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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Why decluttering one's life, one day at the time, could be the most important thing you will ever do - Part 2. Minimalist living - How this shapes my life every day (#7.-8.)

Have you ever met a person that truly likes Mondays?
Yes, me neither.

In order to make this Monday more enjoyable for you and for me, today I am following up with the last post of the Minimalism series about the elements that define what minimalist living is for me.

After long-term shopping, meaningful spending, decluttering, downsizing, clean eating and honesty about wants and needs, here you can find the last pieces of my personal "minimalist living" system:

#7. Pursuing only goals that are meaningful to me. 
More on this one in the post related to emotional minimalism, but as a short sneak peek: instead of aspiring to be or to become the person that others want me or even worse expect me to be, I chose to be and to become the person that I want to be.

[This is my wallpaper at work 
so that I can have a chance 
to read this quote on a daily basis:
"What you get by achieving your goals 
is not as important
as what you become by achieving your goals".
It is sometimes attributed to Goethe 
or Henry David Thoreau,
I know it as a quote by Zig Ziglar]

In order to achieve this and to live by this commitment to myself, I pursue only goals that are meaningful to me, even if most people would never get why or what for I do what I do or behave like I behave.
An example: getting to the point of having 66% of my body being tattooed before turning 41.

Most people would consider this decision very extreme, or even dangerous or pointless or stupid, and it is OK. It is my body, not theirs, and I can stick to my goal, no matter what people think about it.
At the same time, I am not doing that for the sake of showing off, for impressing people or for ├ępater le bourgeois. I do it because it matters to me.

We have got to create our own fun and joy. Come AS IS - Always Seeing Your Individual Self. 
Dress to de-stress and play ’til it hurts. 
Consumerism is the American nightmare and creativity and joy is the way to fulfillment.
Debra Rapoport

#8. Mindfully saving for my future self.
People that love rainy days are now called pluviophiles (= a French word that comes from the Latin word for "rain", pluvia, and one of the ancient Greek words for love, philia... but this is another story).

[How about getting cozy on a rainy day?]

I am one myself, not only literally but also metaphorically and financially.
In order to take the rainy days into account and to take care not only of my present self but also of my future one, I got very serious about my personal finances.
Here, as usual, the mileage may vary, depending on your personal situation. To me, it means:
- monitoring my spending and tracking down how I spend my money while dividing the costs into five different categories;
- preparing both a monthly and an annual budget that get revised and improved over time;
- cutting down (or off completely) unnecessary expenses;
- practicing mindful spending and honest shopping (wants/needs);
- creating an emergency fund for the rainy days;
- signing in for the most basic insurance policies that are almost mandatory in Germany.

Above all, it also meant turning the practice of saving at least 5% of my monthly income after taxes for emergencies and my future, no matter what, into a big priority, together with joining a company retirement plan that in German is called "Betriebliche Altersvorsorge".

These financial steps make me feel safer and I am sure that, due to the compound interest, they will help me to have a better quality of life also in the years to come, even if these saving goals imply having to make some sacrifices right now.

[How grateful do you feel today
for stuff that most people take for granted?]

Last but not least...
Being thankful, every single day, for what I have, without taking it for granted, is a very important element of minimalist living, in my opinion.
It helps me to stay grounded and to acknowledge what is there for me already, without needing to get more and more of everything at any cost, like many people I see obsessing about (useless) stuff saw on Instagram and Facebook that nurtures the fear of missing out and of not being enough without those shiny gadgets.

Furthermore, practicing gratitude allows me to remember that I have the privilege of living in a country where clean water, fresh and safe food, electricity and Internet, free press and public libraries, efficient local public transportation, health care services, cheap traveling options for countless locations and many other things are available all the time, and I know that it is not the case everywhere in the world.
I am lucky, and I don't want to forget it and to lose perspective.

It is not just my struggle or the struggle of the modern times, though, as ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus [341–270 BC] perfectly explained over 2,200 years ago while defining a self-sufficient life as a life worth being lived:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

In my opinion, it is now more actual than ever before.

Tags: Minimalism, Minimalist life, Minimalist principles, Alternative lifestyle, Decluttering