The Journey to Minimalism

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I am a student of life.

And now I find myself studying simplicity.

I am so passionate in mastering it. I am so passionate in living it.

Studying becomes more fun when you find like-minded people who find your interests also interesting.

So for that friend (yes, Tets, this is you 🙂 ) who has the yearning to learn more, let me share the materials I go back to again and again to pick up pieces of wisdom and guidelines on how to live with my enough.

My List

http://zenhabits.net/

Before I embraced the concept of minimalism, I have been a fan of Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. I learned a lot from him. From time management, to purging my stuff, to being more meditative, to enjoying simple pleasures in life.

http://www.rowdykittens.com/

I discovered Tammy Strobel’s blog during one of my life’s turning points (which I have a lot). Her Tiny House motivated me and made me excited in living with intentionality in a small space and yet still living  a full life. I am currently living in a tiny place and am loving it.

http://bemorewithless.com/

I discovered Courtney Carver through Tammy Strobel. Minimalists gravitate toward each other. Courtney has a lot of great projects and challenges which will push your forward to really living a simple life. Last January, I joined her course A Simple Year  which basically discusses minimalist concepts for one whole year. Go check it out.

http://living-simply-free.com/

I am not sure how I found Lois site but I will be always grateful. Her thoughts are very insightful, thought-provoking and motivating. Her projects are amazing and her personality and love of the environment exudes through her words. She also replies and converses to her followers! Her posts are addicting.

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

Joshua Becker’s journey to the life of minimalism and his insight on the lifestyle is encouraging. He shows minimalism also works even with a growing family.

http://www.theminimalists.com

I have seen their posts in passing several times before but never really found time to read. But when I started with one, I got hooked. Find time to read their books too and watch their videos on Youtube. They are very inspiring not to mention cute (no, I did not say that).

http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

This can be a little too radical for many but I must be crazy because I am dreaming of this, to live a zero waste home. How will it happen, I have no idea. But I am open for possibilities.

Happy learning!

Image : Source

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Intentional Living

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Indonesia : August 2013

I was seated on my bed, back on the wall, sunshine gushing through my window, eating room service food after housekeeping has just made up my room.

I was googling about a place which I was contemplating if I will call my next home should I agree on it. Next home. I must be crazy. Life has been so good to me already. I am living in the most luxurious resort North Sumatra has to offer with all my needs provided and with me not needing to spend even a single Rupiah to live. And I am still getting fat at that.

Move? I must be crazy.

I am. I have proven it time and time again.

So I continued googling and that’s when I happened on Tammy’s blog, http://www.rowdykittens.com, which talks about her minimalist lifestyle and the Tiny House movement. I was smitten. I devoured her blog, bought her book, checked out more blogs and got my eureka.

That is what I wanted.

A minimalist life, a purposeful life, a life with enough.

I guess everything fell in perfectly. I was starting to question the kind of life I was living. On how come I still don’t feel deliriously happy even if I got what I thought I want. That somehow I was missing on life.

I wouldn’t have made the jump to the new adventure life was offering me if not armed with the concepts of the lifestyle of minimalism.

Everything just makes sense.

Almost a year since that introduction to intentional living and I am still breathing it. Not perfectly as I still have a lot of things to learn and practice. But well on the way as everything I do now just makes more sense.

The Value of Living With Enough

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I live a simple life. Or at least I try to.

I have been in this lifestyle intentionally for almost a year now. I am not yet 100% successful but it is where I want to be.

Why do I like it?

Because it just makes more sense.

It made me realize palpably that accumulation of stuff does not make you happy. Not at all.

It strengthened my belief that experiences rather than material things improve one’s well-being and happiness.

It made me comprehend that living with less does not decrease my quality of life. If not, it really adds more.

It made me appreciate that the things that really matter does not come with a price.

And lastly it made me understand that the more I consume the more that I am doing disservice to the future by using up materials and energy that the future generation could still enjoy.

Life makes much more sense now ever since I started living with my enough.

My Project 333

project_333I have no intention of starting this project today.

