Less is More: How I’m Becoming a Minimalist

happy herbivoreI’ve been following the Happy Herbivore for about a year now and not only are her recipes fantastic, but she also has helpful tips on how to live a more zen life. In a section on her website called Minimalist Monday, Lindsay Nixon, the author of the blog, delves into the philosophy of less being more. Lindsay wrote a post on this topic recently that really struck a chord with me. She told a story that really got me thinking:

An American tourist marvels at the fish a fisherman in Mexico caught. The American asks how long it took and the Mexican says “not very long.” The American then asks why he didn’t stay longer to catch more fish. The Mexican explains that what he caught was sufficient to support his family. So then the American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican said he slept late, played with his kids, took a siesta with his wife and in the evenings, goes into the village to see his friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing songs…”The American then interrupted and said, “Why don’t you stay out a little longer and catch more fish and make more money?” The Mexican asks why. The American explains, “You can sell the extra fish you catch and use that money to buy a bigger boat.” The Mexican says, “Okay, then what?” The American says with a bigger boat, you can catch even more fish, so you can buy more boats, and eventually, have a whole fleet.” “Okay, then what?” asks the Mexican. “Once you have the big fleet you can hire people to run the business for you.” The American explains. “Okay, then what?” asks the Mexican. “Then you can sell your empire and retire a millionaire!” the American says. “A Millionaire? Really? and then what?” asks the Mexican. The American perks up, smiles and says, “And then you will be able to do anything you want: sleep in, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, go to the village and see your friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing songs…” (Source).

After reading Lindsay’s post on the Happy Herbivore, I started to wonder how I could be more zen by de-cluttering my life. At first, this task of de-cluttering seemed more like a chore that was tedious and maybe even unnecessary, but then I was reminded of when I started doing this last year after reading The Happiness Project, and how I honestly felt good after cleaning my closets. Like really good. So, my husband and I joined forces this year and within only a few days into the new year, we went through the master bedroom’s closet. We filled 10 trash bags worth of clothes to give away to GoodWill. I can’t even tell you how amazing this felt! I started craving more…or less, actually. I wanted to keep going – what else could leave my life that was causing anxiety and wasn’t fulfilling?

The big cable box sitting under my TV with it’s blue power light radiating smugness was glaring at me. I had been talking about canceling cable for three years now, never having the guts to do it. I finally was nudged in the right direction when I read Lindsay’s post. I called the cable company and told them I’d like to get rid of cable and just keep internet. I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t easy. They almost suckered me into keeping cable and adding a land line! These people are vulchers – they claw at you for every penny that you’ve got. When I got off the phone with the cable company, I literally screamed for joy. I would be saving – brace yourself – $1,500 per year. No joke! Can you believe it?! I was ecstatic (and clearly still am). I wanted to start looking at all of my bills, slashing and burning all of the waste in my life. And, I will be doing just that, among other things, in the coming weeks to get rid of the junk that is obscuring my view from really living life to the fullest.

I’ve already started entering rooms in my house with a different view, trying to figure out what to get rid of. I scraped the surface with my kitchen the other night and removed any knick-knacks that were taking up counter space. My kitchen looks more open and more desirable to cook in now. For someone who spends a lot of their free time in the kitchen, this is a big stress reliever. And it took no time at all! Maybe 20 minutes was all it took to de-clutter this room. My husband summed it up by saying, “We’re getting rid of stuff that I didn’t even know we had.”

It’s exhilarating to take control of your life and live within the means that is necessary. I dare you to try it – you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Keep me posted – if you decide to take the plunge and be a minimalist like Lindsay at the Happy Herbivore, tell me what you did and how it felt to do it!

7 thoughts on “Less is More: How I’m Becoming a Minimalist

  1. The Happy Herbivore is the first blog I discovered when I was transitioning to a plant-based diet. Lindsey is a great inspiration. I missed the story you shared here, but it sure does make you think. My husband and I are trying to be more zen too. In my zen quest, I recently read “Walk Like A BUDDHA” by Lodro Rinzler. A good book that left me wanting to learn more about what the Buddha taught. Celeste 🙂

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    • Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! Lindsay’s black bean brownies were the first vegan dessert that I tried out and I love them! Speaking of, maybe I should make some today 🙂 I’ll have to check out that book – thanks for the recommendation! My husband has been reading about various spiritual teachings and one book that he recommended, that I’m now reading, is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching.” It’s very good so far. Thanks again for stopping by – it’s always so nice to hear from you!

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  2. Excellent! I’m currently in the process of saving every penny possible to get out of debt. I’m convinced that living a more minimalist and cheap life is the key to happiness. Every person I talk to says, if only I didn’t have debt I’d have so much more time/happiness/love, and then they go right on buying crap they don’t need. It’s crazy. I just realized this and read Dave Ramsey’s book. Glad I’m not alone.

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    • Thanks for sharing, Jeff! I’ve accumulated so much junk throughout the years, whether it was a gift or something I bought, and I’m ready to move away from the clutter to live in a more zen way. Good luck with moving toward a debt-free, minimalist lifestyle!

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  3. Pingback: Mondays: Minimalist and Meatless (Winter Italian Stew Recipe) | Running on Vegan

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