It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club
It’s typically said that minimalism is a journey. But in my experience there are three phases to minimalism.
Preminimalism is when we’ve just begun to understand what minimalism is. We’ve read some blogs. Our interest is piqued. We begin to self-analyse and prepare for action. We figure this stuff may be for you.
The next phase is Minimalism, the tough part: We sever the psychological ties to our stuff. We jettison our excess. We cease our consumerist habits. We experiment with less. We part with the old us. We throw off our shells to be left feeling lighter.
Once we’ve eliminated the superfluous and the excess – what now?
We have sowed, and now we can reap the reward.
We can sculpt the marble into what we want our lives to be. Free of society’s demands and expectations on our behaviour.
Your reward for your efforts is to lead a meaningful life.
A beautiful, meaningful life. A life unashamedly yours.
Designed by you.
Created by you.
Curated by you.
This is what I’d like to call the postminimalist phase.
If you’re in the postminimalist phase, you’re probably still paring down, but you’re reaching the limits of what it’s practical to live with. You may well have a minimalist wardrobe. You don’t have a garage full of boxes that you still need to go through and figure out what brings you joy. You’ve developed new habits that exclude accumulating detritus in future.
I write this to do two things:
- Encourage those that are beginning their journeys. There is a lot of work ahead. It may not seem worth it at times. I want to promise and reassure you that at the end of this marathon of self-discovery called minimalism is a beautiful, shining, iridescent finish line. Those of us who (feel we) have made it are beckoning you, encouraging you on.
- Inspire those who feel they are approaching the finishing line to create a meaningful life.
So what now? What are you going to do with your life? How are you going to create your meaningful life?
What we may find is that there are things from our old lives that still bring you joy and which we find value in. This is fantastic.
But the chances are that there will be time and space to fill with meaning and value.
I encourage you to explore some of the values below:
Does your job/career/mission align with your passion? Does the career you are pursuing align with your new values?
I believe we should all have a creative outlet. This could be drawing, writing, painting, photography, music, crafts. Anything that allows us unbridled self-expression. It is a gift to yourself.
Continually learning and reading brings me constant joy.
We should be taking care of our bodies through diet and exercise.
We should be willing to share with others. Pursue relationships which allow you both to blossom.
Chances are you have more money around if you’re spending less. Get out of debt and save for the future.
Be generous with your time and money where you can. Give to loved ones or strangers.
I’m curious as to what others think – is minimalism a journey or did you cross some milestones on the way? Where would you say you are on your path?