I had the great pleasure of chatting with Genevieve Parker Hill, author of Minimalistic Life about what it meant to her to be a minimalist, why she has spent so much of her time writing about and living minimalism and how it's impacted her life. Click here if you'd like to hear the podcast interview.
For this Minimalistic Monday I wanted to touch on one of the take away points from the chat: minimalism = joy. Ten years ago Genevieve and her family lost all of their worldy possessions in a fire and even in the midst of this disaster they were happy. Happy that everything that mattered survived. They escaped with their lives and without injury. Even their dog made it out ok! While they surveyed the remains of EVERYTHING they owned still steeping in piles of ash they realized that it wasn't important, it was just stuff. This realization and restart gave them joy. Genevieve, a then college student, had absolutely nothing and yet she was happy.
I'm sure you've heard the old adage less is more. There is a reason it's used so much, it's true. The less stuff you have the less you have to manage, maintain, store, organize, and worry about. No more errands to fix the countless gadgets that break, winterize countless motors and toys. With less comes less responsibility and more financial freedom. Both of these shifts are welcome changes in my book.
I've heard people tell me they'd love to travel more, live abroad, or roam the world like I do but they have a mortgage, car payment, credit card debt, and creature comforts that their sure to miss. Debt is a huge hinderance to joy and one that minimalism can help deal with, but that is for another entry. People, and more specifically Americans, are perpetual consumers addicted to that high you get when opening an new product. On the flip-side, the lows you experience are manyfold. First, the high usually only lasts minutes. Second, you now have to find a place to store this new item. Lastly, you will likely be paying for it on your credit card for months, long after you have lost interest for it. Unfortunately for you, the bank hasn't lost any interest, in fact they are winning in this consumer driven world. You are left dissatisfied, stressed out, with less breathing space in your home, and are a slave to the bank. So yes, when I add up all of the factors in my personal journey I end up with: Less = More and Minimalism = Joy.
P.S. This is a constant battle. Sometimes I do better and other days I succumb to unnecessary consumption. It really helps for me when I live in a country that Amazon doesn't ship to. Hee hee.