The word minimalism has a negative connotation to many. They believe being a minimalist means you are sacrificing things. It means you are not taking advantage of all that is available in the modern world today. You probably aren’t earning a good income which puts you in a sad situation in your so-called social circle.
While that may be the perception some of us may have, if we took the time to learn about what minimalism really is, we may find out it can improve our lives.
What is a minimalist lifestyle? This can raise images of people living in tiny studio apartments, small campers or tiny homes, possessing only their capsule wardrobe and a backpack full of remaining belongings. While some minimalists do choose to live this way – and that works great for them – not all minimalists go to the extreme.
Of late, a wave of minimalism as a lifestyle choice has been widespread in the developed world. And in affluent corners of the world, where people can afford to consume visibly, many are walking away from the tiresome update-and-upgrade commercial lifestyle that ends up stuffing spaces and more importantly weighing on their minds. In a world worried about global warming and ever growing mountains of trash, a minimal lifestyle is finding many takers on ethical grounds as well.
Being a minimalist is a state of mind, and not a set of rules. It can actually mean you have more of what you need, are able to enjoy everything you have and are not worried about what you don’t have. All of that can help make living life a lot less stressful and can make it more fulfilling. Minimalism means to spend sustainably and responsibly. After all that hard work and toil of the day, we must know and regard each and every penny earned. Those who know the value of a single penny would definitely spend smartly. Not looking at the norms of the society that have been put forth us, I’d rather do with a pair of shoes, and not buy and hoard five to seven pairs just because I can “afford”.
In today’s day and age, sustainable living is the need of the hour. Because at the rate at which consumption of resources and the production of goods and services is constantly increasing, there has developed a need for sustainability. Production requires energy. To save that energy, we must reduce on our productions and going minimalist is the only way to do so.
The world requires people who would vouch for minimalism, sustainability, mindfulness, and responsible living. Reality strikes hard when we try to be those spendthrifts, extravagant spending class, or the glamorous fashionistas for that matter. It’s high time we considered looking at our utilities and wastage in a more responsible manner. What more than occupying the smallest possible space you can than spreading your arms only to show that you’re capable of occupying more than what is required for you.
Minimalism is not about giving up your luxuries and stuffing yourself up in a single room, its more about what you choose to keep and what is required to be given away to those in need. It is more about being responsible with your choices that you make on a daily basis. It means we must think before we buy something out of our affordability than our requirement and need. If I can buy myself five dresses a month, without having the need but just to fulfil my greed, it would question my morality and upbringing. I’d rather spend smart on those necessities that I cannot do without, than coming into a competition with self at hoarding up stuff that bring me temporary happiness.
In these days of pandemic, we could use the time to ponder over our thoughts and switch to the new way of life where we are able to contribute in saving on a lot of resources for the future generations to come.
The benefits are incredible: more time, more money, more energy, more focus, more opportunity to pursue those things in life that bring real happiness.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that should be adopted by everybody. But we’d not want anybody, anywhere to be forced into minimalism unless it’s a self-made and self-agreed decision. We’d want people to choose it on their own. As Michelle Obama once said about the quarantine, “It’s a good exercise in reminding us that we just don’t need a lot of the stuff that we have.”
While the pandemic hit many of us, people have already started reassessing their finances and budgets and asking questions like: “Why weren’t we able to get ahead when finances were good? Where was all our money going? How much were we spending? And how much can we cut back both now and in the future?”
Instead of having people arriving at these questions because they are forced into them or simply from a desire to be more financially stable and prepared for the next crisis, its better we stand face-to-face with the spending and start asking deep questions about whether their search of physical possessions was really the best use of their limited resources. As we ask these questions about values and purpose, we run into minimalist principles. Minimalism is, after all, about removing distractions so we can focus on those things that matter most. Life’s deepest questions often lead us there.
There is something I have learnt in the pandemic that you can’t control the people around you. You cannot control how the entire world is going to respond to this pandemic and its subsequent results. We can only take control of how we are going to personally handle our lives going forward. Owning less means you can find a more intentional life; focus on those pursuits that bring meaning, fulfilment, and joy to your life. Stay focused on those things that add value to your life, that bring lasting joy into your life, that help you pursue your values — and not those that distract you from it. This current crisis is going to affect the world in countless ways and for a longer period of time than we know. Let’s make sure we learn from it as best we can.