photo by Grant Libramento of his kids from inside his VW Bus. My husband is the blonde kid in front.
I’m 54 and my daughter is 26 and has a 7 month old and we were talking about minimalism.
I have always been interested in minimalism, before it was named, and have paid attention to various expressions of living consciously and mindfully. So, having raised her, my daughter and I share some of the same sensibilities when it comes to our lifestyle choices.
I was expressing how easy it was for me – at this point in my life – to make some more aggressive moves toward living with less. She countered with how she was going to have to make more room for storage so that she could keep the items that the baby was outgrowing just in case they have a 2nd child. My daughter is not a hoarder, she’s frugal.
This trendy idea of minimalism comes easy to me at this stage of my life: post empty nest, pre-retirement. It’s just my husband and me and we have a freedom that we didn’t have when we were so involved with our careers and children. It’s not a radical choice, it’s just what happens at this point in life.
I worked on living with less years before. Partly because we had nothing and partly because I wanted to live mindfully. But there were pressures that kept me from being able to just throw everything out, live out of a van and post photos of the Rockies on my Instagram. (One, we didn’t have Instagram and two, it still takes money to live in a van and gofundme wasn’t a thing yet.) And if I did choose to do that, it wouldn’t have been called minimalism, wouldn’t have been cool, it would have been called hippie.
But today, this swing away from materialism toward mindfulness is a good thing but we have to allow people time. We have to allow the process of education to practice to lifestyle to happen. People have to take it in their own time, in their own way.
We have to make room for all the different expressions of it. Because it’s not about counting how many items you own and comparing yourself with a minimalist you admire. It’s not about keeping score, or putting yourself under some sort of pressure to meet some rules set up by who knows.
It’s about getting your priorities in order.
It’s about focusing on what’s important to you.
It’s about being intentional about where your time and money goes.
It’s about not letting possessions own you.
It’s about not letting society tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, own or value- so, if you let the so-called rules of minimalism control you then you’re just trading one cultural pressure for another.
So, if you’re a stay at home mom and are living with less money so you can spend time doing what you love – pouring into your child – what makes you any different than the guy that gave up his corporate job to travel the world? Nothing. So, fill up your Instagram feed with pics of your kids and you at the playground, at the dinner table, playing in the living room floor! That’s your adventure!!
So, the bottom line is there are no hard and fast rules – there’s only how you choose to live mindfully and intentionally and how you choose to live with less so you can be free to do what you love and by doing so love others.
Let’s not be judgy.