Coffee on desk | Photo by Jeremy Ricketts on Unsplash

Ten things I can’t live without

Paul Ryken Last Updated: Friday 13 March 2020 Discover Minimalism Leave a Comment

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We can all live without most things. As humans, we cannot live without air, water and food. No matter where I am (and how warm it is), I need clothes and shelter. So maybe this article title should really be Ten things I don’t WANT to live without.

Also, things are not necessarily physical items. After all, I am a minimalist, and my need to own objects is relatively low. And I say own vs have for good reason. Sometimes it is easier, more cost-effective and better for the environment to hire or borrow an item.

Anyway, back to my list of things I can’t live without. At the moment, these are (in no particular order):

1. Good coffee in the morning

It is not an addiction, but I like to drink a cup (or two) of good coffee in the morning. If I’m at a café I order a long black – a double-shot of espresso over hot water in a 200ml cup (stronger than an Americano but weaker than a double espresso).

2. Exercising

As you may know, I ran the New York City Marathon in 2016. It was my 20-something marathon over a running career spanning more than 25 years. I didn’t run for 12 years from my late 20s, but when I turned 39, I started again, and I haven’t stopped since. I try to exercise at least four days a week, and most of the time that is four days of running. I record my runs on Strava.

3. Keeping in contact with my children

Whether it be via email, Face Time or just by reviewing their social media pages, what my kids do, what they are planning and how they are feeling is really important to me. I don’t worry about them, I just care and love them so much that they are regularly on the mind. I miss them a lot but take comfort in knowing that they live their lives to the fullest.

Ben and Matt
Ben and Matt

4. Having my wife by my side as we take our journey together

Sandra and I are together almost 24 hours a day. I know it takes a strong relationship to be able to sustain the equilibrium and commitment we have for each other. The fact that we have very similar values helps. I really enjoy being able to have discussions about almost anything with her. I couldn’t imagine taking this journey with anyone else.

Paul and Sandra at Iquazu Falls
Paul and Sandra at Iquazu Falls

5. Learning

As we explore different countries, areas and cities, we are constantly learning… about cultures, history and facts but also idiosyncrasies, differences and commonalities between people. I often see something while travelling and research it more fully when I have Internet access.

6. Cleanliness

I have to shower at least once a day, brush my teeth twice a day and put on clean clothes. Being clean and wearing clean, functional clothes at least at the beginning of the day, helps set the scene for the rest of my day.

7. Being challenged

I like goals… goals that are smart… specific goals… goals that I can measure… I like goals that are (a little bit) difficult but that I can attain, goals that improve me as a person and goals that have a defined end.

8. Going to bed at night being thankful

I am thankful for being alive, for being healthy, for having and making opportunities, and for living the life I want.

9. Music

My music library contains ~6,000 songs of a variety of different genres. When I run in the morning, I listen to my music on shuffle. Sometimes the music’s tempo (beats per minute) helps me run faster, makes me feel more reflective or just plain happy.

10. My memories

The good ones and the crappy ones… they all made the person I am today. Memories of experiences where I had an impact on others or others had an impact on me are the most rewarding.

As you can see, none of the things above are material things. None are things I need to carry with me in my backpack.

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What can’t you live without? Please leave a comment below or send us an email.

Feature photo by Jeremy Ricketts on Unsplash

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