As 2017 kicks off, many people are making an effort to start working on their New Year's resolutions. I personally haven't made any. I prefer to make a list of goals for each month. I find that these goals are easier to accomplish and change with me as I am inspired to do different things throughout the year.
One resolution that people may have made this year is to enjoy the "here and now" of life more. Cell phones and other forms of instant communication have certainly helped us stay in contact with those far away, but they are disrupting our relationships with those in front of us. How many times have you met for coffee with someone only to have them using their phone the entire time?
I recently watched the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and was really inspired by its message. In a world filled with advertisements telling us to fill the void with buying "more stuff," true happiness is found in appreciating what we already have. Additionally, I like that the Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, see value in keeping the things that give us joy. Do you collect something? Great. Keep it, if it gives you joy. However, those 5 sweatshirts you never wear, the broken pair of scissors, your multiple throw pillows... donate or get rid of them and you will find yourself happier and more fulfilled.
I personally have been living as a minimalist since I began to travel. As a full-time traveler, I only really own what I can carry on my back or pull behind me in a suitcase. I live with the essentials. In the film, it is stated that there is a threshold that needs to be met. In other words, we can't have too little, or too much stuff. It needs to be Goldilocks-style: "just right."
I really liked that the documentary made the following points:
1. The amount of stuff you get rid of will be different for everyone. Someone may be very happy owning just one pair or jeans, whereas his daughter may be quite attached to all her stuffed animals. Change in a way that makes you happy. Find your personal threshold.
2. The Minimalists are not trying to convert anyone. They are simply raising awareness of an alternate lifestyle. Both of them spent their 20s working in the corporate world, earning a lot of money, but weren't satisfied. They see this movement as an option.
3. Minimalism is environmentally sustainable. In the film, there are a few interviews with people who live in "tiny houses." These houses use a fraction of the energy that a normal house would, and simply don't have enough space for excess consumption.
If you'd like to learn more about minimalism, check out TheMinimalists.com or watch the documentary (available on Netflix.)
Have you switched to a more minimalist lifestyle? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear more about it!
~ Jamie and David
is an American educator, creator and wellness influencer who has been living the abroad life since 2009! She is bird obsessed, always a travel jinx and pays the bills by teaching English. Learn how to get abroad and live your best life once you're there!