Be active, be involved.

On-TargetI cannot speak for all minimalists, but I believe I do speak for most when I say that it is easy for us to keep our possessions low because we do not spend much time doing indoor activities. We are outdoor people. We are minimalists because we place value in people and experiences where others place value in stuff; and with very little exception people and experiences will be found on the other side of your front door.

Watching American Idol is not an experience. Playing video games is not an experience. Reading a book is not an experience. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are good “activities” (maybe not American Idol), and in moderation are very productive. But they are not experiences. I think you will find this is true for most indoor activities.

The truth is, real life happens outside your home. Out in the world where you can talk to real people, breath in fresh air, feel the sunlight on your face, feel the wind, smell the season (which ever one it may be). This is the life that God wanted for us, and these riches are unmatched. Experiences involve using all your senses, and collaborating with real people. They scare you, the excite you, they make you sad, they make you laugh.

(now I get personal)

Let me take this a step further and share a grievance I have. Too often have I heard from many acquaintances “Argh, I really wish I could leave this place and live somewhere else, there is nothing to do here” (referring to the community in which they live). And every time I hear that it sends a shiver up my spine. The reason for this being that I live here, and the truth is that there is many awesome things to do in the Hudson Valley. One need merely be open-minded enough to consider doing something new and different. Just off the top of my head there is: Night clubbing, Wineries, Movies, Drive In Movies, Roller skating at the roller rink, Beer garden, Fine Dining, Rock Climbing, Cycling (had to mention), Hiking, B-Ball leagues, V-Ball leagues, Kickball leagues, Fantasy Gaming leagues, Kayaking, Fishing, Hunting, Bouldering, Archery Leagues (really), Camping, Boating, Sailing, Concerts constantly (the CHANCE has amazing local rock bands performing every weekend), frigging Hooka bars, Harvest fares, and many other activities I cannot think of now.

The thing is: Of course it is gonna seem like there is nothing to do when one doesn’t actually like to DO anything. 7 out of 10 times when I follow-up that statement with the question “Well what would you like to do?”, and the answer is “I don’t know”. I rest my case.

Unfortunately that is how we’ve been conditioned. If we “go out” to do anything it is either to work, school, dine, or to SHOP. And that is why we are consumers, hoarders, and obese (that’s right, I said it).

Do you want a life of meaning:

1) Cut the excessive shopping. It’s an obsession being used to fill a bottomless pit inside of you.

2) Cut the constant dining out. Same thing.

3) Try new experiences, and find one that suits you.

No matter where you live, Hudson Valley or otherwise, Likelihood is that there are many wonderful activities to get involved in that you know nothing about. Riches in your back yard that you have not even tapped into. We get so comfortable with our existing pattern of life that we are blinded to what is going on right next door. Soooooo break the pattern, keep your eyes open to what is going on in your community, try new experiences, get involved.

One good rule to live by to keep an active and exciting life is: Do something that scares you every day. Eh, every week (let’s be real).

Minimalism and the Baby Boomer Generation (and the generations before)

Boom

D20Now I am generalizing here. Not ALL people of the older generations are so resistant. And truthfully not ALL people of my generation and those after are so understanding. but these are very few. But the pattern indicates to me that the older a person is, the less they are able to understand this concept which is really not all that radical.

This saddens me. I take pity on them. Because it tells me that not only was this false concept of success a large part of the American way, but it was so well ingrained into them, that they are not open-minded enough to consider an alternative. They don’t realize that “success” is defined by the individual. They were told what happiness/success is and they followed blindly.

This is why we see so many wealthy people who are so miserable. Their wealth came from doing exactly what they were told their whole life. They learned the game, conformed to the system, and worked hard to gain all of its spoils. Never once did they truly ask themselves: “Is all of this that I have done made me a happier person?”

Purge out the Toxic people in your life. They drag you down.

Love-1Much of what I am going to write right now would seem like common sense, but it is not. If it was common then it would not apply to each of us so often.

For the sake of being accepted or belonging, we allow the people closest to us to hurt us in so many ways. Even in ways we do not realize from day-to-day because we accept their behavior toward us because “that’s just how they are,” or “they mean no harm by it”. We make excuses for them. But their behavior or attitude is harmful and therefore completely unacceptable. It’s harmful to themselves as well as others. These people are what I like to call “TOXIC”. Here are some tell-tale signs of TOXIC people:

– Negativity: A lot of use of the phrases “It won’t work”, “I can’t”, “you can’t”, ”Whatever”.

– Full of excuses: “I don’t have the time”, “It’s just not worth it”.

– Irresponsible/destructive lifestyle: Excessive profanity, Laziness, violence, substance abuse, gluttony.

One thing we often do not realize is that even as adults, the people we surround ourselves with have a tremendous impact on our lives. They impact our attitude, self-image, motivation. Just because we are adults does not mean that we are not influence-able; we are just as influence-able as the children we raise. TOXIC people will drag you down and turn you into them. That being the case, surround yourself with positive uplifting people. People that support you and motivate you in your endeavors. Goal oriented people.

So raises the question: How do I purge myself of this toxicity from toxic people in my life? Well if these people are close to you and you would rather not lose them, then you gotta have the talk. You’ve got to sit them down, and tell them that the two of you are going to have to redefine the nature of your relationship. Be forward. Tell them exactly what you expect from them in the relationship. Make the conversation two-sided. Ask them what they expect from you. Be reasonable. Hopefully through conversation and mutual understanding you can reach an agreement. If not, then you make it clear that you wish to bow out of the relationship gracefully ……. and then do just that.

This might hurt, but it will save you a whole bunch more pain not far down the road. If they put up a fight then you can be actually more confident that it is the right decision to leave the relationship immediately. Likelihood is that if they are so toxic, then a fight is what you will get. This makes it easy actually. The conversation is much shorter, and you get a very real sense of closure