Let me point out the obvious. This blog is called ´minimaliste´, yet I haven´t written about minimalism in ages.
That is because minimalism is not so much an issue in my life as it was before. It has become a new habit. It has become a new way of life instead of something I struggle with.
When I created minimaliste.nl I was in a big transitory phase in my life. Just after graduating from uni I started travelling, discovered something I love and then changed my life around to do what I loved for a living (which is diving, in case you didn’t guess already).
It took me a while to come to this decision. I felt I was giving up my previous life of an academic aspiring an ambitious career. To a certain extent that’s true. I remember having many internal conversations, weighing the pros and cons of the different outcomes: stick to the path that I had envisioned for myself for the last five years, or give everything up and start diving for a living? Oddly enough a lot of these internal conversations happened while I was diving. I wouldn’t recommend that: it kind of prevents objective decision making.
Once I make up my mind about something I tend to be pretty radical about it. So after I decided that yes, I do want to do this whole diving-for-a-living-thing I felt the need to burn some bridges. In case I would regret my decisions and things wouldn’t turn out as hoped, at least it wouldn’t be so easy to give up, abandon ship and return home.
This is where minimalism comes in.
Cutting all the unnecessary out of your life seems like a great way to start over. The new lifestyle I pictured for myself involved freedom on the road, moving from place to place to work as a dive master/instructor, unhindered by material possessions that would be stored in boxes at my parents’ place.
When I started reading about minimalism, it just seemed to make so much sense.
I donated my clothes.
I sold my books.
I brought my furniture to the thrift store.
I ended the rent on my ‘apartment’
I stopped buying unnecessary crap.
Until all that remained were some formal- and winter- clothing, documents, valuable memories (old diaries!) and the things I would take with me to Asia, squeezed into a backpack and one piece of carry-on.
I guess I can call myself a minimalist now.
Around this time minimalism made so much sense (it still does) that I wanted to share my new ‘discovery’ with everyone. Hence: the birth of this blog.
Almost two years later, minimalism has become the new normal, the new default setting and is therefore hardly exciting to write about. Just as I don’t write about the food I eat on a daily basis (rice! more rice!), I don’t write about minimalism.
Minimalism is essentially the lack of things. It is very hard to write about the lack of things, about nothing.
I could tell you about how I not bought that skirt today, but do you care?
Besides, being a minimalist here is hardly a struggle. There are few temptations. Sometimes I find myself craving something, a new fancy dress, that’s not available here anyway. So there isn’t a daily struggle against consumer culture to write about either.
I am also broke, and I make very little money so that makes it a bit difficult to splurge on shopping sprees and the latest gadgets. I guess I could pride myself for not having a massive credit-card debt, but I don’t have a credit card so that hardly counts.
Minimalism is just so EASY here. It would feel like cheating to write about. When pretty much everyone around you is poor and ‘minimalist’ because they have no other choice, it feels wrong to pride yourself for being able to make that decision.
That’s like proudly declaring you’re a vegetarian in a place where no one has money to buy meat. There is so much uncomfortable privilege in that statement.
So although minimalism still works for me, and probably for many other people, I don’t feel like I am the right person in the right place at the right time to write about it. Maybe in a few months, when I’ll be exposed to ads, consumables and the Joneses on a daily basis. But not for now.