Why are so many Millennials choosing Minimalism?

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“Millennials” has become quite a buzzword over recent years. I’m sure you’ve heard the term thrown around often – accompanied with several misjudgments including, (but surely not limited to) entitlement, self-absorption, and laziness. As a millennial (also known as Generation Y), I find this generalization absolutely disheartening. Some of the best people in my life are millennials. They’re beautifully selfless, giving, and hard-working individuals. These are the same people working long hours for low wages – who work 2-3 jobs just to feed themselves. Some cannot even afford a roof. Consider the fact that I have more friends who have been homeless than have not. Most of my peers have been or are undereducated, underemployed, or living below the poverty line. Most of which is simply a direct consequence of the Great Recession of 2008 – which is, in fact, the year I, and my graduating class, turned 18 and became adults.

Luckily for me, I was able to get a quality education from a top-rated university in New York City. It opened doors for me that eventually lead to me publishing my first novel, along with many new and exciting experiences that followed. However, even with receiving college funding from loved ones, as well as through government financial assistance, I found myself in debt, underemployed, and living far under the poverty line shortly after graduation. The job market seems to become more and more rigorous each day as the cost of living continued to skyrocket. I found myself clipping coupons and washing clothes in the tub (because going to a laundromat was just too far out of our budget).

I remember being in college and not being able to afford textbooks. Today, I can gladly say that I know how to order international edition textbooks for a 1/10 of the price (now legal in the U.S.) – that’s after digging for a PDF copy online.

Perhaps it started earlier than that – when I accompanied my Grandpa – we sorted through public trash cans, picking up recyclables to trade in for cash. Because that’s $10.

In truth, it was my economic reality that truly drove me towards a minimalist lifestyle. And, sure, you could say it was not a choice. In fact, last time I checked, you needed money to participate in materialism and that we did not have.

Does the principle of minimalism bring me joy? Very much so. Not contributing thoughtlessly towards capitalism does bring me joy. Giving, borrowing, and sharing with peers gives me joy. Supporting ethical and sustainable businesses give me joy. Investing in experiences give me joy. And, I think this is also what gives many other Millenials joy.

The worst recession since the Great Depression

Well, we all know the economy is shit. I know. You know. Your Mom knows. How many times have I had a friend reach out to me, discouraged over the job market, at their wit’s end, and I, without a doubt, respond with, “I know it sucks – the economy is shit.” Well, it is. We don’t make enough to live – no one does. My best friend, a single Mom living alone with her daughter, lives in one of the most “affordable” states in the U.S. (Alabama) and she barely makes enough to survive. She is probably experiencing the best case scenario, and even the best case is kind of terrible. Why is that? Well, that’s because we’re still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. 

Mental Illness

Mental illness is incredibly common among Millenials with nearly 20% of them living with clinical depression and 12% with anxiety disorder. The cause? Stress. More specifically, financial stress and economic instability. After experiencing a late-term miscarriage in 2013, I found myself struggling with depression for several years. Thankfully, I was able to obtain the resources and healthcare I needed to take care of myself. Unfortunately, many millennials find themselves working for employers that do not provide healthcare and often end up going uninsured.

Capitalist Opposition

Many millennials feel strongly against corporate businesses and their capitalistic nature. They spend a lot less buying cheap and poorly made products from big box companies, and instead, opt in for local businesses. This leaves many retail businesses in worry as more and more millennials are not invested and severely uninterested in the experience of shopping.

Experience Investment

One of the core principles of minimalism is the investment in experiences instead of possessions. Millenials are also postponing marriage and growing their family in exchange for experiences with travel. They’re also uninterested in settling down (in one spot), which directly affects their interest in home ownership.

I sympathize strongly with my peers, and at the same time, I praise their positive, selfless and hard-working nature. They’re dangerously smart, incredibly clever, so very loving, and they are paving the way towards our future. They’re engaged in social and political affairs with the largest voter turnout in history. They’re some of my best friends, and I root for them each and every day.

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Hello October <3 // Fall 2016 Bucket List!

 

It feels like I blinked and the entire year dissolved. Like a cube of sugar met to a cup of tea, it was over. A friend and I were discussing how much seasonal changes can influence our moods – for me, I spend all year looking forward to October, November, and December. I love the holiday season and everything it stands for – giving and serving others, reflection and being thankful, and sharing love and light with those we care about. However, for her, it’s the complete opposite. The cold weather, darker skies, and quietness instead create a sort of sadness in her heart. If this is you, I hope you find solace in the kindness and softness of others.

