“I believe in minimalism…”.
That’s what I texted my brother after attending The Minimalists’ “Everything That Remains” Tour at Shelf Life Books in Calgary. Belief is a strong word and almost gives ‘minimalism’ its own dogma. In some ways, I think it’s a truth that results in a happier and more peaceful state of being.
Minimalism is all about getting rid of the physical stuff that does not add value to one’s life.
It’s a lifestyle that clears the clutter, leaving room for health, relationships, and passions.
It leads to a more simple life.
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of the website the theminimalists.com talked about their transformation from 6-figure corporate monkeys to the minimalist lifestyle they live today. They read from their new book, “Everything That Remains”, emphasizing that once the stuff goes, there’s time for everything else that remains: hobbies, passions, loved ones, health and fitness, personal growth and community. It’s not just about giving away or getting rid of the things… it’s about feeling the benefits: The mental decluttering. The happiness. The time. The people. One thing Joshua said that stuck: “Love people, and Use things. ‘Cause the other way around never works.”
Minimalism is not always an easy approach in our consumerist world where larger and larger houses are manufactured in the suburbs and modern condos are just waiting for retail therapy to fill that real estate. Or how about when new cars and gadgets must be accumulated because they’re new? In the affluent city of Calgary, there seems to be a feeling that money flows, and with that flow comes accumulation of more and more stuff. What would happen if the pursuit for this stuff stopped? Then what would occupy the time, or the mental space?
And not everyone will understand the desire to become a minimalist. They’ll want to give gifts, or they’ll think you’re ‘going through something’. A good approach? Ask, “You want to be happy right?”. Of course the answer is yes. Then say, “I would like that for myself as well, and this is something I feel will make me happy.”. Not everyone will be on board, but it’s important to surround yourself with people who will support you on your journey. I think it’s in the book, but Joshua mentioned an awesome quote: “You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.”
Needless to say, I’ve been on board with this minimalist philosophy for quite some time, and in many ways I have found it therapeutic. Was it difficult to part with my old Beyoncé calendar? Absolutely!… and truth be told, it opened up the door for a new, OFFICIAL Beyoncé calendar. But clothes that I didn’t use; kitchen appliances that collected dust; mementos of which I also had photos… was it good to get rid of those items? Most definitely. It was amazing to attend The Minimalists’ tour today and, surprisingly, encounter a packed room! Literally, all seats were taken and the aisles were completely filled. Although I didn’t converse with anyone, I felt a sense of community. For the last year as I’ve been getting rid of my stuff, I’ve felt kind of alone on this path. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one out there on this journey.