Growing up (or even just a few short years ago) I never, ever would have imagined writing a post about how I became a minimalist.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a minimalist is, simply defined, someone who decides to be intentional about what things (possessions, people, ideas) they include in their life. Practically, this means minimalists generally own few things and strive to live smaller, simpler lives (less things = more joy!)
Adapting a minimalist mindset is one of the most powerful ways I have changed my life; it has reshaped how I spend my days and helped me find the freedom to follow my dreams.
But I’ll be honest – minimalism didn’t come easy for me (at least not at first.) It was a long and sometimes painful journey.
I’ll be sharing how I practice minimalism and details about how it has changed my life later in this post, but first let’s start at the beginning with a snapshot of what my life used to look like.
MY STORY OF TOO MUCH STUFF
I have always, always had a lot of stuff. I wasn’t raised to be particularly materialistic, but I grew up in middle class America and I think it was hard not to be in that environment. (I was a Girl Scout and we actually went camping inside the local shopping mall! We sang Kumbaya in the food court and then went shopping all night.)
Also, like many teenagers, I lacked self confidence and buying things helped me feel like I fit in. However, I was different from a lot of other kids because I started working at a very young age. My grandparents owned a restaurant and by the time I was sixteen I had two jobs. I think most teenage girls love shopping, but I could do much more of it because I had more money to spend. (Working so much also made me feel like I deserved to buy things.)
When I was 18 I moved into my first apartment. I was very independent and bullheaded at the time (some would say I still am!) I was studying full time but I didn’t want to live like a ‘student’ (sharing a flat, hand me down furniture), so I worked 70 hour weeks to afford to live alone and have nice things.
However, a few years into University, I met some overseas students that opened my mind to new ideas about travel. It’s a long story, but the short version is that within a few years I had sold/given away almost all my things, travelled around the world, and moved to Australia.
For two years I lived a nomadic life with almost no possessions, so one would think this would be the point in my life where I realised the value of living simply and learned to appreciate the freedom that comes with not having too much stuff!
This story is fascinating! Thanks for sharing Jennifer! Read the rest of her story here!