My Lifestyle is Not a Label
I have an aversion to extra stuff. I wasn’t always like this. I collected vintage boots to heal a broken heart and filled my car with enough stuff to refuse rides to friends. I hid behind things, until I couldn't find a single pair of matching socks.
The shift to less happened gradually. My compulsion to fill my life with sparkly trinkets from Target's impulse aisle faded.
Like many who turn to the trendy titles of minimalism, simplicity, or intentional living, my need for less grew out of an unhappiness with more. Reflecting on a closet of unworn sweaters and essay collections cramming my bookshelf, I realized, I no longer wanted things I didn't need.
Our world is crowded. Our country is running out of space for our collections of model airplanes, graphic tee shirts, and baseball bobble heads. I just want to live with less. I am not a minimalist. My lifestyle is not a label.
I am, by no means a minimalist. My lifestyle is not a label.
Some days, the idea of minimalism feels like a freeing game, the rush of decluttering reminiscent of all the highs I used to love—chocolate, Bulleit rye, vicodin. Other days, I wonder if minimalism is just another status, box to check, and goal to achieve to finally obtain optimal living.
Is the want for happiness driving us to fit our lives into any trend that promises betterment?
A lot of articles and podcasts talk about the struggles of living with less. People don't understand your aversion to consumerism. Sometimes the urge to resist buying is too great. It takes work to maintain the minimalist lifestyle. Nothing is easy.
By no means should cultivating my ideal lifestyle be easy, but it shouldn't be difficult either. Having less is easy. There is less I want, and less I need. It's just that simple. I love my near-daily ritual of ridding my life of things. Initially it gave me control. Some months I tossed three items a day, recently, I played the minimalist challenge. I no longer wander the aisles of Target imagining knickknacks in my home, but, if there's something I want, a "simplified lifestyle" won't prevent me from getting it.
Which leads me to wonder--is minimalism serving as another crutch, a band-aid to ease compulsion, addiction, and general dissatisfaction with life? Is there a root cause we're ignoring to heal?
Does intentionally living need to be "difficult?"
I worry that people think owning less will solve their problems, but come at a cost of difficulty. As if the things that are good for us must all be hard.
Maybe I'm a robot, my ability to distinguish between those things I might enjoy owning and those things I want in my life, doesn't come with internal monologues fraught with uncertainty.
At any moment the epiphany will strike “I never liked this underwear anyway,” as I sling-shot a thong into my waste bin.
So I say, the shoe either fits or it doesn't, but you should make sure you actually like wearing it.
Do you think minimalism and simplicity are trends? Do you struggle, wanting to conform, or struggle with your things? Tell me about it in the comments!