What It Means To Live A Life Of Less

A stripped-down life may not be for everyone, but do you need everything you have to live well?

Think about it, there’s a lot you can live without, a lot you can skip without suffering for it. But when you’re used to a particular lifestyle, it is easy to believe that your happiness, maybe even your existence, is dependent on the comforts you have surrounded yourself with.

The daily assault of materialism in the world we live in does not help either. If you’re not being asked to buy something, you’re being asked to replace something you own (which is basically the same thing). There’s almost no room to use things till they are worn (instead, we’re sold other people’s worn-out things as ‘vintage’), or to have what you need and draw the line there. We must always swim in excess.

We need to stop. Less can be more.

I’ll tell you here that a life of less means different things to different people, and while I would not dare impose my definition of minimalism on you, I’ll tell you what it is in practical terms:

1. The freedom to exhaust all possible combinations of shoes and clothes I own before being certain that I need something new. At any time, all my clothes must be able to fit in one bag.

2. Restraint in how I entertain myself and how I entertain people at my expense. I’m not afraid to opt out of ‘fun’ that will strain my finances. I don’t keep up appearances.

3. A high regard for empty spaces. I create them and seek them out. It’s how I breathe freely for sustained periods and how I return myself to sanity after an entire day of frenzied interactions.

4. A deliberate lifestyle. I try to be intentional about my relationships, the things I eat and the things I buy. Without intention, there is no minimalism.

Excerpted from Issue 9 of relea:se, my bimontly newsletter. Join the mailing list.