The plan was to wake up early and drive back to the parents’ home. I woke up late and decided to just spend the weekend in my apartment as I am too lazy to brave the traffic jam, if ever there will be one.

I have done my household chores and was whiling time lounging in my mini couch surfing the net when I noticed that my cloth wardrobe cabinet appears like it is about to give up.

I actually know the reason. There are just too many things inside. Despite trying to be very conscious in living a simple life this year, and that includes eliminating clutter or anything unnecessary or in excess, I still managed to accumulate them.

On a regular day I will procrastinate and just continue lounging in the couch. But today the body moved. I blame it on the unusual lightness the body is feeling the past two days. I lost 2 kilos. But that’s another story.

I battled with the things inside my cabinet and declared that today will be the day I will practice Project 333.

I have been reading a lot about Project 333 ever since I started this awareness on living a simple life. One blog led me to another and I found Courtney Carver. Project 333 means wearing only 33 items for 3 months. Items include clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry. The beauty with the project is that I can customize it based on what works for me. Gym clothes, pajamas, underwear and house clothes are excluded in the 33.

Before transferring to my present apartment, I ensured that I will only be bringing things that I will really need. Since my space is small, I have to make sure that everything I have inside serves a purpose.

Surprise! Surprise! When I unloaded what is inside, I realized that in the 4 months that I have been living here, I have managed to somehow fill it to the brim. Not very good.

I did the purging. What is funny though is that I did not find it very hard to choose what clothes I want to keep. Most of them are those that I wear on a regular basis at work. And they are not a lot to begin with. I have no issue in repeating my clothes, something that made me cringe in my younger days. I have really grown up.

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I realized that what remained are clothes that I am wishing to wear but either does not fit now because I gained weight or those that I haven’t figured out how to incorporate in my regular wardrobe. I boxed them all.

Interestingly, I have built my own capsule wardrobe without really being deliberate about it. Most of what I chose are those which reflect who I am. Those that I feel comfortable wearing both in and out of work.

In an hour’s time I was able to clear my tiny cabinet, something that is a win because I remember before that it takes me one whole day just to sort out my clothes in my wardrobe at home.

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I got my 33 items.

I am ready for the 3 months.

I am looking forward to the project.

As what Courtney, the owner of the Project 333 says in her blog,

“Simplicity is the new black.”

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Another Update

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Third week of January. After religiously going to the gym, abstaining from rice, and thinking all healthy I gained one kilo and increased my body fat percentage by more than 3%.

What is wrong in this world?

After getting over the shock when my personal trainer delivered me the news, I was informed that cutting back on my carbo turned out to be big mistake. I was given the reasoning that the body panicked and decided to slow down its metabolism since it is not getting its usual supply of rice which is needed for energy. I don’t know how true it is as I was not paying that close attention in Bio before but I think I read that somewhere too. So, the result? After painstakingly avoiding rice and logging my food consumption, I reverted. I went back to my old eating habits less the coke. Ok, the plan of drinking 4 cans/bottles of cola a month was a little too much. Or maybe not. I was winning over the challenge up until I was faced by chips and McDonald’s which won’t taste the same without that fuzzy drink. I drank more than 4. I stopped counting after that, actually. I intentionally repressed how many cans of cola I drank. I was rationalizing that some of them were Coke Zero anyway with no calories. I don’t know how will that figure.

Now, I am still on the fatty side. If I will be honest, I have to say I think I became fatter. I can feel my belly juggling when I am in the treadmill. My clothes are exceptionally tighter. People have been commenting that they are noticing the difference, the BIG difference.

But I am keeping positive about all these things. My efforts of going to the gym and attending that Zumba class, even if I look like an uncoordinated toad trying to follow the extremely great teacher, will all pay off. I have no choice but to hope and believe.

It is still too early to quit. We’re only on our 6th week of the year, anyway.

46 more to go.

No stopping.

 

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An Update

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It has been two weeks since the start of the year and two weeks since I announced publicly my quest for lesimple life.

Where am I right now?

