Freedom means having choices. The more choices you have, the more freedom you have. But not everyone has the same number of choices. Choosing minimalism is a privilege. When I read about The Minimalists quitting their six figure jobs to start living more meaningful lives, I think that they must have been able to save up some money from those jobs before starting a new adventure. New adventures are a lot less scary when you have money. And I think about Mr Money Mustache, who worked hard for ten years and then retired to start a family. I wish I’d thought of that when I was younger, but now here I am, in a very different situation, with fewer choices.
But I’m not here to say, “Woe is me.” Actually, I’d like to apologize. Because actually, we’re pretty damn lucky, too. We chose to set ourselves up with a budget of $28,600. That’s a decision we’re able to make, while there are a lot of people out there who are supporting their families on even less than that. I have a friend from high school who told me he and his family had a similar budget last year, but theirs wasn’t by choice.
I have a theory that once you’ve accomplished something, no matter how difficult it is, your mindset shifts to: “If I can do it, anyone can.” It’s self-deprecating. It’s somewhat humble. But in that moment of accomplishment, or likely after you’ve enjoyed the benefits of that accomplishment for a while and the struggle is more of a memory than a part of your life, you forget about the struggle. When you were working toward it, it was not easy. There were times you didn’t know if you’d make it. And there were times when you did fail, and maybe you gave up for a while before trying again. But you had support, and for some reason, you believed there was a chance for success. Maybe because you had some education or because you’d seen someone else succeed. Maybe you just had someone encouraging you. Or maybe you even felt trapped, like there was no other option but to try again. Congratulations by the way. You worked hard, and you made it. But don’t think just because you succeeded that just anyone can do it. You’re special. Just remember that you’re pretty damn lucky, too.