Minimalists – Thoughts

Over the weekend we went to Rehobeth Beach with a friend who has a house there. We decided to watch the Minimalists documentary. It’s about downsizing and owning less and buying less “stuff” to simplify your life and make you happier.

We had a discussion afterward and here were my thoughts:

  • The need to buy stuff I believe goes back to our caveman days when we used to hunt. We no longer hunt as a species since we go to work and come home. We no longer need to hunt or gather our food. Buying “stuff” and getting deals I think fuels that need that we still have to hunt… a need that’s built into us.
  • Games like Pokemon Go may help with this need to hunt. Instead of hunting out good deals and obtaining “stuff”, we can hunt Pokemon through the game.
  • Technology reduces our need for “stuff.” Look at e-readers and Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, etc. We have no need for a library full of books or a shelf full of DVDs. Our books, movies, and music are on our mobile devices and can be played anytime.

For years now I’ve felt like I have too much “stuff.” My Uncle George says the word “stuff” all the time referring to things we don’t need but we have anyway.

The documentary was good and worth a watch. However I think they missed the entire point. They identified the problem of not being happy and having “stuff” that makes you temporarily happy. Then that feeling goes away and items that used to make you happy no longer do their job.

The documentary goes through several people and their stories of how they minimized their lives by living in smaller spaces and letting go of a lot of their belongings… thus making their lives happier.

The problem with these stories is that they’ve all had a life changing event… they retired or chose to do something else. Most of these people quit their jobs, became minimalists, and wrote books about their minimalist lives. Notice anything? They quit their 40+ hour a week jobs to do something else.

They never mentioned the core issue here which is that unhappiness can come from us working way too much. They mentioned climbing the corporate ladder. When they stopped climbing and when they downsized and was able to have money to do what they really wanted to do, they were happier.

I’m pretty happy in my life but I know I could be a lot more happy if I were to quit my job or go part time. I’m looking forward to being “quazi-retired” and working part time so I’d have more time.

It’s a very well known fact that us Americans do not get enough time off. Every other industrialized country on Earth gets like 6 weeks paid vacation a year. What do they do? They go on trips. Since us Americans do not get time off, we buy stuff with our access money. Possessions to us Americans are the vacations to those in other countries.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Here’s some stuff I can alleviate from my life to live more simple:

  • Do that 333 thing. 33 items of clothing for 3 months. Get rid of some of my hats and clothes I don’t wear.
  • Get rid of the two TVs we don’t use. I have this old RCA TV from when I was a kid. It still works but I don’t use it.
  • Get rid of a lot of my dad’s stuff that I kept. It just sits around. Someone else might get more use out of it than me. It doesn’t bring me joy; it’s just “stuff.”

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