There is a quote from Seth Godin I love to post in the Becoming Minimalist Facebook group. It goes like this:
Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.
The quote is appreciated by most people who see it. But there are always a few (on any quote that I post) who want to disagree, dissent, and argue with the sentiment.
In this particular case, they comment that vacations are fun and traveling is good. Both of which I do not disagree with. The point of the quote is not whether vacations are fun and traveling is good.
The point of the quote is rather than only enjoying our life while on vacation, holiday, or weekend, we should strive to make our lives the ones we want to be living—every day of the week.
We should learn how to enjoy life on a daily basis.
Rather than seeing vacation as your annual opportunity to escape life… craft a life you don’t need to escape from.
This is not necessarily easy to do. But it is entirely possible. In fact, for the most part, I have done this with my life. I love and enjoy my every day. I don’t count the days until the weekend, I enjoy Monday as much as I do Saturday.
How to Enjoy Life
Here are nine ways to begin crafting a life you don’t need to escape:
1. Make Relationships a Priority.
The old adage is quite true, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” Loving relationships bring a joy into our lives that can never be matched by income, title, or career achievements. People matter and are worth the effort. It is important to notice in the adage above that several types of relationships are important to our well-being. One, where we are being loved by another. And a second, where we are pouring out love. Work to have both.
2. Remove Unneeded Possessions from Your Home and Life.
Physical possessions are a burden to us. They require time, energy, money, and always distract us from the things in life that matter most. It is difficult to fully appreciate how much of a burden our possessions have become until we begin to remove them. Contrary to what advertisers shout from the rooftop, more stuff will not make you happy. Quite the opposite is true. The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.
3. Make Your Work Your Job.
Vicki Robin, in the first issue of Simple Money Magazine (which you can download for free) draws a helpful distinction between “work” and “job.” Your job, she would say, is what you do for money to provide shelter, clothing, and food. Your work, on the other hand, is what you do to contribute to others, the causes you are passionate about, and the good you wish to bring into this world. When your work is also your job, you have achieved a sweet spot in life.
4. Or, See Your Job as Part of Your Work.
Of course, #3 above is not always possible for all people. Sometimes, our work does not provide financial compensation and pursuing our passion as a career is not always feasible. Still other times, because of the immediacy of life’s demands, we are required to do the job in front of us for the sake of providing for those who are counting on us. In those cases, there is still opportunity to craft a life you do not need to escape from. But it requires us to rethink the nature of our job by focusing on the good that it brings into the world and recognizing how it aligns with our work in other ways.
5. Guard Your Time.
Not every pursuit in life deserves your energy. It is important for each of us to become more aware of what is truly worth the hours of our one, short, important life. Those who have crafted a life they love have not done so by saying “yes” to every opportunity or invitation in their inbox. They have done so by guarding their time ruthlessly for the things that matter most and by learning to say “no” graciously to the others.
6. Take Care of Yourself.
There is little joy in a selfish life focused entirely on self. What matters at the end of our life is not the house we lived in, the car we drove, or the possessions we purchased. What will matter in the end is how we treated others. Keep selfless living the goal of life. However, an empty cup cannot pour into another. If we are going to live selfless lives (the true measure of success), we must learn that caring for ourselves is the first step in caring for others. Rest, exercise, and pursue healthy habits… we need you to be the best version of yourself.
7. Appreciate Your Season in Life.
Just as seasons of the year come and go, so do seasons of life. We’re kids, in college, young adults, newly married, raising children, empty-nesters, grandparents, caring for aging parents, being cared for ourselves… or any combination of the seasons above. Those who are most satisfied with life are those who appreciate the current season of life they are in and learn to make the most of it. They do not long for the next one or attempt to continue living in the previous one. They accept the reality of changing seasons and embrace each one with grace and resolve.
