Life is far more simplistic than we like to make it out to be.
We complicate things because we aren’t comfortable with that simplicity. Most things we compulsively distract and consume and engage with are methods of deflection. They aren’t necessary, but we aren’t going to give them up until there’s something else to fill that void.
1. Take a radically survivalistic approach to “want” vs. “need.”
2. End the subconscious multitasking. Close the tabs, turn off the music, put the phone on airplane mode, walk without headphones. Delineate one or two tasks for a day.
3. Write things down by hand: grocery lists, journal entries, notes to friends, letters to lovers. Buy the print copy. Make phone calls. Technology is not always synonymous with simplicity, but mindfulness is.
4. Be completely, sincerely, unprecedentedly honest. The fewer storylines you have to memorize, the clearer your mind can be, and the easier your life can become.
5. Stop waiting for your life to begin. It’s not going to be better after you graduate, once you’re married, once you have kids and a house and more money and whatever-the-hell-else. It’s just different, not better. The only thing that gets better is your ability to enjoy what you have.
6. Condense, consolidate, reuse, automate.
7. Learn to dig through yourself. People spend their lives just dealing with symptoms of issues. There are usually dozens of the former, and only one or two of the latter. No feeling, no inclination, no compulsion arises out of thin air.
8. Stop attaching meaning to the physical. Your things are not animate. They are only as near and dear to you as you believe they are.
9. Every time you want to set out and buy something unnecessary, stop thinking about what you’re lacking and start thinking about what feeling, worry or insecurity you’re trying to escape.
10. Define your relationships from the get-go. I want to clue you all into something that’s going to be a little tough to swallow but is so, so important: if someone wants to be with you, they will be. If they aren’t, they don’t. The complications you derive in the interim are how you avoid this truth.
11. Consciously redesign with minimalism in mind. You want to keep your space nice, I get that. You want to create a home (or apartment, or room, or corner) that is your own. Simplistic living doesn’t mean your decor needs to be asylum-esque. Check out these minimalistic interior designs, and tell me you’re not even a little inspired.
12. Grow plants yourself. In your backyard, on your roof, on the windowsills, on your porch. Base your meals around them and supplement on a need-be basis.
13. Cook something from scratch.
14. Spend a day without money. Until you can’t just waltz out of the house and get a coffee in the morning, you won’t realize how much you take for granted — even just $5.
15. Acquire things with the mindset of them being lended to you — not bought for your ownership. Get a library card. Exchange with friends. In the grand, existential scheme of it all, everything we own is simply being borrowed. Attaching as though it’s yours only leads to suffering.
16. Adjust yourself to be okay with quietness. Not every moment needs to be filled with conversation.
17. Make more time. Download an app like “Stay Focusd.” Count how many hours you spend mindlessly scrolling, doing nothing, and then add them up in a week. The thing about time is that it really is an illusion. So you don’t find it, you make it.