I’ve long heard the term “minimalism” but never really put much of any thoughts into that until recently. In November 2020, I found myself more stressed than I’ve ever been. My home office was cluttered with everything from boxes, things collected over the years, sentimental stuff complete with a cluttered desk full of papers and bills. I was at a point where I couldn’t focus and concentrate and it was affecting my mood.
Outside of that, I had also been dealing with a recent diagnosis update regarding my youngest daughter and I was struggling to make sense of it, you see she’s been sick for a long time with a rare neurodegenerative disease and it was progressing again.
There are a lot of things in our lives that can draw attention away from what is truly important. I remember thinking how can I have all of this (signalling to all my stuff) and still feel so sad, alone, burnt out and a general negative haze? “Was this as good as life could get?” I questioned myself. I was incredibly unhappy which under the circumstances, makes sense, right?! I researched some of the symptoms I felt at the time and came up with an answer that would guide me towards minimalism unbeknownst to me. The term was “Anticipatory Grief” which is defined as…
grief that occurs before death (or another great loss) in contrast to grief after death (conventional grief).
Source: verywell health
The way I rationalized it is that it is a type of grief that is like trying to hold on to someone or something while trying to let go. In January 2021, I happened across a Facebook post from a page called “Becoming Minimalist” which i would later found out is written by Joshua Becker. What I realized in his article that I read was that I found myself nodding my head and ultimately I had an Aha moment.
The reason why when I heard the term “Minimalism” in the past and couldn’t relate to it was that I never really never saw myself as a minimalist. I thought that minimalists lived in stark bare houses and were into the latest fads and that it was more of an interior design or architectural movement and not about a lifestyle choice. In reading Joshua’s article about how he found minimalism while cleaning and organizing his garage one Saturday I realized I was curious to see what benefits I could see in my own life.
I wanted less stress, less chaos, more time focused on what is most important in my life… How do I get there? What would my wife think? Would the kids be on onboard with paring down their stuff? I quickly realized that this could work. People choose minimalism for their own reasons which seldom come from the most obvious one “I have too much stuff!” and some of those themes are….
- Stress – People seeking minimalism as it relates to stress are typically those who want to streamline their lives in a way that is more stress free.
- Financial – These folks want to invite minimalism to promote healthier finances into their lives.
- Environmental – Some people are drawn to minimalism due to environmental concerns may see minimalism as a way to promote conscious of how we use our space, the food we purchase, clothes and items we buy to lower your carbon footprint.
- Clutter – aka the “I have too much stuff” people. If you’re asking yourself “Do I need 2 blenders in my kitchen?” minimalism is for you too.
I’m about 3 months in my journey of minimalism. It has begun to help me focus more effectively at work having a clean desk when I show up every morning, I feel less stress with my clutter because I have a plan on how to deal with it. However you choose to define minimalism I’ve learned there is no wrong way to start and the reasons why people become minimalists are as unique and individual as the person undertaking their journey.