By Mike Aux-Tinee.
It seems like so far away, last Friday that is. Even though it was only four days ago. I guess the reason it seems so far ago is because of who I met, what I learned and what I have thought about since.
I had the privilege of meeting these two guys; Ryan Nicodemus (on the left) & Joshua Fields Millburn (on the right). They are from Dayton Ohio and have been taking some time to drive around the country and chatting with those who read their blog. Now, that may not seem like something you want to do on a Friday night after a long week… But, I think, rather I know that the time I spent listening to them; their stories about being in corporate America, their staggering amount of debt, not being happy, losing their jobs and what they did to make it through was definitely worth the four hours in a coffee shop with 25 other people.
One of the many things I like so much about these two near life long friends, is how down to earth they are. They do not put on a dog and pony show and pretend to be something they are not. What they are, really are, are two guys who have been ‘there’. Their stories are not artificially mass-produced and customized to the audience they are speaking to. No, from the moment they start talking about their lives from point A to B, you get the sense they have something relevant to share with everyone. As each person came to where we were sitting in the coffee shop, Ryan and Joshua would not just shake their hand like a politician out looking for your vote, but they hugged each and every person and treated them like a member of the family. No one walked away without getting a hug.
Their story is much like so many others; they were given a set of instructions about how to live their lives. You need to get a good paying job, work hard and you will find happiness. They had their world come crashing down when corporate America decided their services were not needed any longer. Well, Ryan was let go from his job and Joshua, who was struggling with finding happiness, decided to jump off the corporate ladder and pursue his passion for writing.
Once free from the chains that held them down and back, they hit the ground running full speed a head and never looked back. During their chat on friday, Joshua said, asked “Why continue to look in the rear view mirror, you may miss what is coming in front of you”. ( I am paraphrasing of course, after all it’s been four days!)
Within just a year, they have been able to pay down or off a significant amount of debt, realize what they need to survive and jettison a lot of stuff that was getting in the way. Their goal is pretty simple, to pursue happiness on their terms, with less stuff.
The night was kept pretty loose, they fielded questions and many of those present were able to share personal stories and observations.
As I mentioned earlier, I did learn a lot that night and it was time well spent. I learned, that happiness, my happiness is my responsibility. If I have a passion, that I should pursue it and keep working at it… until….. Debt, is not a good thing and keeps us chained to a life of continual consumption that does not fix the problem but makes it worse. No only are we being smothered under the weight of so owning and consuming so many things, our environment is suffering also.
If you have the time, head out to their web site and take the time to read what they have to say. While you may not spend four hours on a Friday night, taking 20-30 minutes to read their posts will be time well spent.
Their site address is: http://www.theminimalists.com/