The temptation for a minimalist is to live life to the extreme. Become location independent, travel all over the world with no plans, ditch those who become negative influences in your journey. None of these things are bad, and in fact, people like Everett Bogue, Dusti Arab, and Nina Yau are having great adventures through all of these ideas. But they do become a bad thing for you when you start looking to the next big adventure and stop focusing on the now, the present life. When we leave our old lives behind and ditch the commercialism and excessive living, we have to be careful to leave the whole mindset behind entirely. If we carry this “next big thing” mentality into our new way of life, we diminish the quality of life we could have now.
My life is quite different than other minimalist’s I’ve met. I’m not location independent, though I only own enough that I could be. I don’t plan on packing up my bags and just going to travel wherever and whenever I feel like it, though I love adventuring and take plenty of cool trips throughout the year. And probably the most important difference is that I’m married to a man who’s pursuing a career in full-time ministry, meaning I will choose to stay in one place for a long time once we find a job for him. The hardest issue I face is learning to live in the moment, in the in between times when I start to feel restless.
How I’ve learned to deal is by making the most of my “in between” time. Last month, we took a weekend trip to a yurt in the mountains of Colorado. In October, we drove to Idaho to visit family for a week. In March, I will go with my girlfriends to the mountains for a weekend. And instead of just focusing on and daydreaming about what we’ll be doing then, I’m loving my life now. I’m writing and reading a lot, building some great friendships, and investing crucial time in my marriage. I’m actually happy and growing in this time. And I believe it is key to the way I live my life. If I was always focused on what adventure we’d go on next or actually living location independently, it’d be really hard for me to grow as a person. I need seasons in life of waiting and patience and being grounded to make the most of this life. And I think you do, too.
When I was 18 and moved to Boston with no money, I learned a lot about how far I could go in life. When my new husband and I moved to Colorado a month after our wedding on a whim, we grew a lot as a couple. And as awesome and thrilling as those big decisions were, my times of being rooted in those places and learning to grow in the “boring” phases were just as crucial to my development as a person. So while the temptation is to keep going, travel to one more country, and pack everything up and replant somewhere again, I would challenge you to stay put for a minute and see what happens. You don’t have to stay there forever, but you just might find you like the “boring, in between” phases of life!
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