Why You Should Give A Shit About Minimalism
Today I happened upon this video on YouTube,'The trap of materialism'
Its message comes from an ethical standpoint surrounding why materialism is bad on so many levels; bad for all of us and this planet. From the history of capitalism, and its seemingly unstoppable power, to the hippy retaliation of the 1960's, right to the 9/11 terrorist attack.
It is a scary commentary on the world we live-in but it does offer positive solutions that we can all be part of.
Up to now much of my writing on minimalism has been subtle and instructional, but I am about to get a bit more deep and personal...
We write about our travels here on nomaderhowfar.com, because our lives are about travel right now, but we could not have gotten here, without first changing our mindset away from spending our money. To list the most basic benefits of minimalism, available to everyone, I would say that minimalism saves you money, time, stress and gives you back control over your own fulfilment and happiness. Money takes on new meaning because it isn't for satisfying impulse spending urges but its for saving up to reach some bigger goal. It serves a more healthy purpose, and you are no longer giving your valuable time away in the pursuit of a consumerist buzz. Nor are you contributing to the acres of landfill taking over our planet.
Minimalism has seen a rise in popularity among many people in recent years, with numerous books, blog posts and video series based on how to live a simpler life. Alongside this has been the continued promotion of materialism to the younger generation within the blogging and YouTube sphere, through a new type of celebrity, the 'vlogger' and blogger, who share not just their everyday life, but most prominently, what's in their shopping bags. The minimalist counter-movement really resonates with Taran and I. We have both suffered the same disillusionment with the status quo, a dissatisfaction with being ensnared in the materialism trap. 3 years ago, I worked in a job I hated and my only reward seemed to be shopping; I was really quite unhappy with life, but buying things seemed like the only pass-time that might make me feel better.
Like what you're reading so far?
Then be an awesome person and join the email gang!
And when on occasion I couldn't buy the things which made me feel that i was fitting in, I felt isolated.
But I didn't realize the linkage between the way things are within modern society, and the way I felt.
I simply put my feelings down to hating my job and feeling a bit alone. This was a time where my life was just not that exciting, put simply. I was working all hours in a terrible job, earning crap money, which I then spent on, well, crap. What do I and many of my peers have to thank for this status quo and the resultant negative impact on our mental health, well, that would be capitalism...
I won't paraphrase the entire film. watch it here.
The general gist of the documentary relates to how capitalism developed into something all-encompassing and endlessly powerful; and now has damaging implications for the future of this very planet. Big business has honed its ability to cultivate a culture of desire and envy, via the rise of advertising agency's and their use of our own human psychology against us, in order to get our money.
Some part in both Taran and I, has always struggled with society and its expectations. I might not have been able to label why but I knew on some level that my life would not be as fulfilling and authentically happy if I didn't step out of the 9-to-5 consumerist ring. Taran, since I've known him, has never been materialistic in any way. He has probably not bought a single item of clothing, even when he might have needed to. He really just does not care about fashion or buying new shiny things. He is so in-tune with just embracing what he has, making the best of his things and loving them in a way that the materialistic world doesn't want to you love your things. It wants you to consume more, all the time, and it does not care what the social, environmental and emotional impact is.
And that is why you should give a shit about minimalism. Because minimalism gives a shit about you in a way that materialism intrinsically cannot and never will.
You aren't a kid in school any-more, where being a fashion-conscious consumer was ingrained further into your psyche through bullying and peer pressure. You have the emotional maturity to change things, not worrying about what others think of your 'hippy' ways. You can dismiss the idea of the jones's and the competitiveness of trying to keep up with them. In minimalist thinking, your home is a sanctuary, not a closet, and your hobbies should bring you peace and deep happiness, not superficial short-lived buzzes.
Your whole life course is altered when you embrace minimalism.
If you have less need for stuff, you have less need for the money to buy it. And if you are someone who despises your career or wants to leave behind the 9-to-5, adopting minimalism can help. Some of us are always wondering what our actual passion is, what we should be doing instead of what we are, and we basically stumble on in a sense of constant disenchantment....well I certainly did and I know many people in the same position. And I also know how much minimalist thinking can help. It is so much more than de-cluttering your house or putting a spending ban on yourself. It is a retraining of your thought processes.
For many years you might have become addicted to the short-lived buzz that shopping gives you and so in a way, you are trying to cure an addiction. You are taking on a challenge that sees you give a big middle-finger to much of the rest of society who will frown at you and misunderstand your approach, in a way that might alienate you. But they soon might follow. People simply need to see that there is another way to be happy, and it is sometimes the only way to find it on a deeper level, separated from the stress of money.
Minimalism is not a religion, nor a rigid set of judgemental rules. There is no minimalist heaven, there is just the present, one that you can change, and a future that you can guide.
By the way,before you leave, the original popular series, The Minimalist Life Cleanse has been re-purposed and expanded on, and now comes in the book below, available NOW.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah here, one half of NomaderHowFar. I love reading, the beach, proper fish and chips, and a good cup of tea. But I mostly like to chat about minimalism, simplifying your life, the beauty of travel and sometimes I get a bit deep. Get to know us here!