Thoughts on Minimizing, Simplifying, and Living More

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Over the past 6-8 months have changed me after Alt Summit I felt such clarity and relief as a blogger and creative, then launching Wild Measure brought this challenge that we daily are still figuring out and defining, and then traveling through Europe. To say my understanding of myself and what makes me happy, content, and healthy was the same this time last year would be a major lie. This past year has altered many of my thoughts and made me realize how so many of my expectations were silly and some not high enough. This weekend I thought deeply about the things life has to offer, how we choose to take them or in most cases don’t, how we can feel stuck, and then more than anything how we have more power than we believe to define our happiness and fulfillment in this life.

Many of the reasons Mike and I have set out on this path of being bloggers, brand builders, and whatever label you could put on what we do, has been because of the life we want to live and the life we want our kids to experience some day. This little life of adventuring, creating, traveling, working with such inspiring risk-takers, and hopefully someday being able to become fairly self-sustained is what we really wanted.

Over this time of beginning to grow our business and develop the lifestyle we want a lot of things have become clear.

1. To do what you love it takes sacrifice (we have one car, don’t own a home, and keep buying to a minimum)
2. Whatever you choose to chase will not be a 9 to 5 thing it will be your life.
3. You must surround yourself with people who challenge and support you.
4. You never know the curve balls that can land in your inbox. Always be prepared to jump on new opportunities. (this means passports are ready, laundry is clean, and you are ready to pack your bags and go)
5. You will be told you are crazy…and maybe you are…but at some point people will see that your risk has allowed you to have what they always thought they could buy.

Knowing the sacrifices it takes to have your dream job, create the work you want, and everything in between has meant that we have thought less and less about the things we can buy and more about the ways we can simplify, experience, and live more. By lessening our wants and needs it has made us more free to take risks, travel, and spend days doing what we want to do most with our lives.

Growing up I was always a wanter. I always wanted more clothes, more things, and more this and that. I still do. I dream a lot and Pinterest is of no help and neither is the world of being a blogger. I don’t think there is anything wrong with appreciating wonderful and beautiful things, but when I remember the things in life that really mean the most to me it is Mike, creating, gardening, eating well, exploring, seeing, traveling, and just plain living. When I can identify those things it makes me want all other things much much less.

My goal? To live life easier and simpler, give up the human desire to want more than is needed, learn contentment, create more freely without the need for making money to pay for the wants and instead creating more because I simply feel fullfilled by doing the work I love, to spend more days growing and making what I need and less paying for it, to see more of the world and spend more days lost adventuring in the woods. Maybe that all sounds impossible to most of you, maybe I sound crazy, or maybe it is a breathe of a fresh air…I don’t know? All I do know is that by creating work I am proud of is more important than buying a new shirt or car. I know that spending a Monday hiking through the dunes of the Lake Michigan lakeshore with friends and family means more than paying for a movie or new lawn furniture. It’s a hard concept but it’s become our new goal around here. We are learning to become more self-sustained and getting rid of a lot of what no longer is of use to us. It feels good and I feel more freedom knowing how little I need to live life the way I always dreamed.

I would be happy to know that instead of inspiring you all to purchase more that instead I inspired you to find the way to live the creative life you want and making you feel it is achievable to live the way you really want. A life well lived and full of passion is a beautiful thing, one that I think we all believe means we must work to achieve certain things to obtain, when really it all about choice and what we are willing to give up.

It’s a slow thing that takes time but after a few years of doing this it is only in this last 6 months that I have finally seen the fulfillment that can come from choosing your path and giving up the things that stand in the way.

Happy Monday my friends! Chase what you love. Do what you think is impossible.

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  1. I love this! This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. It is so easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more. For the last 6 months of I have been slowly working on dwindling down my possessions, not acquiring any more and living minimally. The transformation in my happiness has been noticeable. I like this idea and I’m going to continue working on it.

