Minimal Living

minimal living | november 2017
by carter reid

In my experience, minimalism is not only about minimizing the amount of physical belongings acquired, it's mental and emotional; It's focused awareness in each moment of one’s life.

About two years ago I started a minimalist movement in my life. It was thrust upon me after experiencing a major shift in every category of my existence. Life had taken so many different turns, ones I had not anticipated and it seemed as though things had spiralled so far out of control, there was little recognition.

Me being an extremist, my first instinct was to get rid of everything in my life that was not serving me, people, situations, job's, physical belongings, agreements and ideals I held mentally, everything.

This was of course, overwhelming and cause for anxiety, so I started with the easiest category I could control immediately without severe implications, my physical belongings. It played out in many phases over many months, as I went through each object I owned and questioned it’s existence in my life; what it meant to me and why I felt the need to hang onto it.

To date, I have spent over 3 years on this process, it is not easy and an emotionally draining one but well worth it. Maintaining minimalism in my life requires conscious effort as I am continually filtering what I allow into my life. 

In my experience, minimalism is not only about minimizing the amount of physical belongings acquired, it is mental and emotional. It is focused awareness in each moment of one’s life.

Minimalism for me, has been about assessing my life in totality and questioning every detail, did I agree to that? How is this serving me, or is it? Do I like what I am doing, believing, buying and why?

I believe, reflecting on these fundamental questions leads to a better understanding of our journey, who we are, what we have learned and perhaps what we still need to learn and overcome. These initial stages of questioning are emotional and the work is deeply rooted but is a crucial step before the elimination process.

This journey has taught me that we do not require many things to exist, function and perform optimally. When we narrow down the scale and focus our efforts on what serves us and what is fundamentally essential, our purpose becomes easier to identify and define, our life is more rewarding and our time and energy is preserved for the important people and aspects of our lives.


words: carter reid
photos: carter reid

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Short Essay, articleCarter Reid