New Years Resolution: Become a Minimalist

After spending the majority of 2013 traveling, there is one thing I have come to find extremely useful- having less stuff. This whole concept of minimalism is not a new one, however, it goes against the American ideal that material possessions are a direct indicator of wealth and success. This is one ideal I am ready to give up.

While spending a month urban backpacking through Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua I ended up only carrying a few items:

-28 L pack

-bathing suit

-towel

-a few toiletries

-2 shirts

-1 dress

-1 pair of pants

-1 pair of shorts

– 1 rain jacket

This way of traveling made everything so much easier. It was easy to get around, I had less to worry about at hostels, and there was no stress in choice. I didn’t need to worry about which shirt I would wear because the answer was the one that wasn’t wet from the downpour earlier. Life was suddenly simple.

Arriving back to the Bay Area immediately became overwhelming. So many things, so many people. How to choose? What really was the best time allotment? Well I’ve decided this year to really focus on what is important to me- the outdoors, cultivating my relationships, traveling the world, and diving into my research.  In order to accomplish this though I will need to ask for less hours at my paid job, focus my energy & time  and become less materialistic. And what I mean by this is just own less stuff! Have less pointless choices available in order to focus on the things that matter.  In an average week I probably spend 3 hours cleaning, 1 hour choosing an outfit, and in all honesty, I probably only use about 20% of the items I own. For what?

But its scary to take out the pointless things in your life. What if you might need that old hammer in the future? Or that extra pair of scissors you have laying around your desk? Well that is all part of the leap. So for a little inspiration I have ordered Essential Essays by the minimalist pros Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. These two are truly inspiring. And although I don’t plan to get rid of every possession or own only 100 items, I think some things can be changed and discarded for the better.

And I would like to point out a little piece of wisdom that I quite like from Joshua and Ryan…stop giving gifts. Instead of an item, give an experience- like a hike in the woods, tickets to a show, or a homemade dinner. These things incorporate others into our lives instead of excluding them with the distraction of things. Also, as per their suggestion,  I’m going to not use the interest at home. Instead I will take notes of things I will need to look up in the future and use the internet at cafes. This will allow for more reading time at home as well as control the craziness of just surfing the web. Plus, who knows, maybe I’ll make some new cafe friends 🙂 Anyways, we’ll see how it goes!

~B

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