George Graham

Have You Ever Been Tempted to Simply Quit the Rat Race?

You work hard to become a boss and then you find yourself being asked to do things that are against your nature. Like laying off hard-working, loyal employees to make more money for the owners of your company.  I faced a situation like that once (when I was an editor) and I couldn’t do it. I quit and found a non-management (reporting) job.

Joshua Fields Millburn went a step farther. He quit and did his own thing. He was just 27 years old at the time.

According to a Business Insider story by Jenna Goudreau, Millburn “came across the idea of minimalism, a lifestyle dedicated to clearing the clutter in your life and making room for the things that are truly important to you. Over a period of eight months, Millburn stopped buying things he didn’t need, gave away most of the stuff he had, and downsized to a one-bedroom apartment…”

He also convinced his pal, Ryan Nicodemus, to follow in his footsteps, and they founded a website called “The” Now, they’ve put their ideas in a book titled “Everything That Remains.”

According to Ms. Goudreau:

Since walking away from the corporate world and dedicating himself to his writing, Millburn, now age 32, says he’s paid off all his debt, lost 80 pounds, and moved to a small town in Montana, where he surrounds himself only with things that are functional and bring him joy. 

What if we all did the same? Or at least most of us? Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head for the hucksters and hustlers who prey on us, exploiting our acquisitive instincts?

Imagine the message we gerbils would send to the powers that be if we stopped pedaling that wheel?

It sounds fanciful, I know, but I bet you would be surprised at the number of folks who are doing just that. I couldn’t find a number on the web, but I found a lot of sites devoted to minimalist living. On one site, a minimalist pioneer named Tammy Strobel declared:

I believe that minimalist living is an important new movement that will transform our lives, our society, and our planet.

She could have something there. Thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of Americans are “dropping out” for one reason or another – an economic downturn that robbed them of their job and made it impossible to find another one, perhaps, reluctance to adapt to the rigors of the workplace, or simply the realization that the rewards of the rat race don’t justify the aggravation ….

Some are finding life more fulfilling on communal farms, others in work-at-home pursuits like operating a website. According to AARP magazine,some retired codgers are adopting minimalism to survive.

The signs of the minimalist movement are all around us. Farmers markets are springing up, providing organic produce, and tiny houses – really tiny houses like the 400-square-foot version in the photo above – are becoming increasingly popular.

It certainly seems that minimalist living is catching on. And, from my browsing on the web, I found that the movement is not restricted to America; it’s global.

Click for the Business Insider story.

Click for Ms. Strobel’s views.

Click for another minimalist’s experience.

Click for more tiny homes.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for