Radical Changes

My giant step towards minimalism.

For quite some time now, I’ve had something nagging at the back of my mind, which recently exploded into a need to take action.

Here is my humble abode:


Or rather, 4,000 sq ft mansion overlooking Auckland city.

Consider I’ve just written a post on minimalism.

See where I’m going with this?

It’s excessive. No one really needs a mansion. Let alone a 20-something with no kids or dogs. What good is me living here doing anyone? Not any really. It means my friends and family have a place to swim on a hot day and that’s about it. This photo was taken on a drone by the realtor’s photography team – yep, she’s on the market! (Well, as of Tuesday the listing will be live, but there’s already a big signboard out front, so it’s legit for sale.)

This has all happened with a hiss and a roar – I don’t muck about when I decide to do something. The explosiveness with which the decision to sell my home came about following a throwaway comment from my mortgage broker, someone whose opinion I value highly, along the lines of “you’d just go and buy a freehold apartment and do your thing, wouldn’t you?”, when I’d told him its estimated sale value. (Not long before I started this blog, when my health was rock bottom, I’d had the local realtor around so I could assess where I stood in case I had to make drastic changes). We didn’t discuss that point further at the time – it was a business meeting – but it incessantly percolated afterwards.

I had a gander through some properties online, and my desire to change my living situation became heavily fueled by minimalist fantasies. I’d had the increasingly nagging thought that living here no longer aligns with my values (environmental, consumptive), and now the thought of being mortgage-free by 30 seemed to complete the trifecta of reasons to take action. In my mind it was done. The end goal was set, so, as I treat every other goal in my life, I then had to extract my mind from its fantasy world, drag it back to the starting line and map out the steps necessary to get there.

Believe it or not, I’m equally good at donning my sensible-hat as I am making outrageous decisions. Life’s all about balance, right? In this case, the sensible-hat made an appearance and before making any radical changes I wanted the green light from three people – my financial adviser, aforementioned mortgage broker, and the realtor. Even though I hadn’t originally considered the financial aspect as reason to move on, I had always considered the opportunity cost of selling as reason to stay, so despite initially being motivated by evolving values and moral realisations, the financial aspect was important in my decision, as it should be in any property transaction. I work in financial services, too, and live/breathe all things finance – so if something doesn’t make financial sense, I can’t justify it to myself (with the exception of owning fast cars which depreciate even faster) regardless of how strong an emotional pull’s involved.

Around the time this was happening I’d booked a day off work to finalise submissions for my ACC case so I also arranged on this day to catch up with my three human traffic lights, all whom gave me the unequivocal go ahead.

I was pleased, to say the least, that I wouldn’t be compromising my financial future by acting on this deep-seated intuition I feel toward making a radical change to my living situation. Within 10 minutes of speaking with my financial adviser, I could feel the unrivalled satisfaction from pieces of the giant jigsaw puzzle that is life slotting perfectly into place.

Here I am writing this, three weeks later, on the last Sunday I’ll get to enjoy without having to vacate for an Open Home. I don’t know where exactly I’m moving to yet, and that’s OK. In fact, I’m not concerned or stressed about that at all!  I’m reveling in the excitement of taking a giant step towards minimalism and looking forward to sharing the journey with you so that you, too, may be inspired to take a leap of faith into the unknown in order to live a life you feel better about.

Minimalism & Mindful Consumption

Until now I’ve only touched briefly on how this health journey has changed me and one facet of change which slaps me in the face on the daily is how surrounded I am by “stuff”.

In my mind, change within oneself occurs in one of two ways: One either consciously coaxes it upon oneself until the desired behaviour becomes habitual, or it pompously announces itself through your subconscious, triggered by prolonged or repeated exposure/experiences; the speed at which change can occur in either fashion varies from tortoise-like, over a period of years, to cheetah-like – overnight.

Surprisingly, minimalism and mindful consumption crept up on me subconsciously; so subconsciously in fact that they became intrinsic parts of my being before I could even recognise the change myself. It definitely started last year, otherwise I can’t imagine what else would have triggered me to commence a shopping ban mid-January. I noticed enough change in my behaviour to bring it forth to my consciousness, hence I now consider myself an aspiring minimalist and actively exercise more mindful consumption.

Have I asked myself why this change was brought about? Not really – it’s pretty obvious: I temporarily lose my health, embody the mantra “health is wealth”, and start to realise shit means nothing. It’s almost sadly cliche, really. Maybe just a little surprising given I’ve never really put much weight on possessions nor accumulated to the level of my peers.

Ultimately, it is a positive (and exciting!) change. Less stuff = more, in so many ways, and I hope to expand on this topic in the future. In the meantime, though, it’s positively annoying! I cringe when I put my watch on in the morning, I yearn for a capsule wardrobe rather than a moderately full walk-in and heaven forbid I have to put something into the rubbish rather than recycling.

It’s so important to embrace change and I am both grateful to have been enlightened to the truth that we are a brainwashed, consumerist society, and proud of myself for adopting values so against the grain of it.