What does it mean to love?
To love is to care. To care about something, to care for someone, to appreciate its importance in your life and to be grateful for it.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that we say we love and care about, but we don’t act upon it.
Life gets in the way. We get distracted by work, money, commitments and a thousand other things which take our time and attention away from the things we care about.
In this way, minimalism can save us.
Giving time to the ones you love
When working long hours to pay the bills takes our time away from our friends, partners, and families, minimalism gives it back.
A minimalist lifestyle asks, ‘Do you need to be working so hard? What for?‘.
‘To pay the bills,‘ you might say, or ‘because I have to,‘ or even, ‘what else would I do instead?‘
‘Well, what if your bills weren’t so high? What if you didn’t have to? What if you had better things to do?‘
When I was growing up, my parents owned a hotel and restaurant and worked long hours from noon until past midnight. They would drop dinner off and go back to work. We didn’t see them for most of the day, and they were too tired to come to any of our shows or football games. They missed us growing up, but what for? We didn’t want or need much, but they couldn’t resist the feeling of security they got from earning more and more money. In the end, everything turned out okay, but there’ll always memories we never made because they were away working.
Doing the things you love
Unless you love your work, you probably spend most of your time doing something you dislike to fund a few weeks off a year to do something you do like. For a lot of people, it’s hard to find more than a few snatched hours during the week to do the things they enjoy.
A minimalist lifestyle asks, ‘Are you working to live, or are you living to work?‘.
Your time is limited, so making time for you means you are prioritising yourself. Do you have something that you’ve always wanted to do? Then for goodness’ sake, get started and do it. You’ll be making the most of being alive, which is the same as saying that you love life.
It sounds like I’m telling people to quit their jobs, but work isn’t the enemy. It’s the things that people get obsessed with—possessions, status, wealth—that trap them into lifestyles that they’re not actually happy with. It turns them into people who they never imagined they’d be.
Distraction is the enemy. If we eliminate the distractions in life, take away the need for designer clothes and the status car, we’ll find that we’ll uncover the person who we are underneath.
Being true to who you are, who you’re supposed to be, surrounded by who and what you love is a form of loving yourself. Which is the most important love of all.
Book I’m reading now: The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
- Why You Love The Things You Love
- Appreciating absence – A key to happiness
- On the Shortness of Life – Part III – Desire and life goals