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.
This week, Joel tells us how impending fatherhood sparked his interest in minimalism. He writes about how to simplify, organize, and be money wise on his blog, Value of Simple.
It all started with, “Honey… I’m pregnant!”
That’s what my wife Melinda told me that wonderful day in April 2010, and that’s when my minimalist journey really began. By the time Grant – my first son – was born in November 2010, I was a fundamentally different person.
Initially, I had a passing interest in minimalism. I dabbled in reading Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist website. I clicked on a couple of website links related to this “simplicity/minimalism” thingamajig. But I wasn’t serious about it until I learned I was going to be a papa soon.
It was at this transformative moment that I forced myself to make a giant decision: will I choose an intentional life or will I continue floating from one arbitrary point to another?
Fortunately, I choose the path of enrichment and experimentation. The quest for a personal renaissance was ignited and the light of a meaningful and rewarding legacy was lit. Not just for me, but for everyone around me.
I selected minimalism as a tool to grant me (no pun intended) the self-awareness that I had always hoped would be magically awarded. Yet unlike most people’s minimalist journeys that start with words like “decluttering” or phrases like “cleaning up the place,” mine was an inside-out quest.
I had always kept an orderly home, a clean work environment, and prized my control over physical chaos. But inside my head? There was a swirling vortex of confusion and a lack of purpose.
Minimalism made up for the absence of emotional, mental, and spiritual clarity. This tool and mindset proved itself over-and-over as I:
- Finally defeated my video game addiction of twenty years. My new philosophy allowed me to see this as a destructive force and realize how video games would make being a responsible papa impossible.
- Purposefully ended old relationships – without hard feelings or guilt – that weren’t benefiting anyone. More importantly, integrating minimalism revived my passion for cultivating new relationships.
- Completely changed my relationship with food. What I consumed was now viewed through the lens of internal health for my mind and body… not how delicious that sweet treat was or how smooth that beverage went down the hatch.
- Emphatically quit my six-figure corporate job to help people the way I know best: simplifying, organizing, and being money wise.
Consume less, create more became my battle cry. I constructed proud projects like the Continuous Creation Challenge or the Value of Simple Declaration, which signaled that my life was far removed from the feeling of needing more, more, more.
It’s amazing now to think I was just aimlessly drifting down the river, searching for calm water that would let me continue my (far too) comfortable existence. I’m so fortunate someone (Grant) and something (minimalism) came by to jolt me awake.
Even if those consumption-obsessed days are behind me, I still have my struggles and I’m certainly far from perfect. But just about everyone agrees that my minimalism fueled personal renaissance is a gift for me and for them.
Well, everyone except the advertisers trying to convince me to buy crap I don’t need or want.