“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labours of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale
The quote above couldn’t ring true anymore as I write this post.
I’ve always had some fascination with minimalism, and with minimalism you’ll find different interpretations. Minimalist interior design, advertising and graphic design, architecture, and fashion design.
If you look at minimalist interior design, you’ll see a lot of white and not much else. But minimalism isn’t about having nothing, it may be for those “extremists” but for most people it’s about having enough, not less. Valuing the things you have, rather than things that are of value. Make sense? Good.
I don’t call myself a minimalist yet, maybe “practising minimalist”. I have a lot to learn and still a long way to go. In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt plays a character who says a line ‘it’s a process, it’s a process, it’s a process”, and that to me is what minimalism is. It’s not something that will happen overnight. To me, minimalism is about valuing the things you have, and “reducing the needless wants of life”.
“Being” a minimalist became more of forethought during 2016 when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, called Fibromyalgia (call this a “coming out” party for a raging illness). While I’d already begun on my journey to having less, it fell into place more with a life changing diagnosis. Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness of widespread muscle and joint pain, accompanied with fatigue, cognitive disturbance and responses to emotions. This is the pain pathways in the brain saying “everything hurts”, it’s also a lengthy diagnosis and not found by a simple blood test, or X-ray.
During the time it took for a diagnosis (approx. 2 years), I continued that process of minimising. I culled my wardrobe, books, kitchen utensils, and in my cupboard. Seriously, why do I need 25 coffee cups?
As I’ve slowly got myself to a stage where I don’t have a lot of possessions (I’m not an extremist though). I find I make less mess, I spend less time cleaning. I spend less time doing those time-consuming chores when we all want to be reading a book and having a cup of coffee. Things are organised, I can find what I’m looking for, and I don’t lose things either.
Everything I now have, I value. I still have the same creature comforts as any house will have. But what do you do with all that excess stuff though? Recycle, donate, give it away, sell it. Use the money and take yourself on a holiday!
Dedicate some time now to it, and you’ll have more time do doing things you want to do rather than need or must do. For me, this expends an already limited energy supply. So, if I spend less time cleaning and doing all those chores, I won’t need to worry about them so much when I have a flare-up with my illness.
Have you ever noticed when your house is clean and tidy, your mind is at ease? You’re not distracted by anything you need to do. Like the vacuuming or the dishes, washing the clothes or seeing the light hit the dust on a shelf.
You’ll find your headspace is well improved and you’ll be more productive.
Minimalism, give it a try. You might just like it.