Like many people, my life had become a cyclical process of acquisition. I thought that if I had ‘things’ that gave me pleasure (nice car, better career, shoes that matched outfits and so on), then I would be happy. But I slowly discovered that it was not the objects that were giving me pleasure, but my perception of them. A nice car is just that; it is an inanimate object that is not capable of anything other than moving you from place to place. The pleasure derived from inanimate objects is fleeting and after the excitement of the purchase has worn off, we find ourselves scanning once more, looking for the next item that will provide us with our fix. This is exhausting and expensive. The monetary expense is considerable, but so too is the time you have lost hunting for new treasures.
The art of living simply frees you from all that. Simplicity is beautiful all by itself. Simplicity is when you live in the moment, appreciating what you already have without the compulsive need to accessorise it with possessions.
When I committed to living a simple, minimalist life all I felt was relief. I had excused myself from acquiring things that kept me up with my friends – I felt in control. I had opted to take the time to drink my cup of tea without the distraction of doing work at the same time, checking emails or updating my status. Because I had resigned from all that, I felt tranquil and at peace with myself.
Today, I enjoy a few carefully considered possessions. I think they are beautiful and useful and they add value to my life. They are quality and well designed but, they do not own me and I would not save them in a fire. Over the years I have developed habits that help me grow. I have learned to truly switch off; I have learned to be on time and I am organised.
Every change I make though, has a follow-on reaction. Although I do not work as hard as before, my income has reduced. I have gained more time and a less stressful life but, I can’t go out for dinner very often. Does the reduction in my spending power matter to me? Not anymore, but once upon a time it would have.
Now, I have the freedom to enjoy the sunset, hear the birds and smell the wet grass; and I love that I have the time to enjoy that cup of tea.