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One of my favorite things about autumn is how abrupt the changes are. It gets chilly overnight and the physical world changes. We get thrown into it, usually unprepared, and have no choice but to adjust quickly. I think there really is no better time of year to let go of whatever may no longer serve you, and begin something new. Something new could be a lifestyle or career change, while for others, it may be something simple as picking up a new book, or starting a new craft. I also find this the perfect time to set new goals and make preparations for what’s ahead.

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With that being said, here is my TOP 10 must-do’s (BUCKET LIST) for Fall 2016:

1.) Make art!

The art you make is entirely up to you. Perhaps, take up a new craft or work on an on-going project you’ve been putting off for a while now. This is a fantastic time to try out some DIY projects! My “craft” is writing. November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’d really like to dedicate at least an hour a day to writing in the month of October. This will hopefully prepare myself for writing an entire novel in November. I have yet to decide if I will start something new or continue something old.

2.) Document everything!

Take photos of everyone and everything. Journal EVERYTHING. Although I personally think it’s good idea to journal 365 days a year, most of us recognize it’s that the most important events happen during this time of year. Families often get together for the holidays, and you’ll want to photograph it all. In this day and age, journaling can take on many forms. For me, blogging and using social media apps such as Instagram can be a form of journaling as well.  I do, however, also journal privately on LiveJournal!

3.) Enjoy hot cocoa, warm cider, and holiday inspired coffee drinks (pumpkin spice latte – DUH!)

My absolutely favorite hot cocoa is Nestle’s Abuelita Mexican Chocolate. This isn’t your average hot cocoa, ya’ll. Abulita hot cocoa requires you to melt down an actual brick of chocolate in a pot of whole milk – it takes time and patience, but it’s well worth it. This is the real deal – as close to homemade as it gets. A single purchase makes more than a gallons worth of hot cocoa, so it’s an incredible value when you compare it to single single packets. However, if you fancy the convenience packets, you can also buy Abuelita Instant Hot Chocolate! (Just add water.)

4.) Purge your closet!

Do you have winter attire (coats especially) that you haven’t worn in a few seasons? I urge you to donate it! Coats (and socks) are in high demand among low income families and homeless as the weather starts to become colder. Donate your cold weather clothing to your local coat drive. Check out One Warm Coat!

5.) Take a free (or low-cost) course. Join a writing, art, or craft workshop!

This is in addition to #1. Last night, in a frenzy, I found myself enrolling in not 1, but 3 courses at UC Berkley! 100% free, by the way! If you’re interested in writing courses, I welcome you all to join me in English Literature & Composition! Ed2Go is an awesome resource for adult learning, continuing education courses, and for those not necessarily interested in receiving college credit or obtaining a degree.

6.) Attend free local events in your area!

TimeOut is a very good resource for finding out what’s going on in your town! Check your local news as well. Any city ran events will surely be on the 6 o’clock news, or in your local newspaper.

7.) Dress up your home in seasonal appropriate decor!

This is a good time to check out DIY projects, as well! You don’t have to spend a lot, either. Go to your local dollar store, such as Dollar Tree or Family Dollar! (which, by the way, are sister companies so you’ll find more or less the same type of stuff at both stores!) While you’re there, look for Halloween costumes as well. Many child costumes run as low as $5.

8.) Bake pies!

For the amateur chef, like myself, a pie may seem like a huge and complicated task to take on, however, you’ll be surprised by how simple it actually is – especially if you opt in for a pre-made crust! Pie filling, those made of  fruit such as apple or peach are very simple to make and the quality of that pie really does come down to the quality of the fruit (ex. the apple variety, and/or, the ripeness of the peach), not so much your skill or talent in baking.

9.) Whip up some of your favorite soups and stews!

I wait all year to whip up a big pot of soup. Hot soup on a cold night is the ultimate comfort. Consider making large batches to freeze for later. This will save you both money and time. My all time favorite winter dishes are Beef Stew and my very own Cheesy Chicken Veggie Chowder! Both of these recipes are low cost – less than $1/serving!

10.) Watch horror films!

