Ambition, Anxiety & Minimalism

Slow Down Sunday

I am a minimalist. I own quite little, I don’t regularly buy anything, like clothes or gadgets, and my apartment is small.

When I first cleaned out my things, the extra room made me a lot happier. I couldn’t tell you why. Now, I realize the physical space is not what it’s about. It’s mental.

Having less doesn’t make me happier. Sure, you save some brain power from not managing the items, but what really matters is this:

I have room to deal with everything that’s most important to me in life.

And, as it turns out, those are a lot of things. More than enough to fill a life with. I’m not sure if I seem focused or detached or ascetic, but I’m no saint. I want. Like all of us.

Right now, I want to write better stuff. I want to write a book and a novel and maybe a rap song. I want to be a DJ, an actor, write movie scripts, and I’d also like to reignite my hobbies. I want to play video games, lots of beach volleyball, go swimming, and stroll around town with no agenda. I want to drive lots of different cars, go on vacation, really figure out my projects, and get thorough health checks all around.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg, but it’s enough to trigger a big wave of anxiety.

That’s what ambition does. It pulls us into the future.

That can happen whether you’re a minimalist or not. Most of my list is about doing, about being, not about having. But it’s still enough to feel like a big weight.

The beauty of minimalism is that, at the same time, it affords you the emotional space to deal with this weight. I can slow down. I can breathe. And I can remember this:

“My friend, do think of the past in terms of those memories of events and accomplishments which were pleasant, rewarding, and satisfying. The present? Well, think of it in terms of challenges and opportunities, and the rewards available for the application of your talents and energies. As for the future, that is a time and a place where every worthy ambition you possess is within your grasp.” - Bruce Lee in Striking Thoughts

Past, present, future. One we must accept and forgive. One we must patiently wait to see. And only one is where we truly exist. Where we can find our center.

Once we do, we can open our eyes and see what’s right in front of us. A task. A challenge. An opportunity. All we have to do is take the next step. Everything else, he ambition, the regrets, the anxiety, will just fade away.

That’s why I’m a minimalist. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-Nik


About Slow Down Sunday: Life is fast. If we don’t stop and turn around once in a while, we might miss it. So on Sunday, let’s stop and turn around.

Let’s slow down so we can experience all of life - not just parts of it.


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