Simply Living member Jake Da Silva is a member of the local minimalist group that meets monthly in the community room of the Panera on Bethel Road. Jake has shared his interest in the minimalist lifestyle in Simply Living’s Cooperative Explorers Group, including his passion for tiny houses and for sharing meals and gatherings in an urban setting. Given the potential for “cross pollination” between Simply Living and the minimalist movement, I invited Jake to write this blog to tell us about his experience and share some links for those who want to learn more.
Less Is More: Living the Minimalist Lifestyle
by Jake Da Silva
In January of 2014 I decided to radically simplify my life and become a minimalist. I did this to improve my life and facilitate more joy.
Minimalism is a state of mind before it is a way of life. It requires some reflection, the cultivation of self-awareness, and discipline (like anything worthwhile in life).
Since becoming a minimalist I have been able to do things that I love way more often. These things include:
-Walking my dog
-Spend time with my significant other
-Cultivating a great social life
Since I am not cleaning, organizing, fixing, maintaining, buying, selling, working extra hours to pay off various things and/or stuff I have the free time to enjoy more of my life.
Since becoming a minimalist I have paid off the following debts:
-Car (18 months into a 5 year loan)
-A couple personal loans
Now the only debt I have left is my student loan.
Most notably I have applied minimalism to my physical possessions. I am down to 158 and intend to get as low as 100 within the next few years. But I also minimized numerous toxic relationships, several of my bad eating habits, a job I thoroughly detested, many debts (as noted above), smart phone usage (I don’t have one), social media (I kicked Facebook a year ago), and digital clutter too — no masses of unread emails or anything like that for me!
I am not saying that everyone should live like me. But what I am saying is that everyone should take a look at what is really important to them — maybe it is your softball league or your career as a social worker or your husband or your kids or your model train set or your meditation practice.
It could be anything, really, depending on how you find joy. Now look, while those few truly important things are briefly in focus, at the periphery. What’s there? A cluttered garage? An attic full of clothes you don’t wear? A basement full of exercise equipment? A smart phone with a billion apps on it (Weren’t those things supposed to save you time?)? Debts? Bills?
If you can completely or partially excise those distractions then you are going to get more time for and joy from the things that are important to you. The perks mean you’ll be lighter on the earth, save cash, live at a reasonable pace, and rarely lose anything (I know where my keys are!)
A simple life is not always easy. Being a minimalist goes against our culture’s relentless pursuit of more. But instead of having more stuff, you can be more free.
Freedom is lovely and she calls to you in the distance — beyond the mall, beyond Amazon.com, and beyond that cluttered desktop. Will you answer her before her voice is muffled into silence by mere “stuff?”
Further reading can be found on the internet here:
Excellent books on the topic are:
Everything That Remains
The Joy of Less
Here are a few of my favorite simple living/minimalist videos: