Focus and Energy: How Living Minimally Helps My Focus & Gives Me Energy by Mark Smith

Focus and Energy:  How Living Minimally Helps My Focus & Gives Me Energy by  Guest Blogger Mark Smith

I am by no means a minimalist.  
But I live a fairly minimalist lifestyle.  I don't own a sofa, TV, or a car. I could easily afford these things, but I choose not to.  Most people think I'm pretty crazy when I tell them these this, then I stir the pot further by mentioning I don't eat meat. At the moment people are so frantic with questions, I then mention the cherry on top that I don't shop at Walmart.  
It seems like I am probably an insane conspiracy theory nut who lives out of a trailer in the woods with a tracphone, but I'm the opposite. I live in a small apartment with high-speed internet. My iPhone is one of my favorite toys.  So what gives not having possessions defined by the American dream you wonder?
Simple: It's too much energy.
Over the years I've noticed certain things sap the life right out of me.  Some of these things take too much time and energy which would exhaust me.  Over time I started figuring out what things I was doing that were making me so tired and stop doing them. Many of them were upkeep for possessions.  So I changed my life by not doing and owning certain things.  Here are some basic observations I've noticed from possessions alone:
  •  Couch - Only needed if you invite people over. If you are social outside your home, you don't need a couch.
  • TV - In an age where everyone uses smartphones, tablets, and computers to watch things I'm kind surprised TV is still a thing. TV isn't a necessity anymore.
  • Car - Cars are money pits. The upkeep on them is insane as well. Gas, insurance, tune-ups, repairs, and other things make them a giant pain in your wallet. Uber, Lyft, Carpooling, and public transportation are more accessible than ever.  If your destination is short you can bike, long-board (my favorite), or walk. Walking is super relaxing and provides you with a chance to clear your head or listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts. It's also great exercise. I will note that if you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, you probably need a car.
My diet is very basic. When I go to a restaurant to eat I am not bogged down by with options. Being vegetarian my choices are mostly made for me. My eyes quickly move to the vegetarian section of the menu and I usually have a choice of 2-5 different meals to choose from.  While everyone takes years to decide what they want to eat, my choice is usually made in seconds.  I can now spend more time talking with friends at dinner, or in most cases helping them decide what to eat.
Some days I love going to the supermarket for food, other days I hate it. I've noticed that most places in my area of the country will deliver groceries. That's time I don't have to spend in a grocery store line. For other items, Amazon delivers basically anything. I can wait a few days for an item to be delivered. If I think I really need something I have to think about the cost of an Uber to go to a store to pick up an item. At that point, most items don't become the emergencies I originally think they are.
Living in a small apartment doesn't provide me with a ton of room. Meaning I don't buy a ton of useless crap because I want to be able to move around while walking through my living room.  When I look at an item I want I have to not only think if I need the item but also do I have room for it. Both answers are usually no.
Also, not having a ton of excess possessions allows me to appreciate the things I have. My apartment has a lot of random artwork which helps inspire me.  When I first arrived at my new place I put way too much art up. It was all clumped together and kind of lost meaning.  I started taking some of it into work and spacing out the art in my home.  It created a much more inspiring work-space.  This is the reason art galleries have everything spaced out. It's easier to appreciate an art exhibit when it's not two inches from another one.
Everyone thinks life is defined by what you do and that may be true. But let's flip that and see what it means by having your life defined by what you don't do.  If you don't watch drink you won't be invited to bars. If you don't like running you and make that public you won't be pressured into a 5k by your friends and family. If you tell people you don't watch TV you won't have to hear them drown on about American Idol.  But not doing certain things you can shape your life to more of what you want to do to while having more energy to focus on things you truly enjoy. 

Guest Blogger:  Mark Smith
Mark Christopher Smith the 1st (MCS1) is an Author, Podcaster, T-Shirt Designer, & Friend. He hosts a weekly podcast known as "The MCS1 Show" that humorously discusses lifestyle & culture. He is the author of the book "Everyone is a Sinner But Me.", a satirical rendition of the culture depicted in Happy Valley Utah. In his spare time, he designs t-shirts based on the topics he discusses on his podcast and writes about. MCS1 has been vegetarian over half his life & his one goal in life is to own a pet fox.

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