Many of my friends in this simple arena come from very similar socio-economic backgrounds to mine. This means that we are a highly privileged, privileged people compared to the rest of the world. (Remember, I’m speaking from my little corner of the world here, I’m not making a blanket statement that covers everyone who wants to live minimally!) My own experience of “living small” is only noteworthy here in the US because our cultural starting point is that everything is bigger by default. I know we are very privileged have the option both reduce and enlarge again.
In fact, I would take this idea a step further and say that my own story It’s just noteworthy that Dan and I downsized to have our family because we’re white, middle-class Americans. Dare I say that our story would be commonplace if we were from a minority background? For many low-income minority families in the United States, living in a small apartment as a large family is simply what they can afford. This is a sobering truth.
Maybe we have the option to live with less because we have it enough. For the many millions of souls in the world who live without enough food, or water, or shelter, or clothing, or beauty – basic needs of life – the deliberate choice to live with less is not even an option. In some ways, opting for a minimalist lifestyle can be beneficial for the world’s wealthy. To have less, a person must have first enough. With that in mind, deliberate restriction is a privilege for those who have more than they really need to survive.
Mindful consumption is positive
So let’s make the assumption that you need to belong to a certain level of economic success in order to live with less. If the minimalism trend is challenging the richest segment in the world to limit its consumption, that change is a good thing. If minimalism encourages wealth owners around the world to be more mindful, to accumulate less, and to give away more, then that change is a positive thing. When the privileged have opened their eyes to their lavish lifestyles and are forced to limit their consumption, that’s a good thing. When the rich make the choice to own less and find that fewer clothes and belongings make their lives more peaceful, that’s a good thing.
The minimalism trend will continue
The article suggested that the minimalism trend won’t last. It’s true that the minimalist aesthetic may be a fad in the design world, but I see a different story in American culture. The general move towards downsizing and the choice to own less interests nearly every age group from college-aged kids to retirees. It’s only gaining momentum. People all over the world recognize the freedom and ease that deliberate limitation creates.
Fancy, superficial minimalism may be a cultural trend, but the undercurrent of deliberate limitation and mindful consumption captures the world’s wealth. Minimalism – at least in the sense of mindful consumption – is here to stay.
I hope that the targeted limitation movement grows and that the idea of consuming less as a nation will be a sign of a mindful generation. I hope our children will grow to appreciate people more through shopping, mindful spending through subconscious consumption, and gratitude through more.
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