  • My target of going to the gym at least 3 times a week is still on a roll. I sometimes go more than that. This week, I went straight from Sunday to Wednesday. Thursday and Friday were spent socializing and Saturday and Sunday were spent to reconnect with myself.
  • I have decided to use only cash or debit card in all my purchases except for big ticket item or big purchases. I almost fell off my chair this week when I saw my credit card bill. My game plan before was try not to withdraw cash from the machine and use the card instead so I can better track my spending. As I reviewed my bill, all my purchases were somehow legitimate. They were mainly comprised of gas, grocery and gifts (for Christmas season). I also saw a significant percentage of bills for eating out. This time, I will try a different approach. I will only use cash and debit card in all my purchases. I don’t like the feeling of seeing big numbers in my bill. It makes me feel like I failed myself when actually, I did not (not much).
  • Since November, I have been tracking all my money that comes in and out. I have read this advice several times in different books and blogs but it is only after I finished the book of Your Money or Your Life by  Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin that I was really encouraged to do it this time around. My system is simple. I just use an excel file which has one section dedicated in listing down everything I spent and received for the month. The other section, on the other hand, is composed of several categories (i.e., Food and Beverage, Transportation, Clothes, etc.) where I list the same purchases but this time to track better where I am spending a lot.
  • I started tracking my daily food consumption and based on the test I took and the advice from my Personal Trainer, I should be only eating 1200 calories a day to meet my target weight of 55 kg. I haven’t been meeting 1200 calories yet and I am already very conscious at that with what I am eating. I realized what more before when I was just stuffing everything in my mouth not worrying about the impact it will do to my health. I will still continue my food diary and hopefully reach a particular diet which will make me reach my goal.
  • I promised myself that I will only drink 4 bottles/can (12 oz) of soda in a month. If you know me very well, soda is my water. I drink it like a pro. But after realizing (yes, only now) that I am doing my body a disservice for drinking it uncontrollably, I said this time it will be different. I am so afraid to make a commitment to the self of guzzling only 4 bottles/cans a month. But so far, I am just on my 2nd bottle for this month. So it seems to be working.
  • I also want to try a mini-mission of car-free day. I read it in one of the minimalist blogs I follow (link here) and have decided to give it a try. This project of living a simple year is not only meant for me to go back to basics and really see what are essential in my life but to lessen my ecological footprint in this world which is my own personal contribution in caring for the Earth. I was able to do it yesterday. I actually never left my place the whole day and found ways to entertain myself without seeking it from somewhere else. This car free day does not mean though that I won’t go out. I will just try as much as I can to do activities that don’t require me driving around.
  • I received my electric bill last week and was so surprised at how much it costs. Php25.00. Yes, you read it right. My whole month consumption only amounted to Php25.00. I can give myself a pat at the back. Aside from the usual lights, electric fan, laptop and my two mobile phones, there weren’t much to draw electricity from but I never thought it will be that low. I am not complaining though. Let’s see how this month goes. I am using on weekends the electric stove that my brother and sister-in-law gave me as a Christmas gift and I recently bought a rice cooker. I got tired of eating out and I really want to learn how to cook. Anyway, I hope the bill will not be that high.
  • Lastly, I joined a course offered by the minimalist bloggers I have been following for months now. It is called asimpleyear. The Universe must be listening. I know my intention of living lesimple life will not be a walk in the park. I hope through this course, I will find a community which will really motivate me to see this change in lifestyle through. I am also excited because this course will provide homework and mini-missions that I can apply in my life so I can achieve really living a simple year. Let’s see how it goes.

Some things I am mulling about:

  • I don’t have a TV in my place. I am seriously thinking if I will purchase one. I spend most of my nights recently in the gym where I get to watch the news while on a treadmill. When I go back to my place, I usually spend it either reading or writing. Should I add watching more TV in my list?
  • If I will not buy a TV, how about a radio? Old school!

Thanks for reading and I hope you had a great weekend!

When I Was Told I Am Obese

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Since January 2, I have been religiously going to the gym. Today, I decided to take a day off. My muscles went sore and is still sore from the unaccustomed physical movements that they underwent. I am looking forward to the time when they will get used to it and there will be soreness no more.

