Minimalism is often a topic that the masses shy away from. They may think that people who surrender a materialistic lifestyle for one that focuses on simplicity are loons or wannabe hippies. While there are some people who go to extremes, many minimalists just simply want to be free. Let's go down my journey of minimalism, and why I believe you can achieve success, by ridding your life of the excess. (Don't worry you can keep your toothbrush)
Materialism used to be a foreign concept to me. Growing up I never had a lavish lifestyle, my clothes weren't designer brand, and my stuff wasn't “top of the line" in terms of quality. That didn't matter though. As long as clothes were on my back and shoes on my feet I could care less if they were from Walmart or Gucci. Then, I left for College. While working and going to school I started to realize I could buy within reason whatever I wanted, and as much as I wanted. When I got my first refund check at the beginning of my freshman year it was almost 2,000 dollars. I thought I was a king, I had never seen that much money before in my life. So what is one to do? Well, why not buy 400 dollars worth of clothes at Academy and go on a '90s music accompanied montage of spending sprees until the entire amount was used up? Oh, boy was I dumb. So as I sat on my pile of stuff, thinking that I was on top of the world I realized what I was actually doing. See, I was sad, and that pile of stuff is what I was using to keep me afloat. That's when Jesus came into my life like a wrecking ball. He brought me out of the sadness, and out of the water. It is then that I started to learn about minimalism.
Jesus lived a very simplistic lifestyle. He never kept many possessions, if any at all. He cared more about people, about giving to people. Jesus cared outwardly before looking inwardly. That's what minimalism is to me. It's about using the money that once was used to buy materialistic things, and using it to benefit others. There's a certain kind of freedom in this lifestyle. When you stop caring about getting the latest iPhone or fitting in with the newest trend, you realize who you actually are. For maybe the first time, you start figuring out what makes you happy. See the coolest thing about minimalism is that it is adaptable. It is what you want it to be because it's about keeping what brings you joy, while also getting rid of the stuff that doesn't. For some, joy could mean buying new clothes, and for others, coo-coo clocks. So as a minimalist I would say, Go for It! Get as many clothes as you want, and annoy the neighbors as much as you can with your coo-coo clocks! Let's chase the things that make us happy, but let's also clean out the stuff that doesn't. Why keep three egg makers when you know no normal human eats that many eggs? Let's clean out that nick nack drawer and make room to file that dusty paper stack that's been on the kitchen table for months. Minimalism is a lifestyle to bring forth more joy. It cleans out the junk that you see around you and makes this hard world a little more enjoyable.
After living out this idea for almost two years now I started to realize something peculiar. Minimalism didn't only make my life less cluttered, it made my mind less cluttered as well. Thoughts about being accepted, or being able to fit in, started to leave too. It is as if ridding the junk in my life also started ridding the junk in my mind. Being someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, this worked almost like a therapy to fight the negative thoughts that berated me. Instead of holding onto thoughts like, "You should be sad". I learned to swoop those pesky things into the garbage like that sock I've had hidden in my drawer with no match for six years. Minimalism can be more than just a healthy habit. It can radically change your lifestyle and seep into your mind. Sometimes it just takes a little release to find your peace.