In a continuation of my post yesterday, another lesson I learned from my overseas experience was the fact that we don't need a whole heck of a lot of material goods. You could say we were, and continue to be, somewhat minimalists. We had what we needed on an everyday basis and that was it. No fluff or extra stuff just lying around feeling lonely. We utilized everything we had and were completely content and happy with really no need or want for anything additional or fancy.

We lived in a 20x10 metal container for the majority of our time overseas (which was luxury compared to other living arrangements). We had a bathroom and two sinks and that was it. No kitchen, no living area, and no extra space.

I learned to be happy and grateful for the space and after a long workday, it was my little oasis. I was able to adopt this concept even as we returned to the states. Although we now have more than we did, I am more than content with being simple and living with just the basics and limited luxury items.

We also were not bombarded by marketing either digitally or visually. We didn’t own a tv and only watched movies on our computer occasionally. Cell phones weren’t allowed, so we did not constantly look through our apps, we didn’t text our friends, or even scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. One can and will survive without the crutch of technology!

Instead, we looked people in the eyes and learned to engage ourselves in meaningful conversation.

Now, I am not saying that anything about this life was easy. We worked seven days a week, at a minimum of 12 hours a day for three months in a row, thus our time was already pretty much filled up. However, during our evenings, on the bus ride to work and even at during our gym time, we embraced the quietness without all the chatter that we see surrounding us here in the states. We took time to really listen to people, follow up with friends lives and be active participants in building relationships.

That lesson, in and of itself, is one that I am most thankful for. Our experiences completely changed my prior priorities and perspectives on my personal needs and wants.

We found ways to enjoy our time together and enrich our marriage, as well as our relationships with others. I guess you can say that we went back in time, when things were slower and more intimate, and I must genuinely say that it was amazing!

There is a lot of stuff that we just don’t need in order to live a very content and happy life

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In addition, materialism and wanted “stuff” was at a minimum. We managed with the necessities, and I learned very quickly that there is a lot of stuff that we just don’t need in order to live a very content and happy life. I have learned from this all that I can be extremely happy with a minimum amount of stuff, I don’t need to strive to find stuff to fill my small space in order to make me happy or complete.

I am different, in more ways than one, but I have adapted to having little, and I think that for me, that has been completely freeing. As a perfectionist, it allows me to have a spot for everything and makes it super easy to find things and clean!

All in all, I feel as though it just makes life easier!

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Alissa Nelms