If you’ve been following my adventures over the years, you may remember hearing me talk about the concept of voluntary simplicity, or simple living. I wrote a post about it on this blog in October 2007, The Satisfaction of Enough. At the time I felt it was one of the most important/meaningful posts I’d ever written, and I remember being a bit disappointed by the lack of response from my readers (all 10 or so of them)–though it did bring out of the woodwork a kindred spirit that I’m still in touch with, though we’ve never met in person (hi, Leigh!).
I gradually “forgot” about simplicity again after I wrote that post. Although I was reading blogs like Zen Habits and The Simple Dollar that were based on similar philosophies, I guess I figured, “I moved abroad with only two suitcases – how much simpler can one get?” But somewhere along the way, while “simplicity” morphed into a whole new movement called “minimalism,” I bought an apartment and furnished/equipped it, mostly by filling those same two suitcases with more things every time I went back to the States. (Amazingly, the TSA agents hardly blinked an eye when they had to hand-search my carry-on because it contained a stainless-steel stockpot!)
After my fiancé, Roberto, moved in with me in July of this year, I tried not to take it personally when people would sometimes ask him how it was going, and he’d say “Fine, but the apartment’s too small.” Around the same time I read an article in the New York Times about how buying things doesn’t make us happy (“Duh,” was my general reaction). The article led me to the blog of a woman mentioned in the article, and then to a whole slew of new minimalism-related blogs that had cropped up while I was busy filling my new apartment with stuff. And I turned to Roberto one night and said, “The apartment’s not too small, we have too much stuff! (And haven’t figured out where to put anything.)” Intrigued, he agreed, and I started telling him more about this whole concept of simple living/minimalism. We now often talk about the choices we make regarding our spending, etc. in terms of minimalismo, and are slowly beginning to work on paring down our possessions as well as better organizing the ones we want to keep.
I’m hoping you’ll come along for the ride as Roberto and I begin our life together, motivated by minimalism, travel, and so much more–we have a lot of exciting plans in the works, and I hope that in some way we can inspire others just as we have been inspired. Stay tuned!