March 7, 2018

A Social Minimalist

How owning less freed up my time, money, and confidence to do more.

As we left for a rare two-week break, I heard the dreaded snap of my holdall handle. I was faced with a choice: re-pack and pay for a larger suitcase or, reduce to the essentials to fit within a backpack. My minimalist mindset took over, and in five minutes we were in the taxi, leaving behind spare shorts, flip-flops, and of course, toothbrush.

So began my journey into minimalism, shifting what holds greatest value, from things I own, to things I do. Ten days of not over-thinking about what to wear, or looking down a camera lens, made more happy memories than any extra outfit could have done. By bringing this simple ideology back home with me, it was my social life that surprisingly transformed.

No longer did I compare myself with my peers, for there was less to analyze. It’s easy to contrast two objects; my car is faster than his, but my phone’s older than hers. Instead, it became much harder to compare my new experiential purchases. No doubt my camping trip cost less than my friend's spa break. Yet, both brought equal happiness. Each experience is unique to us, and nobody can compare that. This new fascination with people’s stories began to expand my previously introverted social skills. ‘What do you enjoy doing?’ and ‘What do you do?’ often lead to very different conversations.

In my pursuit of owning less, and do more, another delightful presence was on the rise—my smile. Happy thoughts grew from both the anticipation and participation of enjoyable experiences. These lasted much longer than if it were for the purchase of a possession. After all, we don’t reminisce with each other about things we bought, but about things we did. I found my smile was noticed more and became infectious amongst friends.

Owning fewer things has freed up my time, money, and confidence to do more. And now more than ever, I look forward to sharing my adventures with the important people in my life.

Published by Theo Drijver in Lifestyle, Travel

Photography by Nicolai Berntsen

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