Believe it or not, I used to be a huge horror movie junkie. I loved the Saw series in high school, and have been a huge fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the classic Freddy Krueger slasher film, since I was a child. These days, the scariest thing I watch is American Horror Story on Netflix. LOL! If you’re like me, you probably don’t even bother with cable. <3 Oh Netflix, you’re all I need! <3

Truly, there isn’t anything you can access on the internet. There isn’t anything you can’t *cough* pirate *cough* off the internet. I mean WUT? Of course EYE don’t do that. 😉

Wanna kick it up a notch? Go to free or low-cost haunted houses in your town!

What do you folks have planned for October? What are you goals? Any special plans? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

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I’m a snacking enthusiast.

While we’re still on the subject of investing in frugality, I’d really like to take the time to reiterate what I said in my previous post. That message is quite simple: There are really no right or wrong ways to go about this. If you’re making progress, you’re making progress. To be honest with all of you, these last couple of months have been challenging – I’ve been occupied with some of life’s many obstacles, and this blog, as well as this lifestyle, has taken a backseat to overcoming them, as well as prioritized self-care.

During this time, I still needed to work with a very small budget, and I found myself snacking A LOT. I have a tendency to skip meals in order to save money (as well as under large amounts of stress), and though this is a hard thing to hear, it’s incredibly common. It is, however, very bad for you and your body! So, please, don’t skip meals! In my opinion, the best way to combat missed meals is to invest in affordable nutritious snacks. Keep easy access and easy to eat foods in your home – especially foods that do not need to be prepared or cooked (with the exception of oatmeal!) Some of my favorite snacks are fruits, vegetables, yogurt, oatmeal, popcorn, and biscuits or crackers.

When buying fruits as vegetables, I suggest to stick to carrots, apples, and bananas because they’re often cheapest year-round. Buy a generic box of plain saltines or biscuits. For yogurt, always go for the tub! Never buy those tiny cups. Sure, they’re convenient, but it’s insanely cheaper to buy the tub. Another great option is buying cheese by the block, and cutting them up into cubes. Hard boiled eggs can be cooked and stored for later. A friend of mine suggested any kind of sausage you can cook and store away for later is another great option. I’ve been told they’re very tasty eaten cold, wrapped in cabbage with a little mustard, however, I’ve never tried that myself!

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Happy 26th Birthday To Me!

While journaling, I noticed a phrase repeated often, “I really need to redeem myself.” It feels like it hasn’t been “my year” for a few years now, and I really am ready to take my life back. I’m turning 26 years old tomorrow – my early 20’s are officially over. It is a good feeling to look back at all the progress made and times I faced adversity with a strong fist. It’s even a better feeling to have new and ongoing goals clearly paved along my road of life.

In celebration of a year wiser, here are 26 life lessons I’ve learned over 26 years of life:

1. You can do everything right, and still fail. If there is anything I’ve learned this year, it is that there will always be things you cannot control. It doesn’t matter how many right steps you’ve taken, it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked, the door may not open, you may not win.

2. Wellness is important. Your physical, mental, and emotional health make such a huge impact in other areas of your life. So, take care of you.

3. Money comes and goes, and you should enjoy your life now. However, if you are bad with money, you will suffer for it. At the same time, you can be very good with money, and STILL be poor. *So don’t be a judgemental twat!*

5. Take what everyone says with a grain of salt. Respect and trust experts (those who have dedicate their entire lives to their work.) However, the truth is – they can still be wrong. There is no one who will know what’s best for you. Only you know that. The best scientist, the best experiment, is you and your own life.

6. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Balance and moderation is key. Enjoy everything. Indulge. Don’t torture yourself. God, why would you want to do that anyhow? As far as anyone knows, we don’t get a second chance at life – make sure you enjoyed yourself.

6. You are not alone in this world.

7. You are who you spend the most time with. No one is resilient to the influences around you – in fact, you are your influences. Plain and simple. Want to be smart? Surround yourself with smart people. Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people.

8. You will know which friends to let go of and which friends to hold on to.

9. Some folks, like myself, are just different, unrelatable, and too weird for the mass majority of everyone else, and that’s O-K.

10. There isn’t anything you can’t write through.

11. Processed, convenience, and fast foods are bad for you. Stop being lazy and cook real food.

12. If it’s meant to be, you’ll be passionate about it. If you’re passionate, you’ll prioritize. Passionate people are busy people. They get shit done.

13. No one is perfect. We can’t always be our best 100% of the time.

14. Hard work and persistence isn’t enough. You need smarts and creativity to go the extra mile.

15. Just put yourself out there. Other people with similar interests will come to you, naturally.

16. Even the worst of the worst – you can get through. Sure, you won’t like it, but you’re human, and humans are resilient as fuck.