8. Understand the Reality of Trials in Life.
Every person in life is either in the middle of a trial, has just emerged from one, or is heading toward the next. Trials and storms come and go—sometimes as a result of our own poor decisions and sometimes as the result of living in an imperfect world. Trials often become the very thing we most wish to escape in life—sometimes for good reason. But given the nature of their constant existence, how can we learn to appreciate the life we have in the midst of these trials? First, we embrace the reality of their existence. And second, we look for the good in the midst of them (no matter how hard we need to look).
9. Find Happiness in Your Every Day.
Happiness is not something to be pursued, it is something to be discovered and recognized. If you are expecting to find happiness after _____ changes, you will never discover it. The hardest truth to grasp about happiness is also the most promising: It can be experienced each day regardless of your current lot in life. As Thomas Kinkade once said, “True simplicity begins when you learn to enjoy the amazing abundance of what is already yours.”
If you want to learn how to enjoy life and craft something you do not need to escape from, you can do so. It may require you to change your mindset, your pursuits, or where you focus your energy, but it is always worth it.
While all viewpoints are accurate and I enjoy your writing , please consider cross referencing ancient Vedanta teachings. Spiritual evolution and eternal principles of life were documented in Indian philosophy & translated from Sanskrit into English volumes. Eg. Vedanta Treatise
Minimalism has been a central theme in that philosophy.
Garima Dubey says
I really admire the way you pen down your thoughts and beliefs regarding minimalist approach. I feel less burdened since I started implementation of principles related to minimalism in my life. Thank you.
Shelly Todd says
I’ve read several of your articles now and love them but keep hitting a wall with what is summed up here in #5 nicely – Guard Your Time. How do we/ I do that as a family now a days? Growing up we did sports/ dance after school and were home most nights for dinner and homework. Now it’s a constant running around even though our kids are only allowed to be doing one sport/ activity each. Dance is the worst – she is there almost every night because the classes for her age level aren’t on the same day plus her age (12/13) is always at dinner time (6ish) so youngers can come after school. Plus there is constant “volunteering” demanded and right now we are dealing with the Christmas recital and all the extra practices that go with it (the recital isn’t a choice – the whole studio participates). My only options seem to have to be to tell my child she can’t do dance any more but she loves the classes and, as homeschoolers, it is her social time also. This is also true of the sport my son is in (fencing). Now a days, all sports seem very time consuming and it seems that they (the coaches?) don’t take into account that you may have other children or – hmmm, gee, other obligations. Any ideas? How have others dealt with this highly stressful family time drain? How do you say no and not have it taken out on your child (this happens, believe me!) Thanks for any ideas!
I remember those frantic, overscheduled years & how the days, months & years sped by too quickly with work, competitive sports, church & the arts…those were after full school schedules & deadlines. When your child is on the “college track” these are requirements for their resumes. Finally we crashed….physically & mentally by the end of high school….sports were abandoned due to burnout, injury & kids realigning their lives & priorities. Thankfully both are now successful, fulfilled adults who appreciate a slower, more relaxed life. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of college prep….they’re only kids once.
Ram lal says
I feel that I’m waisting my time on mobile phone.
SUSAN DYE HILL says
The most important thing that I learned as a working mother of three is how to say “No.” Don’t explain, other than to say “I have other obligations.” This gave me back time to go to college and finish my degree. No to PTA, no to bake sales, no to any other extracurricular activities. My oldest was in band and I went to his events when I could. My middle child was in scouts and I arranged with anothe parent to be his transportation. My youngest did dance for a while, then soccer for a while. I went to her recitals and many of her games. I also insisted that my husband did his fair share of transportation.
Are there other parents in the same boat? Maybe you could all coordinate a drop off/pick up schedule and take turns?
Vacations are a great way to reset….travel opens one’s eyes. Everyone should travel to another country/area/state and see how other people live. The problems we have now are people are way too myopic. They only see what is around THEM. Use vacations to see how others live…I love my life, my home…but I can’t wait to travel ….I love the feeling, I love meeting people, seeing beautiful places. Nothing wrong with looking forward to that.
