to find the oil I liked best. I tried coconut and olive prior to this, and I enjoyed the olive oil, but the argan has no smell so that won me over. I just get my palms a bit damp with water and pour some oil into them and mix all over. I love it on my face too! I hope you like it. Other good ones are jojoba and almond oil!
Excellent call out about how we were all created for a unique purpose. It’s a long tiring road to keep trying to be like everyone else! And no fun!
I LOVE that you don’t own a washer or dryer, I use my moms to wash my clothes, but also don’t do much laundry. I only ever have one load at a time. For me, the latest “do I really need this” item was a printer. I’ve needed to print a few things here and there, but I don’t want a printer EVEN though I wouldn’t have to pay for it (I have a college fund I could use for it.) I just don’t want it to clutter my space, so I visit the library and pay ten cents when I need to print. It works!
I’m definitely excited to give it a go! I was using a green tea moisturizer for about a year, but it was just getting way too expensive and I was having a hard time justifying it. My skin has been freaking out on me since I gave the green tea up and started using regular lotions. Hence the new search for another natural moisturizer that isn’t as expensive and can be used in more ways than one. Fingers crossed this one works for me!
Kudos to you for opting out of the printer! Those things are honestly more of a nuisance than not, what with upkeep and how often they break down. Your way, it’s the library’s expense. Smart move if you ask me, especially if it’s not something you need on a daily basis. Less baggage, less work, more freedom. 😊
Love love love!! I literally just finished reading “Essentialism” yesterday, and… It basically echoes just about everything that you said. Coincidence? Somehow I don’t think so. 😉 Also… Over the weekend, I realized that if social media totally disappeared tomorrow… I wouldn’t care at all. I’d probably be much happier. 😉 I almost never go on my personal accounts for FB or IG — in all honesty, I only go on FB to see my mom’s puppy pictures. That’s literally it! 🙂
Social media was stressing me out more than I realized, mostly when it came to notifications and needing to clear away all the updates. SO I deleted the apps from my phone and have felt so much better. Facebook was something I rarely used anyway, but when I did I would just spend too much time mindlessly scrolling. I enjoy being offline in some ways, and it inspires me to want to be more active HERE on the blog. This is a positive social media outlet for me!
I’m going to look for that book, thanks for sharing!!
We are one. My van and I are coming to visit 🙂
YASS!!! I’ll keep daydreaming about having a Sprinter van and being your neighbor.
” It’s amazing how quickly things can change for the better when we start to live our truth. Our truth – everyone is unique.”
Amen! Leaving this page uplifted…thanks! ❤
Thank YOU for reading, and sharing! ❤
So deep. I love this. Like so, so much. I like what you said about living minimally not making you above everyone else and consumption not being satanic, but there being a balance is what’s vital. Also, good for you knowing what works for you when you need change. Millennial tendency or not (I’m sick of people ragging on millennials, man!!). I like when you have the urge to write 🙂
Seriously, I think we as millennial’s are onto something with our way of life! 🙂
Success for me is happiness, and I usually obtain that through people, experiences and quiet moments. So rarely is stuff involved unless you count books and food. 🙂
Yes!! Book are bringing me much happiness lately. I am loving connecting more to those than to the instanet.
I LOVE the sandal/feet photos, SO CUTE! I am not being a weirdo 😉 And is that a polypody fern?
I don’t find it weird at all! Even if it were a love outside of the “norm.” HA. I couldn’t confirm for sure with the fern, but it sure looks like one from the photos on Google!! I’m going to say yes, and claim to have learned something new today!
Love this! Oh yes, I can relate. My dad once said this to me as a teenager, but I don’t think I understood until I got much older and owned a house. He said, ‘the more stuff you owe, the more it owns you.” Kawpow. Mind blown. He probably said this in the 1970s. -Kat
YES, I love that quote and it’s so true!
Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
This post is some great food for thought lady! I definitely respect your minimalist lifestyle & it sounds like you are truly doing what feels best for you. Personally, I’m not a minimalist in that I have too many clothes & am terrible about throwing stuff out, but I would say that I try to live my life consciously & mindfully. It blows my mind how much people live above their means & put things on credit that they don’t really need. I’d much rather go on an adventurous getaway than buy a new purse! I think that our generation looks too much to material things for happiness, and I always try to be mindful of that in my own life.
That’s the beauty of minimalism, there is no one size fits all!! It’s not about how much or how little you have, but rather how intentional you are with your purchases! So if those clothes bring you joy, that’s great!
GiGi Eats Celebrities
YOU TURNED MY ON TO THAT ARGON OILLLLL!!!! And now I BATHEEE my face in it EVERY DAY!! F OFF La Mer!!! 😉 Thank you for saving me $300 every 4 – 5 months, ha!
OMG I love this comment so much, I didn’t know you liked it! I realize I never followed up with you. I saw argan oil at TJ’s last week, and will give theirs a try when this runs out. It’s organic and pure, and half the price!
Beautiful thoughts my friend. Detachment is what I’m getting from this. It’s OK to have things that mean something to you but not to let your things HAVE you.
Thanks for sharing.
YES, that’s a great way to phrase it. What we own has the tendency to own us, and I wan’t no part of that!
I don’t think that’s something you have to worry about. You are far too self aware. I look to you for inspiration!
Your comment has made my day, thank’s Josh! 🙂
“Us millenials” are definitely a nomadic generation. I am totally feeling this post!
It’s true, we’re just a bunch of free spirits. I see nothing wrong with this if done smartly!
While I think this is a great post I would have to say that with where I am in my life I am working towards the norms. I have a college degree, an analyst job at a large corporation, a 401k and I am vested in the company pension, and my ultimate GOAL is to buy my OWN house in the next 5-8 years. In the meantime I save, save, save. But that doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in the finer things of life because you know what … if we STOP spending then others lose their jobs and they can’t spend and in turn keep us employed. I am a firm believer in spending smartly so that the economy stays alive. 🙂
I totally agree with you!! This post isn’t to say we SHOULDN’T spend, we all need SOME things, rather to spend wisely. I love your goal oriented path, I think it’s great. The balance of differences among people is what makes the world go round!!