It's been a few months since I've watched this documentary and, from the get-go , it was impossible not to relate to the overarching message "The Minimalists" — the two men that are the centre of this documentary — had to share. They present a different way of living: happier and more meaningful, not so attached to physical possessions, that gives us the freedom to explore more things in life, like being a world nomad, living in a tiny house or simply enjoying the simple things and not let the pressure of a materialistic society rule our needs and wants.
I purposely let my thoughts sink in for a while, after watching this. I wanted to give myself some more time to think because, a few minutes in, I realized that I’ve been living my own version of the minimalism, without really thinking about it that much.
This kind of moment always feels very special. When I can put into words some abstract concept that I've been familiar with, but haven't actually been able to articulate in a simple and concise way.
For almost five years now, I’ve been living a leaner, low-key lifestyle, trying to focus on what’s really important to me and the people around me, freeing myself from what’s superfluous.
Having lived in different countries forced me — in a positive way — to fit all of my belongings in 2 huge 100L travel bags. Instead of feeling limited by this fact, there’s a feeling of flexibility and adventurous spirit that comes with it. A feeling that you’re open to new adventures and nothing is holding you back; a sense of empowerment.
The action of removing the unnecessary clutter in your life makes you the captain of your own ship, sailing in the direction that YOU decide to go. And this, in my opinion, is one of the greatest gifts you can allow yourself to have and experience.
We can experience our own flavour of minimalism, that's the beauty of it.
One of my techniques, that gradually became an habit, is to think about the level of utility of anything that I buy. At first, it might look like you're limiting yourself, but I interpret it as an optimization. The shift from immediate need to daily utility, because it truly breaks my heart to see something around the house that has only been used once or twice.
The same way we usually take extreme care about what we eat in order to have a healthy, balanced diet, we should also pick carefully everything that we choose to be part of our natural environment: be it your room in our parents house or shared apartment, your desk space at the office and, ultimately, your home.
The environments you create are very much like the blueprint of how you navigate your life.
At the end of the day, you want to experience and navigate your life in an optimal, practical and flexible way, so you can free yourself to do what you feel is more important which, ultimately, will make you feel happier, accomplished and healthy.
But again, I believe we should embrace our own flavour of minimalism. Or even not to embrace it at all, if we don't feel like it. We all come from different paths, have different aspirations and should embrace ways of living such that we feel comfortable in our own skin.
For instance, even though I enjoy cooking very much, I realized that I only needed one pan. Another good example is furniture. Having "flexible" furniture allows me to create different areas with fewer items and, that gives me the freedom to easily rearrange them and use them for different purposes. The kitchen table is also a dinning room table and a desk.
I'd have to have 3 different rooms in order to have 3 different spaces, but then, each of them would only have a single purpose.
This mindset also forces you to be more creative and take the challenge of doing more with less. And personally, I love a good challenge!
Thanks for reading!