Ram lal says
Really vacation are great.??
7 & and 8 really opened my eyes. I’m now much better equipped to cope with my current season. A season with it’s share of trials.
This is my 1st visit here, I will be back!
Tracey Linder says
Maybe it’s a sign…just today I was reflecting on my simple life when I lived in the Pyrenees in a 200 year-old farm house with my little ones and French husband. Upon returning to the United States, and working in a city, life became filled with “stuff,” the pursuit of more stuff and more money, and the American work ethic, which allows for much less vacation/family time. I have longed for the slower pace and the surroundings of nature and close neighbors ever since
Cathy crum says
Yes we walked the Camino a few years back and saw the beautiful French and Spanish was of life so much slowly and more self sufficient.
I can understand why you pine for the Pyranees again.
Rick Miller says
I would add one more… “Live where you love”. We ditched the city for a very rural life, and while we have to be more planful around shopping and there are a lot more ‘chores’ associated with it (good healthy activity), these are things we like. We are randomized less with meaningless things, we don’t have any noise, pollution, or stress of being in the hustle and bustle of the city. It may not be for everyone, but back to the point, it is what we love, and living here has reduced the background anxiety exponentially.
Kathy Chang says
My boyfriend and I have lived in big cities for the whole life, and been thinking it’s time to move to rural area since what excited us in the city has become annoying. So it is encouraging to see your comment here, “live where you love” is the goal we are pursuing now, among other things. Thank you.
Ram lal says
I would also add one more life.
These idealists articles that essentially tell people to be happy with the advice of “just be happy” are so stupid.
Yes I agree, that is why i turn to the philosophers, the Epicureans are real interesting group, i believe being with people you are friends with is key and doing stuff. I dont think taking trips is a bad idea either.
SUSAN DYE HILL says
Happiness is a choice. When you accept things as they are, you are able to choose happiness instead of suffering.
Great article. Very inspiring and so true. I try and I duct some ” vacation ” in my daily life outside office hours and I also induct some official work while on vacation . The latter may sound a bit odd but I really enjoy doing that without such a work encroaching on my vacation and on the time I spend with the family.
Wonderful post! I’ve been studying Buddhist philosophy for nearly 10 years now and all that you say is very consistent with it. You have much of great value to share – thank you for doing so. Obviously you’ve inspired many based on the comments I’m seeing here. A well written and well intentioned post that, in my opinion, hits the mark 99%.
One note, though – in one section you discuss seasons of life…please be aware that not everybody will go through a season called “newlywed” or “raising children”. There seems to be an assumption built in there that these phases are givens and for many people they are not. For those who will never experience these so-called seasons, some will be at peace with that and some will not, some will have chosen to forego them, some will not. All of your points about happiness where you are, happiness NOW, stand solidly and perhaps are even more important in those cases, but I wanted to call that out.
Thank you for a great post!
ROBERT BANKS says
MAYBE OFF TRACK BUT MY FATHER ONCE POINTED OUT TO ME THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAPPINESS AND WEALTH, HE SHOWED ME A FAMILY THAT WAS POOR BUT ALWAYS SMILING AND CLOSE, THEN SHOWED ME THE WEALTHEIST FAMILY IN MY SMALL TOWN AND THEY NEVER SMILED WAS ALOOF AND ACTED LIKE THEY HATED EACHOTHER
John Hobbs says
An egocentric sermon. Minimalism denigrates the conservators of culture and distorts the true depth of society’s achievements and aspirations.
Steve J says
Wow, who’s on the pulpit now? Thanks John for your profound words
You do you bro.
Ram lal says
I have noticed minimalism is groving. The popular swedish furniture producent wrote on his magazine short article about “The myths of minimalism” :)
I enjoy your blog and I’ve introduced one of your books to my mom who stil is bourdened by maximalism. Maybe you did wrote a post about helping others to open her eyes on their cluttered life?
