“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s official: Money won’t buy happiness & buying more and more stuff actually makes us crazy!
Our lives are crazy right now! The average American’s schedule is out of this world crazy. It is just so obvious to me that given the near absurd frenzy everyone is in on a daily basis, that something in life is missing. If you own every toy, every game, every book, more than 15 outfits for each of your kids and a packed garage and storage unit you might have a problem. Something is definitely missing in your life and you are trying to fill that void via buying.
Think about it. We accumulate stuff just to accumulate it. It is like an albatross around our necks. We are conditioned to acquire it … we are judged by what we have and how much we have and what type we have and how expensive what we have is. It doesn’t matter how big or how small our living space is, we fill it and it consumes our lives, cluttering every bit of our homes and our minds.
We are now consumed by collecting stuff and simultaneously decluttering that very stuff. I know people who have been de-cluttering for decades and they will never finish because no sooner is a 5’ space in their garage cleared, they fill it within hours!! They are seriously addicted to buying stuff and getting rid of stuff.
Today our friends pay to acquire stuff, pay to house stuff, even pay to store it in storage units when they run out of room for their stuff in their living space. This is insanity!
But I have good news. And Bad News.
Inspiration abounds. Regardless of how serious you want to take the decluttering thing there is a plethora of advice, suggestions and information. There are some great bloggers out there who blog about their victory over stuff and their victory over the need to collect stuff. You can find wistful blogs titled, 25 Ways To Declutter Your Home and “How I Got Rid of All My Kids Toys”.
But, none of this will really help you. You have to stop the cycle of buying. You must confront the real reason for your compulsive buying. Ask yourself, What is missing from my life? Why the heck do I feel such a need to buy stuff? Why am I letting stuff define me? These are truly liberating questions because when you get to the root of the problem, you ease the number one stressor in people’s lives today … money.
Apparently everyone is living paycheck to paycheck these days. Parents are stressed to the max bending over backwards to give their kids everything they can possibly dream of … except themselves and their time – they are too busy for that. In fact, they are so busy making a living to buy junior everything his heart ever dreamed of that they have forgotten to make a life.
Minimalism is the new rave, it’s the new, “We don’t watch TV” said with the haughtiness it’s meant to portray. I’m so sick of listening to people go on and on about how they don’t watch TV so all the other crap they allow their kids to do is justified. Sure we eat fast food 3 times per week, but we “don’t watch TV”. It’s all just so boring to me. What’s really exciting is FORCED minimalism!
Forced minimalism is when you move into an RV and can’t possibly bring even a fraction of all the stuff you thought you would die without. Forced minimalism is playing cards every evening before bed because you don’t have satellite and therefore really, truly don’t watch TV. Forced minimalism is wearing the same 7 outfits week after week because really, who cares? Forced minimalism is asking the question, and being dead serious, “What is Duck Dynasty”? It’s having no-where but church to wear nice clothes. It’s eating every meal together, it’s a slow-er life, it’s watching the sun set, the stars and moon rise and waking with the dawn of a new day.
True minimalism is having zero tolerance for shopping, traffic, crowds and noise. It’s having no need to keep track of a hectic family schedule. Our forced minimalism had the amazing side-effect of actually lessening our budget woes and bringing us closer as a family and closer to nature and all it’s raw and wild beauty.
This minimalism has spiraled out of control. It’s crept into corners of our lives that I never thought possible. For instance, I’m now a bonafide RAW foodie. I’m about 85% RAW and 15% junk food. Our meals are even minimalist in preparation but chock full of health and vitality. I could shock you with some of our minimalist ideology, it’s quite controversial, so maybe in another blog I’ll touch on it.
And before any smart-aleck says it, I’m going to beat you to the punch … minimalism doesn’t transcend into child-bearing … i don’t subscribe to less love. I think the world needs much more love and understanding. I think the world needs to cut the cord on material crap and have a re-birth of sorts into life, real interpersonal life.
While I’m late to the game, I’m raising children who will have much more appreciation for the immaterial, they will hopefully have less stress, more freedom, be more productive, and have time to show their love to the people in their lives!!