You’ll hear a lot about simplifying life around here. I really firmly believe that when you simplify everything from the things in your life to the frantic schedules of life, you will have a better quality of life.
However, I want to share a few reasons that are not why I have chosen to simplify. From blogs, to books, to articles, you will find many people that are choosing to simplify. Minimalism is a trend. Because of this, it is important to know why, or in this case why not, we simplify.
I have learned a lot from many blogs and books on minimalism and simple living, and have gained inspiration and ideas. But at the core, most have different values than I hope to share here on this blog.
Consumerism is something that most people are trying to get away from. When you read the about pages on blogs or the reasons behind books written, you’ll find a variety of reasons behind the move to a simple life. Many, at least, reference getting off the ferris wheel of consumerism.
Here are two common reasons to simplify, and my answer to why they aren’t my reasons:
1. Stuff doesn’t make us happy.
Society, rightly so, is coming to this conclusion. This statement couldn’t be more true. However, what I hope you also know is that not having stuff doesn’t ultimately make us happy.
While there is a whole movement of simple living, I think the next generation will bounce back and realize that getting rid of everything didn’t really bring us true happiness either. To be sure, it might have increased the quality of life, but ultimately it still isn’t enough.
Just like our true happiness cannot come from things, it cannot come from getting rid of things.
2. How Little Can We Live On?
Some have decided to challenge themselves with how little we really need to live. It is sort of a game. Dave Bruno in his book, The Hundred Thing Challenge, is an example of challenging himself to dwindle down his possessions to a mere 100 things. While this has drawn attention from the media and has started a movement of sorts of minimalist living, it is not a reason that will last for the average person. Most will tire of the game, and be right back where they started in the crazy, hectic life of stuff.
There are things in our homes that are not necessarily a need, but they bring us joy. Whether it is the aesthetic value, the sentimental value, or a variety of other reasons, we can find a certain amount of pleasure in these things. That is okay.
The point is not to be monkish and live life with only the bare necessities of life.
The point is to not be so consumed with accumulating that stuff. To not be so overwhelmed with finding a place to put that stuff. To not be so caught up in filling our schedule with that stuff. We need room to breathe so that we can focus on what we value. We need room and time to intentionally build community with others.
Next week I’ll share a few reasons that I have found a simpler lifestyle to benefit our family and our mission as a family. The trying-to-be-happy and the game of what-can-we-live-without are not part of it.
Have you found yourself under the pressure of schedules and stuff, that you haven’t had time to build community with people? Please leave a comment, I would love to hear your thoughts!