I’ve been toying with the idea of living as simply as I possibly can. In a world such as ours, we are constantly subjected to an onslaught of advertisements telling us that we should want more and that we should buy more. This is clearly not true (as well as not sustainable but that is a conversation for another time). After some thought, I have come upon several important conclusions. First of all, I have too much stuff. Besides necessities as well as my allowed indulgences (books, and music), I have amassed a collection of absolutely useless items that I have acquired in some non-intentional fashion. However, I know not what to do with these items. Its seems a waste to simply throw them away, yet they take up space and have no practical application. Useless items aside, there are several more important conclusions I have arrived at.
Minimalism isn’t simply about material objects; minimalism is a way of living holistically. It is a way of organizing one’s life and one’s mind. For myself, I strive for minimalism in material objects as well as in my overall lifestyle. I only buy what food I need and will eat; I recycle all I can and along with that, do my best to make as little of an impact on my environment as I possibly can. Admittedly, in living in a city known for its conscientiousness towards such matters, it is much easier to live this way. However, it is nonetheless a life that I can be proud of.
A minimal life is one that strives to live while affecting the world as little as possible in ways which lead to harm, while affecting the world greatly in ways that lead to benefit or goodness.
Earlier, I mentioned that minimalism is also about organizing one’s mind. For me, this is an especially attractive feature. Living as we do, in a hectic world, we often find ourselves spread thin, thoughts racing, and becoming more cynical by every social interaction. I propose that mental minimalism seeks to weed through the minutiae of everyday life to hold onto what is truly important and necessary. For example, if I have a particularly awkward interaction with a person, it is of no use to either of us to spend energy worrying about, and over analyzing what has transpired. Instead, we should both recognize the situation for what it was, and move on with our lives. We must invest our mental energy in worthwhile pursuits, and we must allow ourselves to sift through our mental contents to remove what is harmful and unnecessary to us.
Thus minimalism, at its core, is all about recognizing what is important and necessary and putting that recognition into practice.