Hello! We’re Ang and Sporty, the two fifty-something (actually closer to sixty, but who’s counting?) urban hippies behind Mostly Mindful.
Until 2008 we were a couple of regular consumers. We had two cars, a house full of stuff and a ton of debt. Life was stressful. We drank too much and argued a lot.
We were on the verge of moving house when daunted at the prospect, Ang got it into her head that we should sell everything and move into a furnished apartment.
It took some persuading (and more wine), but Sporty eventually agreed. And that’s when everything changed for the better.
That first move still required a small truck to get the remainder of our belongings to our new digs, but with each subsequent move, we whittled things down even further.
We eventually got to a point where we could move everything in one carload in Toodles, our Hyundai Atos. (Poster children for the minimalist movement.)
We adopted a minimalist lifestyle to save ourselves from the agonies that come with moving house, but it’s the unexpected benefits resulting from that decision that continues to astound us. Ditching our stuff enabled us to finally (and permanently) become debt-free. It also put us on a path to personal growth, prompted us to clean up our diet and get healthy, and best of all, it’s improved our relationship.
If we had to sum it up, you could say it’s made us more mindful.
There’s no room for awareness when you’re stuck on the hedonic treadmill, but get off it and your world opens up. We started noticing the impact our day-to-day choices had on ourselves, the people around us, and the environment. Before long we were looking for ways to do things differently to reduce that impact and live more consciously.
It’s been 12+ years since we embarked on this simple living journey and we’re happier than ever. The amount of things we own has gone up and down depending on our circumstances, but we never have anything we don’t use or value in our home. This blog is a culmination of our learnings and experiences. We hope you find it helpful.
A Little More About Ang
My parents would stuff me into a party dress only to find me racing around in my brother’s school shorts as soon as they’d turned their backs. Their hopes were momentarily raised when I loosely modeled my look on the South African band Via Afrika (sans the pointy bras).
But then Culture Club and Grace Jones came onto my radar and I bought a bunch of men’s suits, cut my hair into a flat top and dyed it pitch black. Because why not? To their lasting credit, Mom and Dad didn’t really weigh in on my choice of wardrobe or hairstyle.
Growing up in the south of Johannesburg, peer pressure led me to make a bunch of poor choices. I started smoking in my mid-teens, didn’t apply myself at school, snuck out of the house to go partying with my friends, the list goes on.
After (barely) graduating from the technical college I attended for my final two years of high school, I was fortunate enough to land a job in graphic design the following year.
This was 1986 and the cutting-edge technology I was exposed to included mono screens and software that loaded on floppy disks. These were heady times. The salary paid for my cigarettes and bus fare and not much else.
My dad was mortified, but I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be getting paid to do something so fun and creative.
I coasted along (are you seeing a pattern here?) for the next decade, moving jobs but doing pretty much the same thing. I learned new software when the need arose, but didn’t make any effort to improve myself.
Fun side fact: I met Sporty while working at my first job.
Things began changing for me workwise in 2001 when Sporty and I relocated first to Dubai and then to Toronto. Being so far away from friends and family prompted me to write emails sharing details of life abroad. Everyone loved these missives and wanted to know when I’d be writing a book.
The book never happened, but a new passion was born, and little did I know it at the time, a new career as well. That’s not to say I instantly transformed into the content writer I am today.
I enjoyed forays in the catering, film, and tea industries, before finally landing my first bona fide writing job in 2010 at a Jo’burg-based digital marketing agency.
With most of their clients in the tourism space, I found myself not just penning stories about five-star safari lodges, but actually visiting them. For a born-and-bred city girl, getting to see South Africa’s Big 5 up close was mind-blowing.
With each subsequent job, my wordsmithing skills improved and my newfound passion grew. These days I spend my time producing human-friendly, Google-focused content for solopreneurs and small businesses.
I’m not rich yet, but I can pay for more than the cigarettes I no longer smoke. I reckon my Dad would be proud!
A Little More About Sporty
Sporty still needs to write her about section. She hates doing this kind of thing and now she’s sulking because I told her she can’t ask ChatGPT to write it for her.
A Little More About Us
In 1997, after a decade-long friendship, Sporty and I finally acknowledged what our friends had known for years. We liked each other. A lot.
Ours is a happily ever after story, but it’s one that’s also hard-won. We thought love was enough to keep the relationship alive, and soon found out it takes actual hard work to make that happen. Wait, what?
We tried everything from wine to therapy before eventually settling on communicating more openly and honestly. Although slow going (it took some years), we eventually reached a point where we’re consistently happy.
I guess what’s helped is that we’re always on the same page about stuff. We quit smoking together, we downsized together, we learnt to meditate together, and we committed to doing better, together.
And now we’re blogging together in the hopes that our story will inspire you to swap out the habits that don’t serve you with ones that can truly uplevel your life. Seriously, if I can quit smoking (I was a pack-a-day gal for 15+ years) and Sporty can quit bratwurst anything is possible.
After the success of her “let’s sell everything” suggestion, Ang got it into her head to come up with even more harebrained schemes to keep us out of our comfort zone. (She prefers calling them lifestyle experiments.)
We tried house sitting as means to untether ourselves and avoid paying rent. But after seven months—four of which were spent hound-sitting in a small town—we decided to settle down in the ‘burbs again.
One lifestyle experiment involved seeing how little we could live with. (Washing dishes was a pleasure.) We adopted a furniture-free lifestyle for a while and we even looked after a permaculture farm.
Now Sporty’s hatching a plan for us to move into a van and travel the country. We’ll keep you posted.
What Do We Talk About on Mostly Mindful?
Our three main categories are simple living, sustainability and wellbeing. Topics under these umbrellas run the gamut from decluttering and organising to eating well, being more mindful and shopping in a way that doesn’t harm the planet. We also talk personal growth, living cruelty-free, and what to do with household trash.
The clue is in the name: Mostly Mindful. We’re not a couple of greenies living off the grid in a teepee somewhere. We’re your common or garden urban hippies. Which is to say, we strive to be mindful about how we live most of the time. We don’t always get it right, but we do our best.
We want to encourage you to do the same.
Most people are living stressed out lives because they own too much stuff, which is completely ironic since they were convinced that stuff would make them happier. The truth is, our need to ‘consume’ has consequences far beyond the clutter, debt and stress. It also affects our planet and the beings we share it with.
If we all aim to be mostly mindful, we can make a real difference. It also means we can stay here instead of move to Mars.
Getting Started (Baby Steps)
Getting started on this ‘less is more’ journey can seem daunting. Especially when you’re stressed, in debt and surrounded by clutter. Be gentle with yourself. Take it slow and steady. This is definitely one of those instances where channeling your inner tortoise is going to win you the race!
If you’re keen to join us on this journey (yay!), you can go ahead choose your own simple living adventure by a) watching Ang’s TEDx talk, b) checking out the popular posts on our homepage, or c) browsing our content by category (you’ll find the categories conveniently placed in the navigation bar).
To mostly mindful infinity and beyond! 😉