Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
I was delighted to receive the following story from Graduate, and think it’s wonderful that she’s decided to pursue a minimalist lifestyle at such a young age.
I grew up in a pack-rat household, bordering on hoarding. We literally had four rooms in my house that were filled floor-to-ceiling with items still in their plastic shopping bags (thanks to my mother’s hobby of trying to own everything in the whole wide world). I was uneasy and always stressed growing up, not understanding how anyone would want to be surrounded by so many things or spending so much of their money on things they did not even value.
When I went off to college, my parents encouraged me to purchase every possible item I would ever need for my new apartment. In my own new space I was drowned out by things I did not want, but felt told were essential to “growing up” and “being an adult”.
It took me a year to realize that “growing up” and “being an adult” were the exact opposite of beginning my own attempt to purchase the entire universe. The way I saw it, to be an adult means to not care what others think of your choices, to own and value exactly what you want, and to stop trying to compete with what your peers had (I tried that in high school, it was nothing but miserable!).
It has been quite the journey in the past three years: I have given away over 70% of my things and never looked back. I am constantly trimming down my belongings even more. I have found that my interests, friends, and hobbies have changed because of it (and I feel for the better!). I no longer go to the mall to buy things with people I do not really feel are true friends…I go on a walk with a real friend and truly listen to her now. I have found friends that value me for the person I am, and not what I own.
I am not a survivalist minimalist, but one that weeds out everything but the essential. I truly feel more alive and more happiness than I ever thought was possible before. When people come to my home they are shocked at how little I own (and how little attachment I have to the few things I still own).
At 18, I had no idea that there was a word for this lifestyle; all I knew was that it was the right thing for me. At 23, I can barely remember the year I was “an adult” and look forward to so many more years of being me; having and doing the things in my life that make me happy. I have gained so much more than I have seemingly “lost”…a sense of self, personal and financial freedom, and confidence in bowing out of the competition.
I want to thank Miss Minimalist and everyone else who contributes to the blog. It is because of all of you that I have found endless inspiration, but more importantly, endless sense of belonging in this lifestyle.