No time like the present.
– Sarah Kerrigan, StarCraft
I know lots of people with lots of talents. One has ten novels in various stages of completion. Another has been working on the same app for as long as I’ve known him, which is close to ten years now. Yet another is a gifted musician, but she has so many other hobbies that she never settles down long enough to finish composing her first album.
I’m sure we all know someone like that. They’re the kings and queens of plans and spreadsheets, of New Year’s Resolutions and First-Of-The-Months, of bullet journals and fancy to-do stationery. They love to talk about their ideas, yet somehow, those ideas never seem to materialize. They’re always busy. Life gets in the way. They don’t have time to code, write or compose right now, but once the perfect moment comes along, the world had better watch out!
If you’re waiting for the perfect time to start your minimalist journey, you might as well start today. Right now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and realize that it’s time to free yourself from all the clutter that’s been getting in the way of the life you want.
Here are five quick questions to help you get started in your minimalist journey.
1. What do you really want to do?
Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of physical stuff. Possessions come and go. The one thing you’ll never get back is time.
Freeing yourself from the clutter that’s eating up your time isn’t as easy as chucking a bag of unwanted clothes in the donation bin. There are things you have to do… and there are things you think you have to do. The line between them isn’t always clear, but sometimes, there’s value in not doing something, and the short-term discomfort might be worth the time you’ll have gotten back.
2. What makes you happy?
Set aside all the podcasts, magazines and self-help books that tell you what flavor of happiness is trending this month. Ask yourself what makes you happy.
Your answer might go against conventional wisdom (believe it or not, people who don’t like to travel do exist). That’s fine! What makes you happy makes you happy, even if other people won’t see the appeal. Happiness isn’t a one-size-fits-all state of mind. It takes courage to be honest with yourself, but the reward is well worth it.
3. Who are the people whose company you enjoy?
Social media has complicated our relationships, but you can still untangle the web of your connections and weed out the vampires.
While you can’t avoid some people – like your co-workers or that annoying aunt who comes to every family reunion – you can still curate your social circle to some extent. And, for the sake of your sanity and your peace of mind, you probably should.
There are plenty of resources out there about how to identify and deal with toxic people, but a relationship doesn’t have to be abusive for you to want to end it. Sometimes, people just don’t ‘click’. Better to cut your losses and move on. The other person, too, will be free to find someone else they’ll hopefully jam better with.
4. What do you want your life to look like?
A minimalist lifestyle doesn’t have to be an ascetic one.
As a conscious minimalist, you give yourself the freedom to choose what kind of objects you want to surround yourself with, and discard everything else. As a bonus, once you start to get rid of unwanted items, you’ll find it easier to figure out which things you do need – the things that “spark joy”, as Marie Kondo masterfully writes.
These questions are intentionally broad. They’re only meant to be a starting point. What you do once you’ve answered them is up to you.
Photo source: DESIGNECOLOGIST