Joshua Becker once wrote a blog piece about what minimalism is NOT, and I found myself nodding…yes…Yes…YEs…YES….YYYYYEEEEESSSSS! I began screaming “I’ll have what he’s having!!!!” (Okay. I didn’t really.) But, what he, Joshua Becker, is having is a joyful, peaceful life. Today, over a great cup of coffee, Dear Reader, I’ll discuss what I do and do not do that makes people think I’m not serious about this movement.
1) I am not an environmentalist. I know. I suck. I mean, I don’t litter, I try to be a good steward of the planet, but I’m not over the top (or even a little ‘under the top’). I recycle – sorta – but I’m certainly not zero waste. I’ve been known to throw away many-a-Lego in my day. Unlike when I lived in New England, southern Missouri does not make it easy at all to recycle so I admit – I’m a bit lazy. I also don’t build birdhouses out of milk jugs, reuse aluminum foil, or grow my own food. I do upcycle a few items and get creative when I can, but I don’t turn pallets into playgrounds, if that’s what you were expecting.
2) I am not poor. Why is it when I decline an invitation to pay $9 for a glass of wine with friends that it’s automatically assumed it is because I can’t afford it? First, anyone who knows me knows I can’t just have one glass of wine…so three glasses later + $18 + a 20% gratuity….all spent on the worst house wine EVER, I could have had a very decent bottle of chardonnay, curled up on my sofa watching Yellowstone in my pajamas. It’s choice, not desperation. Since the pandemic, I do eat more at home, but I play around with those fancy food subscription services – which let’s agree – are not really that inexpensive. The upside of those programs is less food waste – so really – I am spending less per month on food than pre-pandemic.
3) I don’t make things. I dabble in crafts, but I am not a crafter for crafting’s sake. Things I make are part of my desire to be creative and to serve a purpose, not out of necessity. For example, I like to paint furniture – which is part of my ‘upcycling’ – but I wouldn’t say I’m exceptionally ‘crafty.’ When I used to knit, it was really about keeping my hands busy, so I didn’t continue to eat Pringles late at night, but honestly I kinda like the feel of the hand -knitted wash cloths I made. I didn’t knit because I can’t afford to go to Wal-Mart to purchase washcloths – trust me – knitting is not an ‘inexpensive’ hobby. I don’t make my own soap, clothes, syrup, and regretfully…I don’t grow or can vegetables. And yes, you read that right…I still, occasionally, shop at Wal-Mart.
4) I don’t live in a shack…or a 120 square foot mobile ‘Tiny House” – Although…I do dream about one of those Tiny Houses next to the lake – as my SECOND home. I live in a house that costs less than I owe in student loans, and it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, new flooring, a garage, and a yard. In other words: More room than we probably need. It needs updating, but it is not falling apart. Everyone has their own space, which important for introverts.
5) I am not a world traveler. In fact, I’m afraid to fly over large bodies of water. But, I am planning a trip to Norway so I anticipate some Benedryl in my future. I am traveling more for pleasure than I did before, but I haven’t quit my day job to blog about the adventures of car camping and month long hiking trips on the PCT or AT.
6) I own more than 100 things. I have what I need. And still have a few items, if given a ‘life or death’ choice, with which I could part…but I haven’t felt the urge to spend a whole weekend counting my stuff and then posting the total number of possessions on the web. I do feel a sense of pride when I read a book or blog on how to ‘unclutter’ your life and know my life is pretty much uncluttered and I’ve just wasted time reading a book or blog about something I, most likely, could have written.
7) I am not self-employed. Who doesn’t dream of this? But, truly, I work for a great company, and I work from home, so it kind of evens out for me.
8) I own a car and have too many student loans to count. My day job and my city are not conducive to a ‘walk to work’ lifestyle. Also, public transportation is almost non-existent. I do not want the hassle of renting a car when a family emergency arises. Student loans…well…I was stupid. Now I pay the Piper. Yes, I want to be debt-free. I am not there yet. I will be.
9) I do not live on Ramon Noodles. Again, I wonder where “minimalism” and “poor” became interchangeable. In fact, I eat very well…demonstrated from my ‘plus size, curvy figure’.
10) I don’t expect everyone else to donate or sell all their personal belongings. I don’t. I think you still have more than you need…I think everyone does…but your path is your path, and my path is my path. I don’t preach….I share information.
Here’s a great new song by one of my favorite artists. I’m not sure how it relates to today’s blog except that we are all just choosing our own life path and we don’t really need to follow anyone else’s ‘rules’.