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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 3 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY Show, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

The Compelling Beauty of Free

Free in a Field

Life can be mighty expensive inside the flashy walls of our consumer culture. Dinner and a movie. Daily venti lattes. That cute new outfit. Those cute shoes to go with that cute new outfit. The price of a couple hotdogs and a beer at a ball game. Not to mention all your bills. Gas. Electric. Mortgage. Car payments. Insurance. Credit cards. Student loans. Add it all up and it can be crippling financially. It’s terrifying to even think about.

But not everything costs an arm and a leg. The best things in life are free is an overused platitude; but the nice thing about platitudes is they’re often true—they are often maxims by which we could improve our lives if we didn’t dismiss them as overly trite or vapid.

Thus, the best things in life are, in fact, free. Love. Relationships. Health. Personal growth. Contribution. Six-pack abs.

But we’d like to posit to you that nearly everything you need to enjoy your life is free as well. Sure you need money to pay for certain necessities, but most aspects of your life have the potential to cost you nothing—the system is already set up to make your most enjoyable experiences free.

Exercise is free when you do it at home or in the park or anywhere that doesn’t cost a fee. Walking through your city and taking in the beauty of it all is free. Listening to music you already love is free. A glass of tap water is free. While your food costs money, choosing healthy food over junk food is free. Reading a book is free. Writing about your life—or someone else’s life—is free. Wearing your favorite clothes—your favorite teeshirt, jeans, and shoes—is free.

Lovemaking is free. Sitting with a friend or a lover under the stars and laughing together is free. Going to a friend’s house and watching a movie together is free. Donating your time to help out at a local soup kitchen is free. Sitting in a quiet room and enjoying your time alone is free. The air you breathe is free.

Most important, your freedom is free, though we often spend a lot of time and money just to give it up.