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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Take It to the River


My friends and I used to have this saying, “take it to the river.” We all lived together in an apartment on 11th Street.

Whenever something went wrong or broke—lamps, typewriters, coffee mugs—we’d get drunk on the Hudson and end up throwing it all in the water. Sometimes, even if our things weren’t broken—like a shirt we didn’t like anymore or a book that wasn’t very good—we would say “take it to the river.”

And somewhere along our years of friendships we started applying that little phrase to life itself. Your girlfriend dumped you? Take it to the river. Job not working out? Take it to the river. Feeling stuck, useless, or broken? Take it to the river.

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Editor’s note: The river metaphor here is clearly figurative. The heart of the matter is that the literal mistakes we make—the dumb things we do—when we’re young can, in time, transform into figurative lessons as we grow older. We obviously don’t advocate polluting any bodies of water. Please don’t throw your microwave in the Hudson. Recycle it. Having a bad day? Take it to the river.