Minimalism and the Baby Boomer Generation (and the generations before)


D20Now I am generalizing here. Not ALL people of the older generations are so resistant. And truthfully not ALL people of my generation and those after are so understanding. but these are very few. But the pattern indicates to me that the older a person is, the less they are able to understand this concept which is really not all that radical.

This saddens me. I take pity on them. Because it tells me that not only was this false concept of success a large part of the American way, but it was so well ingrained into them, that they are not open-minded enough to consider an alternative. They don’t realize that “success” is defined by the individual. They were told what happiness/success is and they followed blindly.

This is why we see so many wealthy people who are so miserable. Their wealth came from doing exactly what they were told their whole life. They learned the game, conformed to the system, and worked hard to gain all of its spoils. Never once did they truly ask themselves: “Is all of this that I have done made me a happier person?”

Purge out the Toxic people in your life. They drag you down.

Love-1Much of what I am going to write right now would seem like common sense, but it is not. If it was common then it would not apply to each of us so often.

For the sake of being accepted or belonging, we allow the people closest to us to hurt us in so many ways. Even in ways we do not realize from day-to-day because we accept their behavior toward us because “that’s just how they are,” or “they mean no harm by it”. We make excuses for them. But their behavior or attitude is harmful and therefore completely unacceptable. It’s harmful to themselves as well as others. These people are what I like to call “TOXIC”. Here are some tell-tale signs of TOXIC people:

– Negativity: A lot of use of the phrases “It won’t work”, “I can’t”, “you can’t”, ”Whatever”.

– Full of excuses: “I don’t have the time”, “It’s just not worth it”.

– Irresponsible/destructive lifestyle: Excessive profanity, Laziness, violence, substance abuse, gluttony.

One thing we often do not realize is that even as adults, the people we surround ourselves with have a tremendous impact on our lives. They impact our attitude, self-image, motivation. Just because we are adults does not mean that we are not influence-able; we are just as influence-able as the children we raise. TOXIC people will drag you down and turn you into them. That being the case, surround yourself with positive uplifting people. People that support you and motivate you in your endeavors. Goal oriented people.

So raises the question: How do I purge myself of this toxicity from toxic people in my life? Well if these people are close to you and you would rather not lose them, then you gotta have the talk. You’ve got to sit them down, and tell them that the two of you are going to have to redefine the nature of your relationship. Be forward. Tell them exactly what you expect from them in the relationship. Make the conversation two-sided. Ask them what they expect from you. Be reasonable. Hopefully through conversation and mutual understanding you can reach an agreement. If not, then you make it clear that you wish to bow out of the relationship gracefully ……. and then do just that.

This might hurt, but it will save you a whole bunch more pain not far down the road. If they put up a fight then you can be actually more confident that it is the right decision to leave the relationship immediately. Likelihood is that if they are so toxic, then a fight is what you will get. This makes it easy actually. The conversation is much shorter, and you get a very real sense of closure

The entire world is a Minimalist’s back yard

StopI have given a great deal of thought as to why people feel the compulsion to have, keep, and own things. Why so many struggle to acquire the material “riches” our world has to offer. I have spent a great deal of time observing these people; friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. I have also spent a bit of time observing those who are not so materialistic. Not necessarily other minimalists, but people who do not seem to get any joy, or as much joy in consuming. Through these observations I have come to an interesting hypothesis:

People who have the compulsion to possess things feel this compulsion as a result of an unspoken belief in our capitalist society that one must own things in order to use these things. That no matter where they are outside their home, they need to treat each place like it is a museum (stay behind the velvet rope) and not until they pay the admission fee, are they allowed to touch what is behind the glass.

Contrary to this, the person who has no interest in acquiring an abundance of material possessions believes that the whole world that they live in belongs to them anyway; it belongs to everybody. There is no urge to own a swimming pool, because there is a local gym they belong to where they can use the swimming pool whenever they want; or they can go to the lake. They have no urge to have a lawn of their own. If they want to see, smell, roll in, play on, or run on fresh cut grass they can visit the local public park. And that usually has the best kept grass anyway.

It’s the difference between insecurity and complete security.
Think about it. Consider the extremes: a hoarder versus a minimalist.

Hoarders seldom leave home (the hoard itself). And when they do its only to shop. They tend to be very introverted, have very few friends. Outside of their home they always seem in a hurry, as if they are very uncomfortable. As if they are in foreign territory, and they better hurry up, get what they want, and get out before somebody notices them. When they are home, they are finally safe in THEIR world within THE world, and as long as all the things they like are within those walls they are content.

Minimalists on the other hand are seldom home. Usually at home only to sleep, eat, read, or maybe work. They tend to be extroverted. Everyone they bump into is a potential friend, and is treated as such. They tend not to be in a hurry, very laid back. You will often finding them just strolling, taking in the sights.

Specific Example:

Say a hoarder/collector is interested in a food processor they see at Target. They will look at it in the store and try to think of how they will make room for it in their kitchen. Then of course they will purchase it. They will buy the processor and keep it in their kitchen so that way it is available to them in the event that they will need it. It will already be safe within their tiny comfortable world.

If a minimalist is interested in a food processor they will look at it and consider if they have any specific immediate use for it. If so, then they will purchase it. If not, then they will feel no need to purchase it now, but now they know where to find it in the event that they do. There is no need to keep it easy access in their home because the world IS their home. There is no need to keep it stored in their kitchen because Target IS their kitchen.

Now those were extremes, but I see examples of this all the time in people every day. I’ve seen a friend of mine buy a waffle-maker because in theory it sounded like a good idea. but that waffle-maker made it’s way from the shelf in the store to the back of the closet within an hour, and there it has stayed ever since. That was two years ago. This is a deep insecurity, no two ways about it.

With so many things we desire, the following is true:

We don’t have to own it, to use it. And even if we do own it, that doesn’t guarantee that we WILL use it. And with that being the case ……. where is the value in ownership?