Joshua & Ryan
Updated: Feb 6
* SPOKEN WORD *
I can't recall the exact day, month, or even the year that Joshua and Ryan forever changed my life but the moment in time occurred and I will remain forever grateful to both of them for existing. When we "meet" someone for the very first time we often have no inkling as to how profound their presence may end up becoming pertaining to the outcomes of our lives.
During this earth shattering moment, I was minimally invested into the art of minimalism. I was listening to them converse, The Minimalists Podcast. They were answering questions from their followers. I'm paraphrasing my experience...a farmer inquired about what minimalism would look like for his profession. Joshua and Ryan responded being unsure, which I love when those we look up to can admit to not knowing everything. They turned the question to their audience hoping to gain insight for this curious farmer.
At the time I was listening, I classified myself as a farmer. I was growing food for personal chef clients I serviced weekly. I was living in a 1600 square foot farm house built in the year 1900. I had a large barn/garage that could've probably fit 9 to 12 cars if I tried. My home sat on just under 2 acres and I used this land to grow fruits and vegetables. I had chickens and my clients and community received farm fresh eggs daily! I also had barn cats that thought they were chickens and a guard dog and his sidekick! I shared space with a guy who deeply loved all the plants and animals but unfortunately, I can't say he treated me kindly.
I took Joshua and Ryan's inquiry to heart. I was determined to figure out what a minimalist farmer would look like through my eyes. When I previously resided in Winter Park, Florida I called a 900 square foot studio my home.
I remembered feeling as though this space was too large and that I could probably go much smaller. So why was I now living in 1600 square foot home with so very much to maintain both physically and financially? I clearly went in the wrong direction.
With considerable effort and determination, I knew I could get back on track. I had at least 700 square feet of living space to shed.
Did I really need that big barn/garage? Of course, it housed essential farming equipment but also a tremendous amount of what I would classify as junk. If I downsized my storage space, I would naturally only have room for the essentials, which sounded perfect to me!
Next, I considered my land. Most might say I had tremendous privacy, which I desired but my land was previously glaciated and almost all the trees had been formerly removed for farming. Even though my neighbors were acres away, I could see them, and hear them, and I disliked both. I came to desire more trees for privacy, peace, and tranquility. I thought, maybe I could trade the big farmhouse in for more land? Then I could have my privacy, farm, and room to hike on my own property!
My profession...would and should it change? When I launched my private practice in 2013 I was told by my business school to focus on one service! Very minimalist but I ignored their sound advice! I was providing (1) Coaching/Counseling (2) Personal Chef Services (3) Farm Fresh Foods and (4) Private Yoga & Guided Meditation! Maybe no one noticed, but I felt like I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off!
My personal chef services were very demanding on my body. Standing for long hours, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and packaging extensive orders. The chickens, although I loved them personally and their eggs were to die for, I found them to be very high maintenance. To care for them correctly, they needed TLC (tender loving care) multiple times per day. Keeping their water thawed and drinkable during the long winter months of Ohio was seriously challenging. With proper hydration and nutrition, you could count on one delicious organic egg per day from each chicken! Dehydration was never an option personally or professionally. The dogs, which I adored most were also challenging pieces to my complex puzzle. My guard dog was fabulous at his job but disliked most interactions forcing us both to be loaners. His sidekick always wanted my company and misbehaved terribly when he didn't have his way, which was too often for his best interest.
Although it brought tears to my eyes, I knew I needed to say goodbye to my dogs, cats, chickens, and personal chef clients. With this dramatic adjustment, I could accommodate a smaller kitchen and a chicken coop would no longer be needed. I wanted to continue growing food but mainly for personal reasons. I was certain Yoga and meditation was going to stay within my private practice forever. Coaching/Counseling was going to move from in-person private appointments to mainly electronic health and wellness expressions. My clients would then always have access to my recommendations!
It took me an estimated 3.5 years of extreme focus on my goals, but the following were my impressive results:
-I went through countless possessions; mainly gifting, donating, and recycling unneeded items. The 30-Day Minimalism Game was super helpful to me...every month!
-I sold my property and purchased a new one. This change reduced my household debt by $100,000.
-New homes were found for all animals
-I downsized my living space by 1,300 square feet to live in a 300 square foot cabin in the middle of the woods; setup like a studio
-I eliminated my barn/garage and purchased a shipping container, originally from Thailand, to store my essential farming/gardening equipment
-I upgraded my land to own just under 7 acres rather than 2. I gained lots of pine trees for deep rooted peace and privacy! I can't see or hear any of my neighbors and I have plenty of room for hiking!
-Last but surely not least, I had to address the guy who was an abusive alcoholic. One of my favorite quotes led the way...
You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.
—Joshua Fields Millburn
So I did just that and minimized the guy; it was the very best decision I've ever made.
Had that farmer not called into The Minimalists Podcast...had Joshua and Ryan not been so humble to request assistance from their audience...I'm not sure what my life would look like today. Maybe I would be dead from the abusive alcoholic? From the depths of my heart and soul, thank you Joshua and Ryan for existing and for positively changing the outcomes of my life!
Namaste from a fellow Ohioan!
Peace, Love, & Everlasting Protection!
Maggie Fekete, E-RYT, CHC, BCHHP
Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher
Certified Health Coach
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner