During this quarantine, I wanted to make sure that I was utilizing the extra time I was given and indulge in activities that would enrich me as a person. One of those activities has been researching sustainability and blogging about various topics I feel should be shared. Sustainability is such an umbrella term for many different activities and lifestyles- it can be overwhelming when you start to peel back the surface and dive deeper. I feel like there is so much more to life than owning a big house, working at a corporate desk job, and just paying bills.. That’s when I discovered minimalism, and I can’t help but relate the two.
I just recently watched the documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix and learned about the minimalist lifestyle. Immediately, I thought of people who could fit all their worldly possessions into a small suitcase, owned 5 shirts, and lived in a tiny house or hopped from place to place traveling the world. My initial thoughts were not entirely correct, but there are people featured in the film like that (kudos to you!). I think it’s like when people think of sustainability they immediately think of being “green” and reducing our environmental impact through energy, emissions, and water. This is a piece of sustainability but there is so much more to it. I am finding that is also the case with minimalism.
In the documentary, Josh and Ryan discuss what minimalism is, why they chose to adopt this lifestyle, and how they did it. They define minimalism as, “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom.” Freedom.. Isn’t that what the American dream was originally about? Freedom to make your own choices and live a life full of opportunities? If we are living the life society tells us to, then why do we need to find freedom? Shouldn’t we already have it?
Then I started to think about my life, and the choices I have made. Did I make them because they would make me happy or is that what society said was the next step? When did the American dream turn into white picket fences, giant houses with three car garages, and always wanting the next best thing? Why are we willing to work extra and spend less time with our families just to have this stuff? Why can’t we just be satisfied with what we have?
The documentary discussed the topic of “stuff” and how our society has become materialistic in the sense that we value material possessions but not really.. How can we value what we always are looking to replace? Do these items bring you happiness or are you just buying them because of everyone else? It causes this constant cycle of never being fully satisfied and a feeling of unhappiness. We have all this stuff.. Shouldn’t we be happy?
That’s where Minimalism comes into play. It isn’t about how “stuff” you can get rid of but more so it is about making sure the “stuff” in your life is valuable and brings you happiness. It reminded me of Marie Kondo’s method of organization, “Does it spark joy? If not, get rid of it.” I started thinking about all the stuff that we have accumulated in our house with just the two of us living here for the past three years. I guarantee you majority of these items do not bring me joy, and I have room for improvement in this space.
This documentary just really got me thinking- am I truly happy? Do I really want to own a 3 bedroom house, a car, and work at my desk job? What is my ideal work environment and how do I really want to live my life? Is it in Ohio? Probably not. When I think about it now, my ideal lifestyle would be living in a warmer state with a non-desk job for a company whose business mission is to spread the awareness of sustainability. I would have plenty of time to spend traveling with my family and see the world. Sounds like everyone’s dream right now, huh?
I highly recommend this documentary if you have the time. And if you don’t have the time, then make the time 🙂 Please share your thoughts below!