17. All we have is each other. You can do absolutely nothing alone. Help others, and remember we have nothing without the compassion of other human beings.

18. Your idea of success will not be the same as everyone else.

19. There is nothing more meaningful than giving yourself to others. There is nothing more useful than serving others. Personal growth and contribution. If you do anything at all with your life, do that.

20. We all worship. It doesn’t really matter what it is, at long as it makes you a better person. You may worship your God, you may worship the stars, you can worship other humans or even yourself – it doesn’t really matter. Just be a good human.

21. Removing yourself from the center of the universe could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

22. The biggest freedom you have is your awareness. Your greatest privilege is what you know. Your access to education allows you to make informed decisions about anything and everything in your life.

23. The only person you should ever change for is you.

24. Start now – where you are and with what you have.

25. Invest in the inner self, not the outer self.

26. Love and relationships are sometimes easy, but most of the time they’re work. A lot of work.

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Why You Should Stop Buying Cheap Clothes

I’d say my absolute biggest challenges is to stop buying cheap clothes – cheap merchandise in general. Of course, most of us don’t do it out of choice (I sure don’t – I’m poor, not picky!), we do it because that’s what we can afford and that is what is available. However, we do suffer a lot in the long run by continuously buying cheaply made stuff. (Similarly has been said about convenience meals, fast food, and other “junk” that is disguised as affordable, but really isn’t. I will get more into that in another post, though.) One thing to keep in mind is that cheap stuff usually = cheap labor. Buying from Walmart, for example, isn’t helping your local economy. We support our communities a lot more by buying local, buying fresh, and buying home-made.

On top of that, buying cheap also means you produce a lot more trash = overall hurting the environment. Cheap clothing will wear and break very fast. They get throw out at quicker rates, filling our landfills faster. Majority of the time, instead of repair, we often toss it, and buy another cheap replacement.

Many have also argued that buying well-made, sturdy products saves us money in the long run, and for the most part, it does. The problem is usually the initial investment. I’d love to spend $100 on a winter coat that will last me several years. However, I do not have $100.. I still need a coat. That’s the dilemma. For most of us, it’s about finding that middle ground. For most of us, it’s about going that extra mile, and doing our homework – meeting somewhere in the middle.

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I’m a work-in-progress minimalist,

living in an incredibly materialistic-consumerist world.

Who am I? We’ll let’s see – I’m also a penniless writer, knowledge-seeking, liberal millennial.

Well, mostly. I leave the cake and video game addiction out of most conversations. 😛

So, I’ve had this blog for a little over 6 months, and in a way, I find that it is starving for a personal touch. I haven’t shared much about who I am and what I’m up to when I’m not counting the contents of my wallet.

Well friends, like most bloggers, I’m just a writer.

Writers seek to share experiences with others – both in way to connect, and as a way to serve others. I write for both. I like to think every word I put out into the world is a magnet. I’m pushing ideas out of my brain and into yours. I am attracting other like-minded individuals towards me.

What kind of stuff do I write? In the past I’ve written short-fiction, personal essays, novelettes, dramas (plays), research, critiques, literary reviews, among many other types of pieces. Currently, I have several work-in-progress projects including text-adventure/interactive fiction text-based games, radio drama, and translations.

I am also very passionate about access to high-quality education, unbiased journalism, and building a informed society. I think our power is in what we know. Without this, we cannot make informed decisions in our day-to-day lives, ultimately, preventing us from improving our quality of life. We are not truly free until we’re given the necessary tools to think for ourselves.

Becoming detached from material possessions, and being a mindful spender, is equally about my family’s economic survival as well as a revolutionary act. More stuff = less money. More stuff = more trash. More stuff = more poor working conditions. More stuff = less space. More stuff = more cleaning. More stuff = more stress. That’s my spin on minimalism. What’s yours?

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Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken — anotherfoodieblogger

I am astounded I am about to make my FOURTH trip over the Santiam (mountain) Pass in Oregon tomorrow for the month of July. Let’s see, I’ve been over it to do a grueling hike to Blue Pool with friends from Ohio just after the 4th of July. I’ve visiting friends (solo) at the coast […]

via Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken — anotherfoodieblogger

 

Doesn’t this just look amazing?! Thanks for sharing @anotherfoodieblogger

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