For decades, Americans (and many other citizens of the Western World) have been sold a scam by those whose only real care is lining their pockets. They’ve beat it into us that in order to be happy, we must surround ourselves with THINGS, always the newest and trendiest things. We must keep up with the Joneses; if we don’t, or can’t, there’s something wrong with us, some deficiency we must, with expediency, correct. We need the nicest homes and cars, the luxest wardrobes, the most top of the line gadgetry; we must strive for Society’s ideals of success, beauty, desirability and acceptability, or we are frowned upon, shunned, or even exiled from our own communities.
So we, like hamsters running on their tiny wheels, going fast, faster, faster still, going nowhere, get on this wagon train…we buy, buy, buy, we strive, strive, strive, for what they TELL US will make us happy. If only we have enough things, are attractive enough, have enough social standing…
We work hard, we fight to scrabble up auspicious employment ladders, to catch all the right eyes, believing that if only we had more money to buy more things every aspect of our lives would suddenly be just golden. If only we could be beautiful and model-thin, our lives would be peachy perfect. If only we could make everyone love us, the world would be our oyster.
But somehow, each thing we buy, each goal we meet, leaves us unfulfilled. There’s always one more thing to buy, one more pound to lose, one more person who remains not quite impressed enough…always SOMETHING preventing us from being happy. This can go on for a long time, years or even decades, depending on the person in question.
For the very- and fortunate- few born with that innate sense of “I am all right just as I am,” there may be none of this rat-race. For the rest of us, depending on our upbringing and psychological makeup, there may be years or decades of it. There may be, if we are lucky, little or no damage done as a result of this never-ending game, but for most of us, damage there is, and it can be devastating.
After years, or decades of chasing this carrot, we will look around one day and see we are swamped with STUFF. We’ve spent countless hours working to look, and act and be what Society want us to be…and yet we are bereft of happiness, devoid of inner peace. Overwhelmed and exhausted. No closer to that perfect life…
And our planet? It has paid a tremendous price for our neediness, our greediness. Deforestation, pollution, climate change…decimation of countless species of plant and animal, even the deaths of other humans is the price paid for all that stuff.
If we are honest with ourselves there will come a time when we admit to ourselves, STUFF won’t make us happy-indeed it can do quite the opposite. And the price paid, far far beyond dollars and cents, is too great. It simply isn’t sustainable. So much of what the television and the glossy magazines tells us we simply cannot live without will be dumped into our landfills in a few months, if not weeks. Will will in fact live without it. We will shake our heads and roll our eyes and wonder: why did I buy this? as we toss it into the waste can, our money and the resources it took to make the item, gone forever…bad for us, bad for our planet.
And the effort-so much effort-we put into looking perfect and acting in a socially acceptable way…the strain of trying to keep up this facade often becomes too much, causing irreparable emotional harm. We allow ourselves to be enslaved to society’s ideas of how and who we should be, and we end up not knowing who we really are at all.
After decades of this, running in the hamster wheel of consumption and societal approval-seeking, people are starting to wake up. They are starting to see not only that having a lot of STUFF doesn’t guarantee happiness, that in fact it may do just the opposite. That trying to always be in style and trendy and attractive may have left us hollow inside. We are overwhelmed by clutter and depressed by the stifling effect of trying to be the perfect Member of Society. We realize that all that time spent chasing what we thought would make us happy, and did not, is gone…forever.
We yearn for a simpler, purer life…
So how do we break free, once we have realized what ails us? How do we get better once we know what makes us sick? How do we bust out of that life of endless “obtain, consume, repeat,” that “lose one more pound, make one more friend” mentality?
That is what this blog is all about. It is about wanting and seeking and finding a SIMPLER life, a life less cluttered with stuff, a life where your time is not spent trying to be beautiful and impress others, but to truly make yourself happy, by finding out who you ARE, and celebrating that amazing person, and finding out what you love and doing that, with all the gusto and joy in your heart. It is about YOU. It is about all of us. It’s about what truly matters in our lives-experiences, not possessions.
I have added the “eco” into this because for me, the journey had a lot to do with putting the brakes on my personal environmental impact on my planet. I hope you share this concern with me, but even if your reasons for seeking a minimalist lifestyle aren’t environmentally driven, you will, by default, reduce your footprint on this earth by adopting a minimalist lifestyle, and we all will benefit from that. Ready? Join me as I continue my own journey toward simplicity. I’ll share with you steps I have taken to free myself of clutter, better my health-both physical and emotional, and find out who I really am and what I really love. It’s been fun, thus far. I still have a way to go, but I’m not turning back. I’m finally free-well, almost.
Thanks for stopping by!
This Image: Platinumcomplex.com
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