I had my fitness assessment from my trainer last January 3 and I was dumbfounded. I know I gained weight but the other revelations from the test I took kept me really thinking very hard about the importance of seeking to be healthy.

I am 61 kilos now. Though my BMI says it is still normal, my body fat content says otherwise. Out of the 61 kilos, 32.2% (normal body fat for my age is 24%) of that is fat and as their norms book says, I am obese. Big word.

Aside from that, I failed in the cardio and endurance tests. After doing the 3-minute step test, my heart went haywire. I know I have weak upper body but I never thought I can’t make even a single push up. I was rated poor in all my tests so basically I failed everything.

How can a young me be obese and unfit? I only have myself to blame, I know.

I am so glad I convinced myself to sign up and go to the gym.

Now, I am so serious in getting the health I have allowed to slide down because of my bad eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. Meeting people in the locker room who have the same goal as mine also boosts up my confidence that it can be done. Listening to tips and advices on how to go about in regaining back a healthy body are also priceless.

Today, I spent almost half a day in the grocery store just reading all the nutrition facts in the food label. I downloaded an app as well which will help me count how many calories I am allowed to consume to meet my goal and how many calories I have consumed so far within the day.

I have a deep belief in the self that I will be back to my full health before the year ends. I have great dreams for myself of living the best life possible and I need a good health to make it into a reality.

I never thought that I will need to go to a gym and really sweat it out to stay healthy. I never thought that there will come a day when I have to count the number of calories I am taking just to see if I am still within my limits. I thought I am invincible. But I am doing them all now.

No more excuses. My eyes are set. I am gonna win this.

Here’s to a healthier me this 2014.

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When Necessity Arises

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My eyes are almost falling as I type this. I just got home.

Today is my official day of going to the gym. I was actually looking forward to this day the whole holiday period as my clothes started to get tighter and tighter. I realized it’s not funny anymore when it becomes a struggle just to choose find a top or a dress that will fit. Seriously, my choices now are very limited. And before this weight issue aggravates, I have decided to do some serious intervention.

Funny because as I was trying to chase the 7:30 PM Pilates class today, I was trying to escape another eating gathering where I stuffed myself full. When will this eating end?! I guess never.

Where does simplicity figure in all of these? I hope that with this awareness of always choosing to simplify, I will always be reminded that not everything I see on the table will go in my mouth. I have to learn how to be picky and only choose what’s enough.

I had a 30-minute cardio after the 1 hour Pilates class. The machine said I lost 104 kcal from that exercise aside from the aching muscles the stretching from Pilates will probably give me tomorrow morning when I wake up. I have no idea how that number translates to any amount of food. I hope the soda I shamelessly drank this lunch was washed away somehow.

Tomorrow, I am going to meet my trainer for an initial assessment so he can create my proper program. I am so ready to lose those 3 layers (can you believe it?) of bilbil that popped out of nowhere (ok, so I partially concede that a layer or two of that was the accumulation of my cola and chips diet). And those cellulites? I am dying to see them gone, or at least a little bit inconspicuous.

Here’s to a healthier, fitter, (sexier, of course) me this 2014. Here’s to another area of my project of simplification.

I hope I get to wake up early again tomorrow for another set of cardio. I plan to be at the gym before the break of dawn and do at least another 30 minutes of treadmill walk before my official day begins.

Good luck to me.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Why Another Blog?

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I have a (bad?) habit of creating a new blog every time something new happens in my life. Here goes another one.

In 2013, I got so hooked into reading a lot of materials about simplicity, minimalism, living with enough. I was fascinated reading the journey of people from “materialism” to minimalism. From complexity to simplicity. From too much to just enough.

My soul got tickled as each and every material I devoured resonated. Until I resolved to pare down my life and live with my enough.

I am nowhere near the simple life I imagine (heck I haven’t even fully grasped what version of simplicity I really want). But I dream of that. I long for that.

Hence this blog, a chronicle of my attempt to Les’ simple life.

Whatever it may mean.

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