Just after Christmas 2016, I watched The Minimalist’s documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important things and it changed me. After watching the film I was so connected to the message of living with less and it made me realize that I’d been trying to live with less for a while. I’m not saying that this process has been easy, however. Because it is really hard if you are the only one on the “minimalist journey” in your house, community, or even in your group of friends.
What started out as going through my closet and removing bags of clothes that either didn’t fit or I didn’t like, turned into going through old memorabilia items that I hadn’t even looked at. Minimalism eventually helped my put my values into perspective and reminded me that I needed to value myself and my time. But again this isn’t easy.
I actually cleaned out my closet at night and i didn’t tell anyone because I knew that people would be unhappy with what I was doing. I threw out birthday cards people had given me because I wasn’t even looking at them. I stopped doing a lot of things because I was sacrificing my mental and physical health and I got judged for it.
Being different isn’t easy and living simply isn’t…simple. It’s actually really hard because it forces you to come to terms with whatever you have in your mind, heart and environment. And finding support around isn’t easy. That does not mean that we shouldn’t do something.
Sometimes it’s easy to give up something because of what others think about it. No one likes to be judged, myself included, but it happens no matter what you do. I still get judged a bit by my family, as The Minimalist’s say, “everything we do is steeped in irony.” Shopping trips are usually the worst because why would I buy something if I’m a minimalist? Because I think that thing is going to be of value or necessary. There’s always the lack of control that you have when you share a space with someone, or multiple people. I would like counters to be cleaned but that also requires the cabinets to be reviewed. But that’s not the reality
And no matter what, you also cant change the perceptions of the people around you. In my minimalist journey, I can only control what I do and not what others do. That means I can’t change the habits and the way that others show affection for me even if that means they are giving me gifts or trinkets that I don’t necessarily need. All of this makes it a bit harder to keep up with being a minimalist.
Still Choosing to Be a Minimalist
Everyday we choose to be something or someone, whether it be intentional or not. Everyday I choose to be a student, mainly because I have to since I am in college. Sometimes I choose to be mindful and I really get into yoga, meditation, and journaling. But everyday I choose to be a minimalist. Does that mean that I want to have little to nothing? No. It means whatever the hell you want it to mean (favorite moment from Seinfeld) and to me it is a part of the intentional lifestyle I want.
So despite my family and the people around me not understanding why I am choosing t have less or do less of what others want, I am perfectly happy. I set up a whole document where I word vomit why minimalism looks so good. And at the end of the day, I know I want to travel and the less I have, the less I have to worry abroad. I also really like clean spaces, which by the way aesthetics is a great motivation to cleaning stuff up.
But i also know that I like to have the things that I need with me, which does make me look a bit crazy. in the end, being clear of what your “why” is for anything you want to pursue is incredibly important. It serves as a lighthouse when you are lost and ready to give up. It’s a reminder that what you want is not all that far away.