Me, myself, and the minimalist. I have always been one that questions things. That child that drives their parents crazy with the never ending, “Okay, but why?” I could never just be told something and take it as that. I needed to know the why behind what my parents, teachers, and friends would tell me. So when I grew up in a home that valued high end brand name items and “keeping up appearances”, I needed to know why. When the answer was related to the statement of “you want the world to know you are important”, I became very dissatisfied with attempting to please others with my fashion sense and brand labels. I instead wanted to focus on the why and who people are vs. what they think they need to pretend to be for the sake of “keeping up appearances.” Thus I settled into myself and who I am in order to find others who believed the same.
What is a minimalist? Well the short response is someone who needs very little to be very happy. That’s the over simplification of it because everyone defines it differently. A minimalist lives with less not because they have to but because they want to. That can mean driving an affordable car vs a luxury/expensive car. It can mean living in a smaller home and not a mega mansion. It can mean buying items only for need purposes and not buying everything in sight. It varies from person to person since we all have different needs, but all minimalist share the same goal-living a simple lifestyle.
However when growing up I never heard of the term minimalist. I just thought I was different in that I didn’t need a lot to enjoy life. While other girls my age were discovering makeup and all of it appeals, I was questioning why you need to wear makeup. Just show your beautiful face. Their response was, “don’t you want to be prettier?” Still to this day in my thirties, I do not wear makeup. Of course this is just one example of many of the pressures that can occur in life. Now a days, I find that I get strange looks from my coworkers when I tell them I do not get my nails done or buy name brand clothing. I’m also questioned greatly when I bring up my love of tiny homes, RV living, or fully self-sufficient homes. We minimalists are rebels or outcasts (not on purpose) due to our society of consumerism. The consumerism mentality is built on the basis of more is more. The more stuff you buy, the better you dress, the more you appear to have it all-the better you are and the happier you will be overall. The issues with consumerism is that it makes you want more and more and there rarely comes a time where you are happy with your life because you always need more. Again, this is the over simplification of it for purposes of explaining it to those who have not heard the term before now. Nevertheless, this thought process is rampant in our times of higher consumer debt and increase pace of “keeping up with the joneses”.
Minimalism has so much advantage over consumerism!
For myself minimalism pros are:
- Minimalism equal more time-Since I do not have a lot of things, I do not have to maintain many things. For example: Less home means less time cleaning. Another example: I do not have to work more hours to buy more things therefore I am able to spend more time with my family.
- Minimalism equals early retirement-Less stuff means less money out of my paycheck and more money into my savings account. My plan is to retire in my thirties due to the amount I’m able to save by not buying more. This also ties back into more time and even better more time when I am younger and able to do more “active” things with my time. Every year I get older, I discover another “creak that cracks”. So I want to do more while I can.
- Minimalism equals more happiness-Since you are satisfied with less, you are more satisfied with what you have. You tend to count your blessings and see and appreciate what’s right in front of you. This leads to greater happiness.
So at this point in my life, my family has come to terms with the fact that I am and will always be the different one. The one daughter out of five girls who doesn’t wear makeup, fancy clothing, or needs/wants the big home. Although my Mom did her best when I was younger to make me her pretty in pink princess, she has come to terms with my less is more minimalist lifestyle.
So what are your thoughts? Is minimalism right for you?