A reflection by Navina Anand
Sometimes the media that we consume is because ‘that state’ is aspirational for us. Stereotypically, men like to watch action movies, women like to watch romantic chick flicks with happy endings; some of us watch productivity hacks on YouTube while others watch cookery shows. Along those lines, I find myself being drawn to minimalist’s videos these days. Being nowhere remotely close to being a minimalist and having acquired a considerable amount of crap in my life, I find it fascinating to watch people who are able to pare down their lives to the essentials. In that voyeuristic quest, I found Joshua Becker’s channel of ‘Becoming Minimalist’. He also has a blog https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ where he writes inspiring blogs on adopting a simplified lifestyle. After watching these videos, I have learnt a few things.
As humans we intrinsically hoard stuff for the future. We are always threatened by the possibility of scarcity. We tend to save and store things either because we believe we will use them ‘someday’ or because we spent good money buying it and we feel better keeping it somewhere in the house rather than throwing it even if we are not using it. We prefer to at least store it in the loft or in some storage facility so that we don’t feel guilty that we spent our hard-earned money on it. But the reality is that the money that was spent, is gone.
The problem with most of the possessions we hoard is that we need to spend resources maintaining them. We spend money on vacation homes that we use once a year, or a greater number of vehicles than we really use or houses that are too large for the number of people who live in them. We invest our energy and time in too much jewelry, too many clothes, too much STUFF and then spend the time that we are not spending buying said ‘stuff’ , running ragged trying to maintain these possessions. Every single possession we own is a drain on our time, effort, money, and resources and yet, since they are inanimate we don’t usually look at them that way. As a result, the planet is overburdened with worthless crap that is threatening to ‘do in’ the entire humanity because of wasteful living that has drained not just our personal resources, but the earth’s resources as well. This is the crux of minimalism.
Of course, understanding the idea and internalizing it are two different stories. Like I said, I find this aspirational. While ‘Minimalism’ can be a daunting word, there really are no rules about being ‘The perfect minimalist’. It is my hope that after consuming this material over a period of time, I would at least become this person who pauses before buying something new or accumulating more of the same thing and instead become a person who considers options that will not be a drain on my limited energies. What Minimalism ultimately translates into is this : ‘How do you want to spend the limited hours of your life’. It is essentially about intentional living.