  2. Great post, Megan! I love your blog, but honestly any time I see a post with a bunch of “gotta have” stuff, I click away. From any blog, including yours. So more power to you for finding a way to inspire living instead of inspiring more consumption. Keep on, keepin’ on.

    p.s. I’m trying not to be a wanter too!

  3. i just recently found your blog via pinterest (last week maybe) and am already inspired! especially your garden posts! thanks for sharing your beautiful words + photos!

  4. I must say this is my favourite post so far, it is so beautiful! Thanks for inspiring all of us, to live the life we are dreaming of. Truly inspirational.

  5. I come back to your blog for posts like this! This is on-par with what I’ve been thinking about lately — about wanting to want less. I even wrote a post about it recently. Feel free to pop over & have a read. Do you have any favorite blogs to read for minimalist inspiration?

    1. No I don’t I would love to know if any one did though. We are really trying to figure it all out along with becoming more self-sustained you have more freedom living that way. right?!

  6. Megan, this is why your blog is one of my all-time favorites. I absolutely love your designs, but I especially love your perspective on life. I’m trying to adopt a similar way of life as well, and reading your posts is always so inspiring!

  7. Love this. My husband and I recently moved our family to Ecuador with our three year old to do JUST what you are talking about. Lovely.

  8. Love this post and your post on how you felt coming away from Alt. I have bookmarked both articles to re-read another time when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. “The truth is keeping up is not what matters, instead just do what you love.” Wonderful writing and thanks for reminding me to think about what’s really important and makes me and my partner happy.

  9. Beautiful post as always Megan!
    It’s nice to hear such an honest take on what it really means to live your dream. Every penny I make right now is going right back into my stationery business. It’s hard sometimes but like you I believe it will be worth it in the end.

    I also think that weather you own your own business or not; learning that less is more is such a valuable lesson. We leave in such a commercial society that it’s hard to not get caught up in the wanting but it’s completely freeing if you can accomplish it. 🙂

  10. You certainly inspired me with this post! I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. I’m a designer of children’s clothing in the mass-market industry, and I’ve found that the interests of this industry no longer fit my own. I’ve been exploring things I really enjoy on the side, as well as cutting back on buying the latest clothing and accessories in an effort to save money. (A difficult thing to do when you live in New York!) As you say, there is more pleasure in exploring, traveling, and chasing your dream than there is in material items. Thank you so much for sharing this well written post on your happiness, success (because success is not just about money!!), and advice for future entrepreneurs.

    1. You are so welcome! As a blogger it is hard for the same reasons so I get it, but when I started getting caught up in all of the keeping up and so on I felt more lost than ever and so it is good to hear that taking this risk to write a post like this is inspirational…because it feels right to share. Thank you!

  11. Your blog is like a fresh breath of air. I love this post, especially the part about being fulfilled by the work you do instead of focusing only on the outcome/money/etc. Very wise words indeed.

    Right on, girl.

  12. The keeping up. Or the pressure to keep up. More. More stuff. More ” likes”. Just more and at the same times, less satisfaction.

    No one thanks you for living your life their way. It’s short. It goes by quickly. And it’s really only about the small moments – a coffee with a friend. A family dinner to celebrate a birthday. A walk after supper.

  13. This is exactly what I need to hear more of, thank you! Resonating with my gut desire to move toward a simpler life.

    This minimalist living blog has good information and tips (not necessarily expecting to get to their level, but a great source of inspiration. and they have a bulk-finder app)

  14. This is very well written. I find myself that I can do really well with the discipline to live simply and resist so much “stuff”, just to binge after a month of “being good”. It feels good to read posts like this to remind me I’m not in it alone

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  16. Great post! Particularly, “give up the human desire to want more than is needed.” Time to refocus on what’s important.
    Interestingly, I have never been one to initiate a hike, but the more I have been thinking about living simply and avoiding shopping, the more I have been thinking about taking hikes and otherwise exploring nearby places.