You can’t take it with you, that’s what they say. Not where we’re going, and we are all going the same place. But, some of us will arrive with a little extra. Some of us will be carrying everything that we have picked up along the way throughout this life. They say if you are a Minimalist you don’t pick up things, you put them down. Not me. I pick up every single thing that I can carry.
I used to like things, and maybe you did too. But if you are reading this, then you have fallen out of love with things. Perhaps they don’t make you feel the way they once did. Maybe like me, you realized those things were holding you hostage. You have awoken to realize that you are a prisoner to inanimate objects. Objects that aren’t even alive. Shameful, and worse, these things determine how we spend not some, but almost all of our time. But that was the past.
When we think about our transformation into Minimalism, we can frame the relationship like that of an imprisoned person. If you or I were prisoners, locked up, we would have almost no possessions. But does that mean that prisoners don’t live? They breathe and live and die just like you or I. Does their existence stop because they can not fill their lives with useless objects? Or, do their circumstances jolt them into living a more organic life than you or I.
How much can be carried? How much can you physically put on your back and take it with you? Not much, we are not mules. It would be very uncomfortable to be saddled with all of your belongings, though the metaphorical weight would be fitting. We face physical limitations to what we can carry. How much then, I wonder, can we carry mentally instead?
When filled with the pain of desire, and want, and inadequacy our interior space feels cramped, so small and so crowded. But what is our capacity to carry knowledge, proficiency, creativity, wisdom? Seemingly endless. The best computer on the market today is no comparison to the impressive capabilities of the human brain. Watson, the famous supercomputers aim and objective is to be like us. It seeks to mimic what we are, but cannot fully use. Humans can carry a lot of information. Unfortunately, we can block out equally as much useful information.
A prisoner stores treasures in their mind. We are prisoners inside an unapologetically capitalistic and consumer-based society. Our interior, like that of a prisoner, is the only safe place that we have. We have been led to neglect what lies inside of us, because of our pursuit for the valueless things outside ourselves. Of course, there are items that we need. We can not live entirely inside of ourselves. A moments study of Maslow’s Hierarchy will highlight something important. Reaching the top of the pyramid once you’ve met basic needs, mainly is related to our mental capacity, not silly physical tools or luxuries. Trix are for kids.
Education, fitness, spirituality, and nutrition. These are the gifts we develop to live Modestly. These can never be taken away from us, even if we are prisoners. To a practicing Minimalist, these are the most critical areas of our life. These are the areas worth spending the time to build and develop. Once we begin development in these areas, the growth never stops. We will start to attract like-minded people who want to spend their time the same way that we do. The relationships that we do have will become more powerful. No longer will we want to be around people who don’t have a similar agenda. Time is not precious to us because of some cliche. It is indeed the most valuable asset that we possess. We don’t waste money, but more importantly, WE DONT WASTE TIME!
Education, spiritually, fitness, and nutrition, all of these areas grow upon themselves. They all create a foundation to build on. Knowledge and proficiency increase over time in all of the areas mentioned. Compare this to the transient nature of the objects that we buy. If we buy a new house, or car, or clothes, they all eventually must be maintained or replaced. Maintenance will cost us money, and a replacement will cost even more. Education, spirituality, nutrition, and fitness. All of these are more or less free, but we all have to pay for food. These are also the areas of our life that begin to create our organic identity. Yes, who we really are, not the identity we are being sold. When I know for example that fitness and health are two of the most important and valuable areas of my life, that is going to affect my daily choices. Exercise will become more important, what we ingest will be increasingly important, and how we use our time will be more apparent.
Today I call myself a Minimalist. A Minimalist who is striving to live Modest-ly. I hope that by reading my posts, you are beginning to see that what I call living Modestly is much more than just Minimalism. Minimalism is the front door to a philosophy, a lifestyle, a way of thought, a new culture, a movement. The world around us is dying, and if we continue to value “things” too much, we will die with it. Our hope for the future lies in understanding this simple truth. Humanity is destined to be more than the objects we manufacture.
Live modestly, and live your best life. – A.C.