I once heard somebody say, “Live simply so you can simply live,” which I whole heartedly believe in. It’s so hard in this complex day and age to keep it simple. It’s why I try to make it an every day intention. Otherwise I’d get swept up in FOMO and other people’s agendas. We live in this massive commerce and experience driven society — it takes real effort to fall into these traps of convention, reduce our carbon footprint, consume consciously, not buy new things all the time, repurpose what we have and not create a life full of stuff, responsibilities and commitments that suffocate us.
Mindfulness and simplicity is everything to me. Be mindful with what you buy. Really think about why you are getting it, if you need it, and where it comes from. Does it enrich your life or will it inevitably weigh you down? Can you afford it? Do you need it? And why are you really buying it?
We are bombarded all day long with messages telling us we need something. It’s hard to keep that impulse purchase and instant gratification in check. I have to check in with myself all day long so I don’t end up spending $$ on things I don’t need at all and don’t add true value to my life. I spend my money on experiences over stuff!
Don’t get me wrong. This took time to learn — I had to learn to evalute my life by looking at whether or not the money, time, and energy I spent on it were in proportion to the lifestyle I wanted, the RIO and values I have.
Of course, after moving around the world for 17 years, I got used to living out of a suitcase. If it didn’t fit — I didn’t need it. Simple. Much of the clutter and stuff that we keep in our houses really weigh us down. Being a minimalist so many different facets of life has always been really important to me. I have deeply rooted need for freedom and flexibility which has dictated the majority of decisions I have made in my life. Stuff makes me feel weighted down, I don’t need more than a suitcase.
Please don’t be confused here — I’d be lying if I said that I travel with light luggage. Yes, I use a carry-on. Yet, it holds many things that you probably wouldn’t expect. You can find anything from essential oils to crystials, a yoga mat, superfoods, and wall sarongs in there. I’m very used to making myself at home everywhere I go. It holds the basics I need to be happy, comfortable and free.
I try to wear life like a loose garment.
And I take that philosophy to all layers of my life. I don’t own much. When I buy something, I give two things away. I don’t buy things on trips, I don’t hold onto stuff and memorabilia. I simplify my channels of communication. I don’t overcommit. I have a perpetual need to keep things basic and clear — otherwise I get anxious very quickly. After many years of constantly exploring new ways of living and optimizing time, I’ve decided to stick to this lifestyle of simplicity and living one day at a time. This even translates to my relationships with people — I try to stay away from drama. I try to stay away from chaos. I try to stay away from anything that makes life complicated.
I find my freedom and flexibility in that light hearted way of being.
Lighten your load — lighten your life. My grandfather always told me that the more you have, the more you own, the more you’re going to have to manage, and that will take up your time. I grew up in a house in Germany, — everyone in my family has big houses with big gardens, cars, and all of those culturally very esteemable things to have… And I was of course very comfortable in this life growing up. However — the life I chose as a adult is the complete opposite of that — tiny apartment, no car — no stuff — lots of time for a life well lived. Over time I have watched my family members, as they got older, slowly adapt to my philosophies as well by slowly downising and taking on a simpler lifestyle. Because at the end of the day — all that stuff takes up soo much time to manage it all. Time you could spend doing something more fun.
The less you own, the less you have to worry about, and the more flexible and free you really are.
Unlike the rest of my family members, I have always loved living in small spaces. I feel more comfortable in simple places because I love optimizing my time with people and engulfed in experiences I love to explore.
That to me is the art of living lightly.
Can you relate? Or maybe you have a heart yearning desire to let go of some baggage and responsibilities that currently tie you down? Visit me at www.silviachristmann.com or send me a note. I want you hear from you!
Originally published at medium.com