When I had my first child back in 2005, I became very interested in “greening” my home and my life, and I began looking for all sorts of articles and blogs on the internet relating to the subject. What I soon realized was that living consciously of our impact on the environment was closely related to minimalism – in effect, the less we consume, the better it is for the environment. Let me tell you, in 2005, there were very few blogs centred around the concept of living simply and minimally. Most of the blogs I found that were related to this subject were discovered through the Mothering community. Most authors were stay-at-home mamas who were trying to do right by their families and the environment. However, most of these blogs did not encompass the more holistic approach to minimalism that we see on a lot of the blogs today – that minimalism and simple living have many benefits that cannot be summed with only the tag-line of “green living”.
I continued searching the internet for authors who were writing about all of the many benefits living minimally had to offer. One of the first blogs I discovered was Zen Habits, written by Leo Baubata. As far as I can tell, Leo started his blog in 2007 (although it feels like he is a minimalist zen master who has been around forever) and he writes about the great sense of happiness and personal success that he has found through simplicity and minimalism. Leo posted a list of 38 things he has learned from his 38 years on the planet – one that resounded particularly with me today is number 13:
13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK. We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important … that we forget the simple fact that we cannot experience everything. That physical reality dictates we’ll miss most things. We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people. But the secret is: life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.
One great benefit of minimalism is becoming more aware – living consciously for today and being able to live more in the present. I will admit that one of my guilty pleasures is spending a ton of time on the internet – I like to read other blogs, I like to Facebook (surely it’s a verb by now), and I like to read celebrity gossip blogs occasionally. I will admit that I spend more time that is necessary on the internet, time that could be spent with my children just enjoying the moment. Shame on me. Leo’s post is a reminder that it is not possible to experience everything that is out there in life, but that it is possible to be truly content if we cherish the moments of our own life experiences, as simple as they may be.
Go on over and check out the rest of Leo’s post, it is a real gem.