I think what is it that a man can want in this life? What are the core desires? An enjoyable home, a lover, health. Perhaps travel, a legacy, children, or retirement. There’s not much else, from person to person.
For some reason, few people have a grasp on just the five things that they truly want. I focus a lot on love, home, and health, trying to dissect the parts and figure where we fail. The subject of love is at the root of our relations to children as well. Then love is the original value.
Most of our life is made up of social, self-preserving, and sexual concerns. We are strongest at one of these more than all the others, and the others usually suffer for our primary strength.
I’m not satisfied with that. I’m not satisfied with being imbalanced or inept at a core component. I want to share what I’m working on or what has worked for me.
For introverts, a robust online life can be like a morphine drip. Great interactions, conversations, friends on boards of interest, and it is somewhat of an illusion. Getting to know someone online takes a great deal of effort. Also, nothing beats fresh air and doing something with, rather than conversation. Relationships in real-life are three-dimensional, interactive.
You may roll your eyes at this point if you are a social person, but your strength is not other’s. These things have to be emphasized and sold, for those who look down on socializing as a waste of time. We hate small talk, we hate trends — but socializing gives balance. Not everything is about what we like. It helps society for us to concern ourselves with what matters to others to at least some degree. There is great joy and efficiency in a social life: Experiences that round us out, joy that lights up our dullest days, and efficiency in developing relationships and a sense of style.
Social standard: Leaving the house to socialize. Travel at least once a year. Dress nicely. Navigate the topics of religion, politics, and trends without condescension or disruption – being a part of the whole, and making an effort. Balance tact with truth, instead of clinging to serving everything straight.
This is our domain. Saving money, purging, cooking and cleaning. However, it is easy to go overboard in this realm, in overpurging, overcouponing, or eating too much/dieting all the time. Everyone knows someone who is counting every penny or is perpetually dieting. They will say it is because they have to, but is it really, or have we made self-preserving our whole life, our saving and calculating a virtue, instead of as a means to a more meaningful life.
For me, bare minimal self-preserving is keeping the home clean: Focusing on the kitchen and bathroom every once in a while. The rest is easy enough with floating minimalism, lint-free towels, and a cordless vacuum. The second is to make sure I’m eating well for my body type – to figure it out and abide to some degree. The third is to make sure I get enough sleep no matter what, even if I have to rely on melatonin.
Self-preserving standard: Clean home, hygiene, food, enough sleep, and adequate focus on career. Nothing overboard or underboard. Budgeting could be another category.
The last realm has to do with our closest friendships, our lover, and ourselves. This is not the same as the social realm because these are the closest ones to us, not acquaintances.
Speaking for introverts, I don’t think there’s much space to have more than five close friends. So be choosy. You have heard me wax about forgiveness and understanding and withholding judgment – and I stand by these. However, when you’re dealing with what you allow to affect you constantly, you have to carefully curate what enters your home. Unhealthy people and mindsets should be kept with some distance. You only have five slots or so, so socialize until you can fill those slots with five quality people.
The people I choose are people that are ideally kind and intelligent, as that encourages me where I want to go. So if you have a parent or friend who is filling a spot as one of your top most-called people and they have not cared much for you or themselves, ask yourself why. Is it because you lack a social life or they’re the closest in proximity? It doesn’t mean to not help others, but it means to respect yourself. The more stressed you are, the less you can offer to others in the social realm and your career/family in the self-preserving realm.
The next is to do with love. Be selective. Vulnerability is a must, and if you can’t feel that way with a lover because you fear them using it against you or thinking less of you, then ask yourself why you don’t value who you are. An intelligent person should see through to you, and value you for who you are and where you’re headed. What area of your life have you neglected – your mind, your social life, your appearance – that makes you feel invaluable? For court reporters, some firms cannot afford the price we have to charge to value the amount of effort we’ve put into our skill. When this happens, we don’t lower our prices. We let them walk away because to be a professional is to know your value.
The final is to love yourself. Why do you overthink some things? What patterns are you repeating? Recognize behavior, especially daily behavior, and if you’re heading where you want to be going. Most of what we do every day has little to do with what we want, not toward us being more kind, relaxed, or valuable. So then why do we do it?
I accept others for who they are. Greed or cruelty doesn’t make me think less of a person. I just know what is not for me. It has nothing to do with the other person. They have a right to be the way the are and prioritize whatever they do, and you have a right to not encourage or enjoy that.
Sexual standard: Balance being yourself with making the closest people feel loved and safe. Understand their personality as well as you can, as there are only five or so people here, to help and please and to be patient in signs of stress.
Put whatever you want to offer the closest people in your life, and live by it.
In this way of making sure we are doing the bare minimal for a balanced life, we can’t help but end up where we should be. Change your daily routine, then balance comes.
Most action in life is haphazard. Intelligent action, as minimalists, is our goal because efficiency is more important than productivity. So lay it out today, and let us elevate to our ideals.