Adopting a minimalist lifestyle when you are middle-aged presents some unique challenges. My wife and I have over 30 years of experience acquiring possessions, and only about 3 months experience in reducing possessions. Our home is filled with the memories of our children and now our grandchildren are adding new memories all the time. Can you really part with that tote full of crayon drawings, Halloween and birthday pictures, and the homemade Valentine’s Day cards your kids so lovingly made?
Fortunately, you can choose how far you want to go in your minimalist journey. I’ve been inspired by the stories of people like Tammy Strobel, Everett Bogue, and Karol Gajda who can fit their possessions in a backpack, travel the world while making a living from their laptop, or live in a 80 sq. ft. house on wheels. However, these people are young and haven’t raised a family or spent 30 years working in corporate America; although Leo Babauta is living the lifestyle with six kids. Those of us with more baggage to carry may opt for a smaller house or apartment and to stay in one place. All of us have things that are easy to part with. Start clearing these easy items from your house and you will find your home a more peaceful place to live. Then listen to your heart and it will tell you how to handle the items which are harder to part with. Many minimalists have set the goal of owning 100 things or less. I have set the goal of only possessing those things that I use and/or love, whatever number of items that may be.
I was in high school before the first personal calculators came on the market and I was in my 30’s when I got my first computer, an Apple 2E. Public access to the internet was still just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. These young bloggers have grown up alongside the computer and the internet. Although we did not have the advantage of learning computer skills while we were young, we can certainly learn those skills from the young writers mentioned above.
Most minimalist writers share a common base. They got rid of the unnecessary items cluttering their homes, simplified their lives, and reduced their expenses. The lack of possessions gave them the freedom to easily change locations to where they wanted to be or to where an opportunity opened. The simple lifestyle and reduced expenses allowed them to survive on little income until they were able to make a living doing what they love. Many of them choose to make a living online through writing, teaching and consulting, and/or selling products that would help people live a happier, healthier life. They share their expertise with us through their blogs and their books. Since I also want to support myself by writing and helping others, I regularly read minimalist blogs and have purchased and read some very helpful guides to help me achieve my goal. Please see my recommended reading page for titles that I personally have used. Purchasing any of these books helps to support me as well as the authors.
Making a living from a laptop is not for everyone and you don’t have to start a blog. Maybe your interest is woodworking or painting. Simplifying your life and reducing your expenses may make it possible for you to turn your hobby into a living. Take the money you make selling your stuff and the money you save reducing your expenses and apply it to your debt. If you are debt free, then apply the money to starting the business that you are passionate about. Soon you will be living the life of your dreams!
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