We millennials are starting to get a reputation.
And it’s a conflicting one.
On the one hand, we’re known for our courage, determination, and desire for justice in this world. On the other, we’re noted for being constantly distracted, absorbed in our technology, and unable to focus on one thing at a time.
The truth is, I see both in my own life and the lives of others in our generation. We’re more interconnected globally than generations past, opening our eyes to the biggest issues of our day. It’s not news to us that the world is large and diverse; it’s our reality. At the same time, this access to global information at the tip of our fingers leaves us distracted. Some of us never knew our neighbors growing up, or the feel of a local community gathering.
Some people think that this over-connected, image-driven culture is a problem we need to solve. I think it’s a reality we need to accept and use for good.
So where do we start?
Oftentimes I find myself asking the question: what if we didn’t fall into the traps that captured the generations before us? Would we be empowered to move faster, to dream bigger, to do more? Could we change this world more completely and more passionately?
I want to live to see the fruitful answer to my questions. This is why I hope to encourage people (millennials, and folks of all ages) to focus on what matters most.
If we’re trying not to fall into the traps of previous generations, then perhaps what we need is a little simplicity. We need to not find our garages filled with junk 20 years from now before deciding that possessions aren’t the end-all-be-all. We need to focus now. We need courage now.
I think that there’s a lot of power in choosing to live simply. Whether we call it minimalism or something else, we can benefit from the ability to focus on one thing, or a few things, that actually matter.
(Related: Is There Still Space For Your Dreams?)
So how do we simplify? It’s not so obvious for us, perhaps because we haven’t had the time to accumulate too many material possessions. Those of us who have yet to get married haven’t experienced the influx of stuff that is the wedding registry.
Perhaps we can live simply in ways other than cleaning out the garage for good. Perhaps not all of us can quit our current jobs to pursue our passion alone, but we can choose our passions over other things that vie for our time.
So if you believe, like me, that we 20-somethings have the potential to change the world, I hope you’ll choose simplicity as a lifestyle!
10 Simple Living Tips For Millennials
1) Focus on relationships that give you life (and lose the ones that are poisonous).
Sometimes friendships with unhealthy people can be fruitful, but we need to say no to those that only hurt both parties involved.
2) Eat well, sleep enough, and stay active. Repeat.
Basically, what we all learned in kindergarten and forgot in adulthood.
3) Remove yourself from promotional email lists that make you buy things you don’t need.
Why let companies constantly whisper in your proverbial ear about what you don’t have?
4) Serve your community regularly and offer your resources to those in need.
You and I are rich. We can be generous on a budget.
5) Keep a gratitude journal.
Giving thanks everyday helps us remember that we already have enough.
6) Spend within your means and cancel unused credit cards.
Rescue yourself from this vicious cycle before debt becomes a (bigger) problem.
7) Shrink your wardrobe. Here’s why I did.
Let your actions, thoughts and words speak for you; not your clothes and accessories.
8) Do an occasional social media detox. Unfollow anyone who doesn’t inspire you to live well.
Let your unplugging be fruitful, and let your time on social media be productive.
9) Stop citing FOMO as the reason you’re doing things. And YOLO too.
Fear is not a good motivator, and here’s why.
10) Evaluate and review your priorities regularly. Then build your life around them.
If you know what matters most to you, then let that direct you. If you don’t know yet, it’s worth finding out.
Our hope lies in courage.
The world’s eyes are on us, and our hope lies in being brave. Simple living won’t change the world; people who live simply, however, will.
When we live simply, we see more of the unseen. We think with greater clarity about our dreams, our communities, and what the others might need from us.
And then, we have courage. We’re no longer hindered by the fear that comes from comparing our lives, or the frustration that comes from perfectionism. Instead, we can run the long race after what matters most.
In what ways do you hope to simplify your life? I’d love to know!
*all photos taken by Alison and Adm at Alison Yin Photography.