Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: ryan nicodemus

Minimalism in Things AND Relationship: Final Thoughts

“They focused less about things and more about our relationship with things and people.” That was my final thought as I closed Love People Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I was not disappointed by this book about minimalism; it just wasn’t what I had been expecting and I’m glad it wasn’t.

Minimalism

I believe the relationships we have with things reflect our relationship with people. A house crammed with stuff you don’t need or use, collections, castaways, bins of old things you no longer need, but…what if?! Your relationships people are probably similar. Old friends and new, people you’ve outgrown, people you thought were going to be great that turned out to be not so much. We keep them in our lives through social media contacts, email lists, and Christmas cards at the very least.

The opposite is just as unhealthy. The truth is we need some things, and we need some people. Finding out what is needed and what is not and crafting a healthy relationship with those things and people, is the key. And it’s complicated.

Love People Use Things isn’t just a self-help book of how to get rid of your excess stuff, it’s a personal story about how they got where they are. They don’t give a list of rules. They help you find your own principles of minimalism and then actively use them to build a life of intention.

“Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; they focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom.”

I think of it as having space to move.

“…we feel threatened by the freedom of others. So we protect our hoard, we question anyone who approaches life differently, and we cling tightly to the status quo because we’re scared that someone else’s nontraditional lifestyle is an affront to our own. If that person is free, then we are not. But we forget that freedom is not a zero-sum game.”

I’ve experienced this from people since the day we decided not to send our kids to school. And I still experience it every time I explain to someone that my sons never went to school as children and still have jobs, travel the world, and go to college. My choices are mine alone. They are the way I wish to live. They give me the kind of freedom that I feel comfortable with. It is not a condemnation of your choices. We can both be living the “right” way.

“Allowing others’ expectations to shape our desires and behavior and, ultimately, our lives, will always lead to guilt and shame because we’ll never be able to live up to everyone else’s conflicting values.”

Best to decide what’s best for you, what you personally need, and run with it. You’ll never win the “making other people happy” game. I’ve opted out of that game for a long time now. I will admit, though, it’s very hard. I still long to be accepted and validated by others. It’s human nature. But I’d rather be alone than to not be myself. I’m still learning who I am, what I want, and how to present that to the world without the need for approval.

“Fear is the antithesis of freedom; it is, by definition, constricting.”

I’ve lived with my fear meter up on full my whole life. It’s exhausting.

“The pause is just as essential as the action.”

Minimalism can give us the time to pause. That’s where we think. It’s where we take in information, formulate plans, and make decisions. It’s where we look back and take stock, admire what we’ve done, how far we’ve come. Pause and look around.

“We’ll never ‘get there.’ Because there’s no there there.”

We’re born. We grow. We live. We die. There is no finished. There is no complete. There is just life.

“Never-ending growth says we must grow at any cost; intentional growth happens when we grow in accordance with our values.”

That goes for personal growth, gardens, businesses, non-profits, economy, and government. Having one house and keeping it nice for fifty years is fine. Having one child is ok. Doing one thing well for a long time is great. We don’t need to keep growing just to be growing.

“Just like it’s important to make conscious choices as a consumer, it’s equally important to create consciously. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the noise.”

I struggle with minimalism as a blogger. It’s also another reason why I gave up social media and only write here. If what I write is valuable, it will be looked for, found, and shared. Social media is just noise. This chapter on creativity was a bit of downer for me. I got reflective and judgmental on myself. I’d like to re-read and think on it more.

“The Three Relationships: Primary, Secondary, and Peripheral”

Life is a story. Who are your main characters, supporting roles, and walk-ons? And don’t forget all the extras! This made far more sense to me than family, friends, and strangers.

“Many of us navigate different roads toward joy, but even if we travel separate routes, it is important that we appreciate the journey – not only ours, but the journey of everyone we love. When we appreciate others for who they are, not who we want them to be, then, and only then, will we truly understand.”

Every. Single. One of us. (do not sing Devil Inside)

The last chapter on people was my favorite. Yes, minimalism relates to the people in your life. You don’t have to keep everyone you ever meet in your life. It validated a lot of my thinking and made me feel a little less alone in the world. Something I crave beyond anything is to be accepted by others, for someone to see me, the real me without any masks, and love me. This book made me realize, I DO have that from the main characters in my story. And those are the relationships that matter.

So, yes, I enjoyed reading this book. The Minimalists podcast has been a favorite of mine for several years. They inspire me with their peaceful discussions and the feeling of joy I sense between them. Like the few families I met years ago when I started my unschooling journey, I see them and wonder how they got there, listen closely, and adopt the pieces that work for my life, to get where I want to go.

Minimalism: No rules, just principles, self-reflection, and adaptation.

Want to go back and read my first thoughts on this book when I started? Click back to Love People Use Things: A New Read

Shortcuts and Compliance = Lazy

Yes, I said it. Shortcuts and compliance are signs of laziness. Take control of your own life and do the work to do what’s best for you.

“The consequences of every shortcut are greater than its temporary benefit.”

“Compliance is easier than questioning their solutions. And their solutions were much easier than taking ownership of my own life.”

This.

I’m not sure I can add anything to those two quotes from Love People Use Things, but of course I’ll try!

