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“The most important things in life aren’t things.” - Anthony J. D’Anjelo
It kind of makes sense. If our society says that a lot of money equals success, and things cost money, then we should own a lot of things in order to be (or appear to be) successful.
But success, much like happiness, is one of those words that’s hard to define. Probably because success is defined by us as individuals, based on our own goals and values.
Anytime we are trying to make changes in our lives, we can make those changes harder or easier for us based on what we choose to focus on. We can focus on what we are giving up, and dwell on those. Or we can focus on what we are gaining and how we can and will benefit.
That’s why it’s so great to focus on minimalism as a way to help the planet. Because honestly, sustainability seems like just an added benefit. And that added benefit is really exciting. But what’s really really exciting is when we choose to focus on the important things in life and what we can gain from those things, which ultimately, aren’t things at all.
They are really experiences.
Experiences, relationships, emotions, and feelings
Which sounds better: focusing on the things we have to give up in order to live a more sustainable and minimalist life? Or focusing on having more experiences rather than things: focusing on our relationships, our family and friendships, or the things that we love to do so much?
When we bring fewer things into our lives and instead more experiences, this will form a need to be more deliberate about the few things we do purchase, because their importance is now much greater.
And with us being more deliberate about our things, those things will actually contribute to our experience as opposed to being in the way.
This kind of reminds me of backpacking. When people are new to backpacking, they typically bring a lot of stuff, thinking it will make them more comfortable, thus contributing to the overall experience. But when you see someone who has backpacked for a long time, they’ve come to realize that the less stuff the better.
At some point, our stuff begins to get in the way, and it ends up just being extra weight. In reality, a ninety pound backpack sucks.
Now of course, most of us aren’t backpacking from place to place 24/7...but the weight of things can come in all different forms. Things like:
With fewer, more deliberate items in our lives, we can better focus on our backpacking trip. AKA: we can better focus on our time with friends. With family. We can take more trips, work on our passions, and do what we love.
Our experiences will be enhanced rather than cluttered. How great is that!?
Take time to focus on the important things in life. Of course it feels scary going through large changes, but if we look deep down we may realize the changes we make need not be scary. Because we are either getting rid of things that aren’t actually so important to us, or we are aligning ourselves with our values that we’ve been neglecting.
It just may be the case that certain physical items are in fact very important, and add a ton of value. It’s not about having nothing, but more so about being more deliberate both about the things we own, as well as how we spend our time.
Express more love to people, and less to our physical goods. Give ourselves the gift of taking time for the things we love to do, and not the gift of time and money required to purchase so many things.
As we say almost every time when wrapping up a blog post, the benefits of these changes, whether they be minimalism related or sustainability related, we realize will actually benefit several aspects of our lives, and the planet’s.
Not because we are trying to sell you on these changes, but because the health of the planet and the health of ourselves (along with our fulfillment), are inextricably linked. They always have been and they always will be.
Written by Aaron Burr
A writer dedicated to working solely with companies on a mission to help the earth and people on it.