Why I’m slowly becoming minimalist, one step at a time.
I’ve always been a waster. I would waste money on stuff I didn’t need, waste time on things that didn’t matter. My life was cluttered, crammed full of possessions and side projects because I thought that’s what life was about. I thought that my growing accumulation was proof that I was alive.
Then something happened.
Earlier this year, I took stock of all this stuff that I’d been collecting and I began to realize that a great deal of it didn’t matter to me. It held no value. I’d spent all of my life hoarding every single thing I possibly could, and I ended up losing focus on what truly mattered to me. I used to crave each and every iPhone that came out. I’d spend my money on gadgets that I didn’t even use. I’d create numerous personal projects and lose interest within weeks.
I started to think about why I was doing all of this and I couldn’t provide an answer that made sense. I realized that I’d been conditioned all my life to constantly want more. As a young child, I was an avid consumer of TV, movies, and books and that consumption had spread like wildfire to other areas of my life, nudged along by the incessant babble of advertising.
We grow up believing that success is synonymous with owning as much as possible. You need more money. You need flashy cars and gargantuan mansions. You need to eat out all the time, have the latest gadgets, and go on holidays. This approach tells you that life is one big party and you should do it all. To excess!
But of course, you’re never told about the things that truly matter. Having a loving family around you, enjoying the company of your best friends and finding a partner you want to spend the rest of your life with. Working a job you enjoy and doing hobbies you’re passionate about. All of these are the real essentials.
I’ve come to realize that a lot of the things we’re led to believe is important is just filler content, distracting us from what we should be paying attention to; ourselves and others first and foremost. But change is hard, and despite having the intention to live more minimally, it means reprogramming a lot of bad habits and changing the way I think—it’s not easy.
So when I call myself ‘A Reluctant Minimalist’, I think I’m essentially embodying what a lot of rookie minimalists are thinking. This is going to be hard, it might hurt a bit, and I’m not sure if I should even be doing it. I think the best way to overcome those barriers is to take baby steps. It doesn’t have to be a mammoth overnight change. I am not going to wake up tomorrow morning and throw away 90% of my possessions. Instead, I’ll steadily work at it, like a sculptor chipping away bits of marble.
And then, maybe one day, I’ll stop being a reluctant minimalist, and become a willing one.