I’ve been learning a lot about minimalism lately. The concept is defined here in a post on one of the blogs I recently found. Basically the idea is that by stripping away things that are not important in your life, you have more freedom to pursue and appreciate those that are. Minimalists in general, tend to have fewer material possessions than most in Westernized societies, and often work outside of “corporate America”. I’m not going to sleep on the floor or quit my job any time soon but the idea of de-cluttering my life to be able to focus more on the things that really matter to me, resonates with me and where I find myself now on my journey of self-discovery and evolution as a person. On my death bed am I going to look back fondly on the number of facebook friends I accumulated or the outcomes of the various reality shows I watched? Not so much. (Unless you consider the 2010 Giants season a reality show, in which case, yes, yes I would definitely appreciate that ;))
Growing up, I conformed. There, I said it! I didn’t really know I was doing it at the time but I didn’t want to be an outcast, so I sort of learned to go along with the flow; go along with what I thought I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to like, what I was supposed to say. In my early 20s I started to feel the repercussions of that behavior. I really had no idea who I was, what was important to me, what I wanted to do – which by the way is why I now believe that children should not necessarily go to college right after high school. Minimalists challenge conventional ideas, which I can appreciate now.
Their decisions are made based on the value of the object, activity, relationship etc. Value is obviously subjective, which makes sense. We should choose objects, activities, jobs, relationships, because they really matter to us personally, because you’ve thought through the decision and you’re passionate about it, and not simply because they say so, everyone else is doing it or you think certain things are expected of you.
“Do you know what a duvet is?…It’s a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then?…We are consumers. We’re the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club
This lifestyle obsession leads to accumulation of life overhead, paying for all of your stuff – rent, bills, car payments, new technologies, monthly payments to access those technologies etc. The more life overhead you have, the more you have to work and make to pay for it all; the higher risk there is to walk away or make a change. And now, they’ve got you! You’re now trapped in the cycle of working a job you don’t really want to work, to pay for all of the stuff you thought you needed. But what if you really don’t need it?
This is why my couch is now in my dining room.