Let’s talk about shortcuts for a second. Shortcuts are for driving and that’s it. (Wait. And computer desktops.) But then…if everyone took the shortcut, it would lose its value, wouldn’t it? It would be crammed with vehicles and make the trip longer than if you had just stayed on the highway.

When we take shortcuts for learning, we lose the value we get from the experience of study. When we take shortcuts on our diet, we lose the weight quickly, but we also lose the experience of learning to live in way that keeps that weight off and makes us healthy instead of just thin. When we take shortcuts within our relationships, sending a gift instead of connecting over lunch, posting to social media instead of calling and relating with individuals, we lose the real meaningful connection with others that we crave.

Shortcut’s suck. Funny…I just heard that same idea on a podcast I was listening to. I wrote about it in my post “Travel Anxiety Ended: Podcast Roundup #3.”

And what about compliance isn’t taking ownership of your life? When we blindly go along with whatever everyone else is doing, whatever the “authority” says you should do, we give the power of our lives to someone else. Don’t get me wrong, there is much good in taking the advice of experts and making informed choices that look much like what others around you are doing. What I’m talking about it is doing what others say you should without thought, even with the feeling that something is not right in your heart and mind, it’s just what one does, so you do.

What kind of things? Everything. Going to college, a career choice, joining the military or a church, getting married, having children, sending those children to school, going on vacation, what you eat, where you live, how you live. The list goes on and on and on.

When we give the power of making choices to others, when the results come in, we can say, “Well, that’s what happens. It’s not my fault.” I call bullshit. It is your fault. Everything we do is a choice, whether we are conscious of it or not. Take back your power.

If you’d like to read some of my other posts about quotes from this book, click back to “Love People Use Things: A New Read” to start at the beginning. At the bottom of that post, you’ll find links to others.

Letting Go & Making Space

I know I said wasn’t going to post this coming week, but…I changed my mind! Letting go of the past, not only of the physical stuff but the mental stuff as well, to make space for the now, has been on my mind a lot this month.

Letting go
Photo Confession

Reading Love People Use Things, they did an experiment by packing up the entire house like they were going to move and then only getting out the things they needed to use. After a while, you start to see how much of the house just sits there unused, taking up space.

I thought of when we go on an adventure with out trailer. We’re out there on the road for a few weeks at a time without all the things that are in our house, and most of them we don’t miss at all. The box of cables, the old shirts, the stuff we’re saving for later, it isn’t really needed. We could live without it.

Letting go
Photo Confession

When I go to clean out a closet, I look at the things and start to think, “But what if I need that later?” I have boxes of cables that go to nothing, a cupboard of old computers that hasn’t been opened in years, plastic totes filled with interesting things that have no real use but to spark memories (which could be done just as well with a photo).

I’m starting to thing 2021 will be the year of letting go and making space, not only in my home but in my mind. I’m holding on to a lot of stuff that isn’t useful.

If you’d like to read more about this book, go back to my first post, “Love People Use Things: A New Read” to start at the beginning. You’ll find links at the bottom of that post to other articles.

Love People Use Things: A New Read

Podcast marketing convinced me to not only buy “Love People, Use Things” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, but to pre-order it! I’ve been listening to The Minimalists podcast for a long time and when I heard them start to talk about their new book, I knew I had to have it. I didn’t think it would have anything other than the things they talk about, but I knew it would bring me some joy to read it in print. Besides, how else can I re-pay them for all the greatness I listen to every week? I pre-ordered it so early, that when it came, I didn’t know what the package from Amazon was!

Love People, Use Things
In my defense, this room is in transition.

If you’re interested in them, check out their “Start Here” page. The organization of that page is one of the reasons why I love these guys and I so happy that I stumbled across them completely by accident.

Those who know me would probably laugh hysterically when they heard me say I listen to a podcast about minimalism on a regular basis. If you saw my house, you’d know I’m not what you might define as a minimalist, but I am! Everything is relative, right? Compared to some I’m a hoarder and to others not so much. But the comparison that matters most is mine. I’m more conscious of what I gather into my home, into my body, and into my mind. That’s the mental space these guys have helped me get to.

One of the things I’m minimalizing so that I have more space for other things is social media. Staying connected to people from my past like that is like holding on to childhood toys or that old shirt. You’re not going to use them anymore, that shirt doesn’t fit. There’s no reason to keep them. They take up space and deplete your energy. Send them on their way to bring joy to someone else.

The one thing I miss about it though is having a place to share the articles and books I read, or the interesting podcast and website I found. I don’t want to write a post about, I just want to share that I read it and think it’s awesome…you know, social stuff. I’m not sure what to do about it. It may just be one of those things I have to let go.

I’m looking forward to reading this book over the coming week. I’m about thirty pages in right now, and the introduction makes me love them more. The relate minimalism to everything, not just physical objects, but our relationships with other people. And they aren’t ones to say “THESE are the rules. Follow them and you will be happy like us!” They are more like guidelines, things that have worked for them and may make sense to you.

Are you a minimalist? Have you heard this podcast? If you decide to read Love People Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

The following are links to posts I wrote related to this book.
Letting Go & Making Space
Shortcuts And Compliance = Lazy
Minimalism in Things AND Relationship: Final Thoughts

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