The Art of Subtraction and Finding Joy in Small Luxuries

I have a coworker who might be my complete opposite. She has long, luxurious dark hair that is always curled. She gets her eyelashes and nails done every two weeks. She has a brand new car that she drives to and from work.

I take the bus to work and haven’t gotten my nails done in years. I’m not exactly sure what “getting my eyelashes done” means since I’ve never done it before. On a daily basis, my hair and makeup routines are minimal.

We spend money differently. We spend our time differently.

But when we’re together, we always find common ground. We have fun. And if we are being completely honest, it feels really nice to be in her presence, because it makes me feel spoiled and fancy just by association.

Since I take a more minimalist approach to my spending and consuming, being around someone who is less frugal means even the tiniest luxuries make me feel bubbly and alive.

The Art of Subtraction

In many ways, I choose to forgo convenience in order to maximize tiny joys and small luxuries. Instead of making my life easier by buying a parking pass and driving to work, I choose to ride the bus. Riding the bus is cheaper, it inspires me creatively, and it’s more environmentally friendly. Adding another convenience oftentimes makes life easier, but doesn’t really bring more happiness.

I found the most joy through the art of subtracting many day-to-day conveniences.

Finding Joy in Small Luxuries

Occasionally, said coworker will give me a ride home so I don’t have to take the bus. Her car smells delicious and my butt is always happy in the plush passenger seat. It’s like a 200% upgrade from taking the bus. I feel immensely grateful and overjoyed to get a ride home from her.

Today we ran an errand and got my coworker’s car washed on the way. She has a subscription car wash service, which is new to me. We got to stay in the car while it got washed, and I felt like a kid again watching the suds and bubbles swirl around the windows. When you live minimally, even a new car washing experience can feel like Christmas.

We also got our nails done today, and while it is a regular occurrence for my coworker, I haven’t done it in over two years. I felt like a princess. Even as I type this I can’t stop smiling at my highlighter yellow nails. They look like candy.

Not everyone is going to be a minimalist, and that’s okay. We can always find common ground and appreciate our differences. If you’re trying to live a more minimalistic lifestyle, think about ways you can make your life harder on a day-to-day basis, but more joyful in the long run. What can you subtract to maximize joy?