Craig Christenson says
I’ve noticed a lot of large “Storage Unit Complexes” going up around the Denver Metro Area. I’m sure it’s happening throughout the great USA.
A good article for you to explain WHY? Is it a sign of a great economy?
Mr. Thinkingbig says
Meh, I think point 7 is where I tend to go wrong. It’s just so tempting to look at your past season (pfff, I still sometimes miss college! ;)) or at the coming season (being further along financially, etc.). But the current period has plenty of charms and a lot of stuff I will only get to enjoy this one time.
I should make sure to appreciate it more. My next season will arrive before I know it… And it’s arrival is unstoppable!
This is a wonderful post. I especially loved the reminder at the end, to find happiness in your everyday. So often I fall into the trap of thinking that I will be satisfied when X or Y happens. But once X or Y does arrive, I find that the goal has moved. In fact, the goal post keeps moving, so the cure for that constant “I will be happy when…” is to be happy now, no matter what my circumstances. Thank you for putting it all so eloquently!
Thank you! Great timing!
Sharon Brown says
This is such an important read. I think it is a part of mainstream US culture to wish our weeks away and live for the weekends, and that is such a shame to wish away so much of your life. Thanks for the reminder to live the lives we have and not wish them away.
The problem with vacation is that you have to come back. I believe live like you’re on vacation, then you don’t have to leave. Not that travels aren’t a good thing,they are. It’s all about balance. If you have to work toward that short escape then something is wrong. Seems no matter what you say some knobhead will argue and disagree.
Thanuja Zupan says
I’ve enjoyed all your posts, but this by far is my favorite. Thanks for the reminders and inspiration to embrace a more meaningful life.
Virginia Davids says
I enjoy reading your articles and am trying (slowly but surely) to live a minimalist life. The idea has for a long time been hovering somewhere in my mind but your posts have reawakened the desire thanx so much
Malvina Garcia Kasperavicius says
I absolutely love your wisdom!
Thank you for sharing⚘
Sending you hugs and blessings from Chicago.
These are such wonderful truths. It all comes down to what we really want the most in life, doesn’t it? True peace is worth whatever it costs, even if that means letting go of what the world around us identifies as a successful life. Thank you for all you do, Joshua. You are such a blessing and inspiration. God bless you.
Seriously one of the best reads I’ve had in a while. Thanks for writing, sharing and opening our minds ☺️
What deep wisdom in this post!
Wise words! I really like how you write. Thanks for these great reminders. Sometimes we do forget how we should be happy in the now…
Broke Bloke Blogs says
Brings to memory a lot of difficult conversations because of the lack of money for Vacation. We are working all the time. That is why the concept of running your virtual business and living on dream islands are such a big thing that everyone wants to have, but are afraid to pursue.
Wow very simple yet profound. Thank you so much
Great tips, I think people often forget that people with fantastic lives CRAFTED their lives. They did not get their by accident.
Corrie Hoffmeier says
Your article is right on time. Trying. to figure out my next career move…. it’s harder than one might think (especially in a more rural area). Thx for the input~~as always.
Ram lal says
Your article is good.
Use for all of us.
One of your best Joshua.
I always tell my husband that my happiest moments are at home, or at least not too far.
I’ve enjoyed holidays but they never beat everyday life.
I make a point of doing what Patty said.
Enjoy something everyday.
Inherently most of us know this but are unable to nail it down, to formulate what is most important in our lives. Thank you for this great reminder.
Thank you for the encouragement!
Philothea Flynn says
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Beautiful heartfelt words ?❤
Barbara Boustead says
Thank you for this great post Joshua! It really resonated with me. I retired in 2016 after 40+ years as a clinical social worker and feel that I am truly enjoying my life every day
I continue doing what I am passionate about which is helping seniors and veterans with their finances as a Daily Money Manager. It’s a business I started in 2011, as a tribute to my mom who passed away at the age of 93.
