Minimalism is a tool to use when you decide to rid yourself of life’s excesses and focus on the pursuit of happiness, fulfilment and freedom. The minimalist, by definition, lives a life of clarity, purposefulness and simplicity. It is uncluttered, dependent on no one, intentional and promotes our most valued assets by removing everything that distracts our focus.
Pursuing Needs Rather Than Wants
Living as a minimalist is a trend that began to take on a life of its own during the latter portion of the last century. It is a mindset, much akin to the development of a habit. Train the brain to identify those things that you need rather than the ones you merely want.
You can live “smaller” and find this lifestyle enriching and self-sustaining. If you don’t own something and have no immediate use for it then there is no reason to bring it home. Once the lifestyle passes your test, embrace it and enjoy it. That is not to say you cannot buy a home or a vehicle and enjoy the life you decide to live.
Pioneers on the Frontier
Living spaces are easier to manage and clean. Dependence on “grid living” becomes obsolete and self-sufficient living becomes second nature. When you “live small” the carbon footprint you leave for future generations is barely noticeable. However, your environmentally friendly lifestyle is huge.
McMansions of the recent past are not necessary for survival when most of us only eat and sleep in our living spaces. Multi-use spaces make it easy to utilize square footage for maximum benefit. It is the purposeful act of being a pioneer on the American frontier where everything fit in a Conestoga wagon or the bed of a pickup truck.
Freedom from Passion to Possess
The passion to possess is a modern mania where the “must haves” and the “don’t needs” live on the same planet. Modern culture dictates that the good life comes from possessing things. Some habits are built on simple, but misguided, clichés: “The person with the most toys wins.”
Since when did more become better or the department stores become the place to purchase happiness? These two concepts stem from the desire of parents to help children have a better future than their parents. That better future should now mean that you teach your child to grow healthy food from indoor gardens.
A better future could result from spending weekends as a family practicing wilderness camping with the essentials – and nothing more. Parents are a child’s first experience with learning, especially with the tried and true tool of imitation. Children are sponges and soak up most knowledge by observation.
Life as a minimalist works on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you are a weekend Do-It-Yourself (DIY) expert who can’t do it, find someone who can. The biggest acquisition is your shelter: The Tent. Be prepared to pay cash.
The second largest investment is the rain-barrel with a filtration system and several stainless steel or aluminium personal water bottles. Catching fresh water falling from the sky can be refreshing for a dry mouth. For best results, stock up on tablets for purifying water.
Today is the Future
This is the introduction to a minimalist lifestyle, but it wouldn’t stop here. Just wait, see and act. Today, life moves too fast, requires long hours of work to pay the bills and we still sink deeper into debt. Personal interaction can slow us down, costs much less and is a dying practice.
Minimalism is an internal, slower pace that gives you the opportunity to slow down, consume less and enjoy it more. This lifestyle is completely achievable when you are willing to live with less. Those who embrace it completely and intentionally never go back to that manic life in the burbs. You can help bring the “good life” back.
Figure 1: Worcester, MA