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I want to be a Minimalist but I don't know how

Zeynep Colpan

Yesterday I watched Minimalism, a documentary about "Examining the many levels of minimalism by looking inside the lives of minimalists from various walks of life." 

It basically centers on two rich white dudes that decided the path to true happiness laid in getting rid of all of their stuff and stopping the mindless consumption of goods. 

I wanted to be skeptical. Yeah, yeah, of course two white corporate guys can afford to give up everything and have one pair of socks for the rest of eternity. But what about the rest of us. I wanted to roll my eyes. And I did, for a while. Especially in the segment about tiny houses concerning a heterosexual couple. Again, I respect the people who choose this path of environmental and spiritual sustainability. I do. But in all honesty, most of my respect centered around how a couple living in such close proximity to each other had not murdered each other yet.

Having lived in a Tiny Dorm room in Montreal and a Tiny, Dirty Council Flat Room With Two Roommates in London, my vast experience with Tiny Living mostly made me question a) how they can keep such tiny spaces clean and b) most importantly, how she hasn't stood over their tiny bed with a giant glinting knife before looking to the heavens, gathering strength and stabbing him forty times for leaving out the tiny cup beside the tiny sink for the billionth time and so on. 

It also didn't help matters that I had just ordered a fabulous FlowLife massage pillow that my lower office-chair-beholden back was very excited about. I cradled the pillow, the massage balls moving while flashing red, to my chest, not wanting to let it go. My partner rolled his eyes as I cried out, "But I LOVE THIS PILLOW." 

And yet, a small, thoughtful, Wise part of me stirred and started spewing thoughts that I finally caved into and agreed with. Buying without consideration, adding more and more stuff to our lives doesn't necessarily make us happier. Bowing down to a system that treats us like dopamine addicted rats doesn't bring us joy and fulfillment. To be more aware before decisions, whether it's reaching in for a mindless snack or purchasing a massage pillow (!) can be the ignition of change towards not destroying human lives and the planet. 

So ultimately, the message of the documentary caught up to me and I was converted by the end of it. I will spend the next few weekends truly decluttering and putting financial limits on my credit cards before I spend mindlessly on objects that don't make me "happy."

*This is all with the caveat that I completely recognize that this is a very privileged position and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to buy anything at all.