I am currently reading your book the More of Less and love it!
Thanks so much for all you are doing to help so many of us live much fuller lives with less stuff!
Thank you, Joshua. I love this list, and I really enjoy your writing.
I would also add, “Build a little vacation time into every day.” This translates into doing something you really love for at least 5 mins every day. Examples include:
-Take a walk and enjoy the beauty (as you would do on a “real” vacation).
-Read about your favorite subject for 10 minutes (as you did at the beach in the summer).
-Enjoy time with your pet for 10 minutes.
I think this allows you to look forward to that small time of nourishing yourself each day.
Note: I probably got this idea from you in your previous posts.
I love that idea, Patty, of setting 5 minutes aside each day for a mini vacation. I’m new to all this. I’ve never let “junk” collect (old newspapers, magazines, etc.) however I have too much of other stuff I’ve struggled to give away because … well, I felt they were just too expensive and nice. That is why I had a hard time embracing the concept the first time I saw the documentary, Minimalism, a year ago. Fortunately, I watched it again a month ago and it finally resonated enough for me to do further research and embrace the philosophy that getting rid of what you don’t need makes room to focus on what matters most in life. Relationships. Shared experiences. Once my mindset changed, it all fell into place and I felt more freedom and weightlessness with every item that left my house. I’ve been selling but mostly donating my stuff. But you have to really change your mindset in order for it to be an exhilarating experience. It’s been a bit of a journey to get here but soooo worth the trip! Thank you, Josh, you truly are an inspiration to me.
Great reminders! Great comments! The earlier we can learn and live this, the better. Unfortunately, people think they need more than they already have, usually materially. Then come the yard sales and the work those involve!
By simply sharing our unique personalities and by listening and caring more, our souls feel mire fulfilled. People can do so much for each other just by listening with a heart. Money is necessary for our basic needs, but it does not nourish what the soul needs most.
Hi from France where you have some french followers!
I agree totally: “craft a life you don’t need to escape from”. I am now retired, been working all my life, brought up two children whilst working… everybody thought I didn’t work, even my fellow workers, even the people I was giving English lessons to!!! I didn’t really “craft” my life so, but the way I behave (completely unvoluntary mind you) made people think so. I do think that life is just a unique length of time you don’t have to “cut up” in slices (work, holidays, children, etc.) and I do enjoy each and every inch of it.
Thanks for your articles.
Joshua, one of your best posts!
I am happy that at this point in my life, these words ring so true..Thank you for this post..
Ram lal says
I’m happy to read this, your words are true.
Ram lal says
I’m happy to read this content.
Barbara von Normann says
Thanks so much for such a wonderful article filled with life changing truths and principles! I am a 72 year old retired Hospice nurse, and I can truly resonate with your thoughts. Points number seven and eight regarding the seasons of life and trials particularly spoke to my core. Thank you!
As always, thank you. I agree with all of these points. A gratitude journal is a great way to track the abundance you already have and focus on finding the good in every day. I’ve recently started doing one for my job and it’s had a really good influence on my overall outlook.
So beautiful. So true. These are words that soothe my soul. I know what you say is true but I need to reminded of this often so that I live it out. Thank you!
absolutely, I really think this is a well thought post, it’s right on purpose. If only we could be reminded to do this as often in our daily life.
Catalina Pena says
Thank you for this. It is good to keep things in perspective. It is always good to have a reminder “Be grateful for small things and big things, and in between” because at the end of the day, you are all what you’ve got.
Great Post! This one pretty much sums up living a great life!
Thanks Joshua for your posts. Always looking here for inspiration! :)
Hi Josh, thank you for writing this up and sharing it with us.
I’ve found your post to be very insightful but more important – just simply profound – I definitely take a lot away every time I read your posts and I hope others do too.
Please keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future!
Ram lal says
Yes your post is very insightful but more important.