Stop Calling Me a Minimalist

I just finished reading Everett’s latest blog post “F*** Minimalism“. He’s come to some realizations that minimalism isn’t the end all. It’s a good reminder to those of us who’ve claimed the hip tag of “minimalist”. I specifically chose Live [Simply] Free because my life isn’t just about minimalism. That was just one part of living free through simplistic means.

Unfortunately, something about the reckless abandonment of minimalism attracts the most attention. Well, minimalism is part of who I am, but I’m done minimizing. I can’t go any further. I’d like to think there’s a lot more to my life than just getting rid of stuff. That reputation needs to change.

My blog’s name is Live [Simply] Free. If we’re to be known as anything, let it be this.

Live. I’m a Christian and therefore am compelled to live by a different set of standards found in the Bible.

Simply. To keep my eyes on the cross, it takes getting rid of distractions (material and mental)

Free. True freedom is found in Christ. And freedom equals happiness. And when living for Christ, life’s adventures are limitless, and the mundane becomes extraordinary.

On Spontaneity and Having Fun

Living simple is suppose to create happiness and freedom but sometimes that’s not enough. In my case I’m living more simple than ever before and yet I’ve noticed a significant diminish in my “cheeriness” level. If you asked me what’s wrong, I couldn’t tell you. Everything had actually been going in my favor. Yet something was missing in my simplistic lifestyle.

Even though I’ve set up my life to where everything I do is something I enjoy doing, it still can become an enjoyable routine. Every once in awhile there’s a need for spontanaity. Notice I said spontanaity and not just having fun. Because in my life everything I do is fun but there’s a certain level of normalcy about it and it’s all penciled into my schedule. I had a New Year’s Eve party at my house which was fun but it was still run of the mill because I had to plan it.

New Year’s Eve differs from last night when I just went out to eat with some friends, kicked back, and shot the breeze. Then after that a group of us got wind of place with a local band and went there for awhile. It was so relaxing and I felt that it being short notice made it more special than something being planned and thought over.

So what am I trying to say? Just don’t get caught in the tracks of your life. Every once in awhile leave space in your schedule not to be a couch potato at home but to text some friends and see who wants go to do something. What’s fun for you is probably different than what’s fun for me, but the point isn’t what you do but that you take the initiative to do something. After all, isn’t that part of why we’re trying to be simplistic so that it frees us up to live more of life? What good are those efforts if we don’t take advantage of those new found freedoms?

New Year “Resolutions” 2011

I wrote in my Christmas greetings how last year was all about getting established, and this year is going to be about building on that foundation in a number of ways. New Year resolutions are overrated, I’m more about New Year principals. I have a number that I pulled and made my own from Jonathan Edward’s resolutions.

Here’s my main goals I’d like to see happen in my life this year.

  1. Redefine Christianity for my life. (If you want to know what that means, keep reading my blog this year)
  2. Come to an end on my minimalist (not simplicity) journey (I’m well aware that my journey will restart if a variable changes in my life such as getting married, moving, etc)
  3. Find my own apartment
  4. Graduate Paramedic school

Here’s a link to a list of what I call my “Life Rules“.

Top 10 Posts Worth Reviewing in 2010

It’s been a great year being able to write on this blog, and it’s been neat to see how it’s grown since its inception. Based on how many people visited, here’s a list of the top 10 most visited posts on Live [Simply] Free. Happy New Year!

10. How to Prepare for Minimalist Travel

9. Setting Up to Live Extraordinarily

8. The Ultimate Trick to Waking Up Early

7. A Look At What I’m Packing | Mission:Kenya

6. Traditional Minimalists Live in a Bubble

5. Reply to: Carry Less Stuff

4. The Harris Family Lives Simple in Kenya

3. Christmas Greetings 2010 from Andrew Randazzo

2. Not Your Average Minimalist

1. Oh The Places You’ll Go

Christmas Greetings 2010 from Andrew Randazzo

It’s been a good year, the best in my life actually. So much has happened in the past year that it feels like it’s been 2yr. A year ago I graduated from college and was determined to transform my life. It all started with this idea of simplicity and minimalism, and everyone thought I was crazy and that it was just a passing fad. People still think I’m crazy, but now a year later, people are getting the idea that this isn’t just a passing fad.

I started a 1-year internship in January with my church, Calvary Community. It really turned out to be mentorship and it was a huge personal growing experience more than anything else. I also had the opportunity to be baptized in February after realizing I hadn’t been baptized after my true conversion back in high school. Some of the more visible things I did during my internship included organizing fellowships and putting together a kid’s Bible camp.

I also got a job working at Apple which was a great experience and really broadened my horizons in a lot of ways. That job also helped me really get connected to people and things going on in this area. Coming from school where I had built up a large network, now I was back at square one. So, one of my goals was to build up my network.

The beginning of the year was a challenge as I transitioned out of college mode into the young-working-adult-phase. It was a whole new world to me as I learned how to interact and relate with other people in the same phase of life and also the families in my church. I also began defining my life by narrowing down my activities to a few specifics. So, over the course of a year I’ve devoted myself to my church first and formost, my job, and blogging. I also picked up a couple hobbies including swimming and wake boarding.

In the Fall, I made a career change and moved from retail to the medical field as an EMT for an ambulance service. This is the field I plan to pursue. I went through a rigorous application process to get into Paramedic school, and God blessed by allowing me to get in and a full year of medic school starts in January of 2011.

Part of my life transformation was composing a motto for my life, and mine says “Life is what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily.” There has not been an exception to that, and I can say that everyday of this year has been an incredible adventure. One of those unique adventures was traveling to Kenya for a month in November. The first half was spent by myself and the second half was spent with a group from my church. I documented everyday of that trip and you can read more about some of my crazy stories at Mission:Kenya.

Near the end of this year, I’ve been asking God to put some godly friends into my life, and He has been faithful to that request and I’m beginning to build a core group of friends. So here I am, finally planted in my new phase of life and ready to take on the new year and keep moving forward. Now that I’ve got my feet on the ground, hopefully this coming year will be my time to bloom.

Here’s some pictures for everyone. You can click on them for descriptions. I hope all of you will have a sensational up and coming year. God bless!

Society Wants Opinions They Don’t Want

I’m in the car last week with my siblings and we all decided that we wanted Taco Bell.  So, we pulled off at the nearest exit that had one.  After getting back on the road, a few miles later my sister recognized an exit and said, “We should’ve stopped here. There’s more options at this exit.”

There could’ve been 100 options or just 1, it didn’t matter as long as it had a Taco Bell.

That kind of thinking, though, is so typical of our American culture.

We instinctively want more without realizing all we really want is 1 “thing”.

A Lesson From “Forest Gump”

I watched Forest Gump (all time favorite) this past weekend.  Not exactly about minimalism, but here’s some lessons I think every person should consider.

  • Integrity is above all else
  • Kindness generates loyalty
  • Your passion for something is what inspires the most (so don’t try to inspire, just LIVE)
  • Never moving up the ladder and enjoying work is better than becoming miserable as a CEO because in the end we all die and all that stuff we accumulated won’t matter.
  • Don’t be quick to let go of an old friendship
  • Be unassuming
  • Look outside yourself and serve others, it’s more rewarding