For the past few months, my thoughts have been consumed by the concept of design, mostly the concept of lifestyle design. To me, lifestyle design is the idea of creating a life one wants with the intention of living it beautifully. A beautifully designed life, like most designs, is subjective. I may find something beautiful that someone else finds atrocious. That’s normal, and I don’t want to say that my way is the right way even if it may come off that way. There are certain aspects of design that I find beautiful above anything else, the foremost of which is simplicity.

I’ve mentioned before1 that I used to be a minimalist. Regardless of the reason why I don’t consider myself one anymore, I still do subscribe to many of the characteristics that make minimalism so attractive to me. To me, minimalism means simplicity. It means living with less and yet still living a fulfilled and happy life. Unfortunately, I took that to mean getting rid of most everything I own except for the bare essentials and forcing myself to find happiness this way. I didn’t buy a car for over a year and a half because I felt like I didn’t need one. I told myself I had legs I could use to walk everywhere. During those sub-zero days last winter, I pushed through the freezing cold by telling myself that this discomfort will only make me stronger. My thoughts have fortunately evolved, and now I have a car that has made going to my current job possible. There’s no way I’d walk the 10 miles to work and the 10 miles back home in this weather. Now I’m content with buying things that add value to my life, and I’m no longer worried about the number of possessions I have, as long as what I do have provide some sort of beauty, happiness, and utility to my life.

As my thoughts on minimalism have evolved, so have my thoughts on design. Something I learned recently is that design is about intent. My maturing thoughts on lifestyle design have made me think a bit more about its purpose. What am I trying to achieve by designing my life? What kind of life am I trying to lead? What type of person am I intending to become? Here are a few quick answers to these questions:

I intend to design my life by building routines that help me live the life I want. The life I want, the life I’m trying to lead, is one where I satisfy my desires. I’m a very impulsive person, and whenever I get a thought that excites me, I have to follow it through. That’s how I messed up the network this past week at work2 and how I’m on this 200+ day Insanity workout regiment. My desires are far ranging and eclectic, and even if I satisfy only half of them during my life, I would consider that a well-lived life. Who am I trying to become? I’m not sure. There’s this image of a man I know I could be, but I don’t know why or what makes him so intriguing. The idea of a Renaissance man always intrigued me, so being well-rounded, a jack of all trades of sorts, always appealed to me. What does that mean exactly? I’m not sure. But here are a few things that have made it onto my todo list over the past few years:

  • Write a novel3
  • Learn Latin4
  • Travel the world5
  • Be fit and healthy
  • Learn to juggle
  • Draw every day
  • Write every day
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Learn a martial art
  • Control my mind/meditating
  • Read thousands of books
  • Etc.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but that’s a good representation of the major desires I’ve had over the years. I’m currently going through many of the desires on this list and there are others I may never get to (I’m looking at you, Latin).

All I know is that if I wasn’t purposeful about my intention to live a life I wanted, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. And that’s something I don’t even want to think about.

  1. Just search my blog for “minimalism” or “minimalist.” 

  2. A problem I fixed today! The solution was too stupid, so I won’t mention that here. 

  3. Done, on my second draft now 

  4. At one point in my life, I wanted to learn 8 languages: French, Italian, German, Russian, Latin, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. I learned French in High School and Chinese in college, but I’m in no way near being proficient in them. 

  5. I’ve never been anywhere, and my desire to learn languages was directly correlated with my desire to travel.