It all began with a blog called Minimal Student back in 2009, which I started at the beginning of my minimalist journey.
I had discovered minimalism, a lifestyle movement that talked about the joy of having less, and I was hooked. I learned about how being obsessed with buying and owning material possessions is a recipe for an unhappy life, and having looked at my own parents, it resonated with me. I built up my own thoughts and experiences on the subject, so I began to write.
At first, I was mainly concerned with stuff—why we have so much, how to get rid of it, and why we would be better off. I wrote about decluttering and one bag living. It suited my nomadic lifestyle at the time. In 4-5 years, I moved house many times, studying, working and exploring several different cities and countries. I was having the time of my life, and living a minimalist lifestyle made it possible.
After I graduated and I went to live in Japan. I travelled some more and got an awesome job in Tokyo, but after that finished, instead of continuing I decided to return to the UK for a job with career prospects. Travelling was amazing, but I was approaching my mid-20’s, and everyone around me was settling down. For the first time, I lived in my own apartment, so there wasn’t a need for me to live out of a suitcase any more.
My new job was everything I ever wanted—or at least, I thought I wanted. I was paid well and got promoted, but the hours were long and hard. I started buying things to make up for the creeping unhappiness I felt doing a job which I realised, deep down, was ultimately meaningless.
It changed me, from a young, naive student, to the adult I became. I learned a lot about people and life by living independently and working hard on a demanding career. In the end, I had little to show for those long, long hours (doing what?), except a growing feeling that I was wasting my life. As much as I thought I had already rejected societal notions about buying material possessions, it took me years before I let go of having a career.
I finally gave in at the end of 2015. I handed in my resignation. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn’t going to do—I wasn’t going to resign to a life of mediocrity where my enthusiasm and potential died under paperwork and review meetings.
I took some much needed time off, and went back to travelling. Ideas flowed as I was no longer held back by exhaustion, I found opportunities everywhere. Eventually I started my own investment business, which to date has done extremely well. Now I live off the passive income I have built and I couldn’t care less that I don’t have what most people consider a ‘proper job’. I don’t work 9-5 (or 8-6 as was my case), and I don’t waste my precious time commuting, in pointless meetings, or pretending to be busy. I spend my days how I want to, which I’ve come to believe is an essential ingredient for happiness.
At every one of these stages of my life, my perspective on things shifted. The more I experienced, the more convinced I was that many of the conventional ideas we’re supposed to follow—such as working in a soul sucking job in order to pay your bills and buy stuff until you’re either 65 or dead—didn’t really stand up to scrutiny.
In turn, the topics on Minimal Student moved on from ‘top tips on how to declutter’ to the tougher questions—what is important in life? What does success really mean? Can we be more fulfilled? How can I be happy?
I don’t claim to have all of the answers, and in no way have I reached ‘the end‘, but I decided to start Minimalist Meditations to reflect on what I’ve learned in the past several years and what I, no doubt, will learn in the future. Feel free to join me on this path towards finding a life of happiness.