If you’ve been following my blog and social media, you know that for the last few months, I’ve been trying shifting in my life and my business. I have been seeking clarity through much prayer, lots of decluttering, and reading about different ways to simplify my lifestyle. After months of changes, I’ve finally embraced my transition towards living a minimalist lifestyle. I’ve decided to share my journey on this blog, and on my YouTube channel.

I think that my journey towards embracing minimalism is one that a lot of people can relate to. To help you understand my experiences and how I came to the conclusion that moving towards minimalism is beneficial for me and my family, I’d like to share with you a bit of background information about my life and my career.

Much of my story is typical, but much of it is not. I was always a young scholar who enjoyed reading and writing. As an introvert, I kept to myself a lot and kept my head in the books. I took advanced courses and made great grades. Like many teens, I didn’t always make great choices. I had my son at an early age, while I was still in high school.

Despite becoming a teen mom, I managed to graduate early from high school, graduate from college, become a teacher, and, eventually, I graduated from law school and became an attorney. I immediately found a job after I passed the bar and started working on education policies and human resources policy implementation.

All seemed to be right with the world, until my whole world changed in an instant. My son was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly, I had to shift my focus from work to caring for my son. I had to take care of him, find a way to pay medical bills, and continue to work. My salary was the only financial support we had.

When I look back it, that tumultuous time in my life shaped my future and helped me realize that life isn’t all about work and making money. Yet, I still wanted a career, and I still needed money to survive. Thankfully, my son had a successful surgery and went into remission. We managed to continue on, and even purchased a house.

I continued to live like most Americans. I worked. My son went to school. We took care of our new home, got a dog, and commuted back and forth into the inner city in Houston for work and school. After a while, this routine started to wear on us both, and I started struggling with the financial obligations of homeownership.

On top of everything, work was stressful. I thought that my job was my issue, so I started researching entrepreneurship. I had always enjoyed blogging, and had even had a YouTube channel before. Although writing was my passion, I felt like I “needed” to use my law degree. I did the “sensible” thing and started a law practice on the side.

Long story short, it was exhausting, and it wasn’t profitable. Even worse, I had taken on more debt to keep my business afloat.

All of the years of stress, bills, and anxiety reached a peak for me in December of 2016, and I realized that something had to change. I shut my business down, and went on vacation with my son for at the start of the new year. We went on a life-changing trip to L.A., where I started to re-evaluate EVERYTHING.

I had already been doing the Marie Kondo method to cut down on clutter, and I started researching minimalism. Minimalism is a concept that encourages less focus on things, and more of a focus on experiences, personal growth, and connecting with others.

It all started to make sense. With the exception of medical debt and student loans, my financial burdens were the result of an accumulation of “things.” I had used credit to buy my home (a mortgage), cars (a lease, then a loan), and load of things that I did not “need.” Yes, much of my debt is what one would call “survival” debt (things purchased to live), but other things were the result of the natural American tendency to accumulate too much “stuff.” It also took an enormous amount of time to maintain my home, my car, and all of my possessions.

As I began to eliminate clutter, I simultaneously reduced my spending and I slowly started to get a grip on my finances.

Unfortunately…financial issues don’t disappear overnight. In fact, when I stopped “borrowing from Paul to pay Peter,” my issues seemed to get worse. I stayed strong and vowed not to take on any more debt. I closed my credit cards, and stopped taking out any loans.

Months later, I’m still trying to get everything in order. I went through some low points, but now I’m in a balanced place where I can begin to share my journey, even as I’m still learning from it. Through minimalism, I’m learning to say no to buying things I don’t need, and I’m spending more time focusing on my family and my personal growth.

I’ve been learning French, writing more, and connecting with like-minded people instead of spending all of my time trying to figure out how to buy and take care of stuff. My mentality about work has shifted more to focusing on helping people and pursuing passion over profits and accolades.

I’ll be sharing more about my moderate minimalist journey, and chronicling my experiences here and on my YouTube channel. You can share more about my experiences by checking out my YouTube video, linked below.

Until next time, be well.

-Debra