It was a typical Sunday, the day I set aside for myself. Casually sifting through Buzzfeed videos, I came upon a video on minimalism. Little did I know how large of an impact that one video would have on my life. Before long I was doing full blown out research on a minimalist lifestyle from documentaries to personal experiences and eventually adopting it.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what minimalism is, let me break it down for you. By definition, it’s a lifestyle or movement of living with fewer material possessions. There’s this whole community of people living a minimalist lifestyle and connecting online. There is even a Netflix documentary on minimalism. However, there’s much more to minimalism than just letting go of material things.
The day I finally adopted this lifestyle, I looked around my room and managed to pile all the extra unneeded stuff in three cardboard boxes. But the funny thing was, after every item I would find, stowed in the back of my cupboard or in my bathroom shelves, its memories would come flooding back, the sentiments attached with it and the feeling of how I might just use it in the hypothetical future. I asked myself: “Why should I let go of these items which have so many memories attached to them?”
Naturally, those three boxes remained in my room for the next four days until I could figure out whether I should let go of all those memories or not. But then one night, I thought, why did my memories have to be confined to mere boxes? The very reason I had forgotten of all those memories because I had been too entangled with materialistic life.
And so I came round to the fact that by disposing of these boxes, I wasn’t letting go of my memories at all. They had been and would be a part of me. My memories were not to be validated by any material item. Instead, all those items served a greater purpose; I gave them away as charity to people who could actually make use of those items.
And just days later, I felt happy. Genuinely happy.
I was no longer wanting my life to be perfect and surprisingly, not just from a material aspect but from an economic and social aspect as well. I was happy with things as they were and I started to cherish the people around me more. I focused on what I wanted to do and not what I needed to.
Minimalism is certainly not about deprivation, a common misconception of people who dismiss minimalism as some sort of fad. They think that the idea of minimalism is a romantic one or out of touch with actualities.
It is actually a tool that can help you find freedom. It is freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.
And ironically, we all think we are free yet we are all stuck in a race. A race to achieve better and better luxuries for ourselves. And somewhere along the line, we forget the most important things in our life.
That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to desire material possessions. That’s completely natural. But what’s wrong is to compromise your health, your passions and your personal growth as an individual by giving too much meaning to the things around you. It is imperative to realize that, yes, the feeling of wanting the newest car in town is natural, but it is wrong to pursue it if you already have a fine means of transport.
I sincerely think that the need for a minimalist lifestyle is becoming increasingly essential as today’s society is inexorably moving towards materialism, piling on accessories and other items they don’t intend to use immediately. Rather, they should seek to have stronger ties with their family, relatives, and friends, while pursuing things that actually add value to their lives.
Minimalism reinforces emotional and spiritual wellbeing. After dealing with the clutter around you, you find the courage to deal with your mental and spiritual clutter. Simply put, it makes you find your purpose in life. We realize the things, and more importantly the people, that we value and hold dear. It’s the removal of everything distracting us from our goal.
Minimalism has helped me find long-term happiness, fulfillment, and freedom not through material things but through life itself. So if you want a new lease on life, a broader perspective to realize your goals and aspirations, minimalism is the perfect lifestyle for you.