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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

Is This What You’ve Been Waiting for Your Entire Life?

A year ago I knew I wasn’t happy. I felt the discontent deep inside me. It rattled my bones.

Just one year ago, I knew I wasn’t living a healthy life, I knew I wasn’t focused on my relationships like I should be, I knew I wasn’t pursuing my passions, I knew I wasn’t growing as an individual, I knew I wasn’t contributing to people like I should, I knew I wasn’t living a meaningful life.

But according to most people—many of the people around me—I had it “figured out.” I had the safe, impressive corporate job that nobody questioned and everyone could be proud of. I had the luxury cars, the oversized house, the superfluous stuff that was supposed to make me happy but never did. I also had the debt and the discontent that came with those things. I was a consumer, not a creator.

The worst part was I didn’t know how to break the cycle. I was stuck and I didn’t know what to do.

I went home one night after a long day at work, loosened my necktie, and contemplated the last thirty years. I literally looked in the mirror and asked the man staring back at me the most important question I’ve ever asked myself:

Is this what you’ve been waiting for your entire life?

I knew at that moment that this wasn’t what I’d been waiting for. I knew that my younger self—although proud of the money and ostensible success of the corporate world—wouldn’t approve of what I’d become. And I knew that my future self would look back and wish I’d made a change.

Two days later I sat down with my boss and told him I wanted to move on with my life. I had worked at the same corporation for twelve years, diligently climbing the corporate ladder one rung at time, but it was time for me to move on. We worked out an exit plan together, and in a few months I was out of there without a definitive plan of how to live.

And now, a year later, in 2011, everything is different. For the first time in my life I can answer that same question much differently: Yes, this is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

It’s a question worth asking.