Monday, December 19, 2016

What Minimalism is for Me

I was at an event talking to a friend, and she introduced me to the women she was volunteering with. My friend was excited about some of the things I do that wouldn't even occur to me to mention as unusual traits. My friend mentioned that I own chickens, I'm vegetarian, and I shop thrift stores for my clothing. She challenged my to name the last clothing I bought new. Not counting socks and underwear, I couldn't do it. (I have since remembered that I bought a pair of Dr. Martins this summer, new. I am so pleased with them every time I wear them. I feel about 15, and rebellious. If you're my age, you'll remember.)

I'm trying to make the world a better place, here where I am. Do you remember the quote "Think global, act local"? I see a lot of problems world wide that I can't affect on the large scale, but I try to do what I can where I am.

Reducing my consumption and seeking a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle is part of that goal. If I can reduce my demand for cheap fashion, at least I know that I am not contributing to the problem of sweatshop workers in Bangladesh. If I reduce my consumption of plastic, at least I know that I am reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment. If I reduce my trash output, I am lessening my contribution to the landfill and methane production.

Minimalism works together, in my mind, with my other goals. By buying a tasting selection of ethically grown chocolates instead of another necklace as a gift, I am reducing the amount of material goods excavated from the ground, and I am using the same amount of money to make sure that the farmers can send their children to school rather than make children work in lieu of having a chidhood. And seriously, who is going to waste chocolate? Alternately, I could buy a necklace from Goodwill. It wouldn't require resources, but no one I know needs another necklace. But it's about minimalism. Every woman I know has a drawer of costume jewelry that she rarely wears. Does it bring her joy to have that? I don't know. It doesn't bring me joy, and unless I know it will bring someone else joy, I don't want to support it anymore.

Some people might point out that I make my life more complicated in my efforts, but I want to be minimalist OVER ALL. I want to minimize my waste production, and I want to minimize the amount of pain I create in the world. I want my impact on the world, at the end of my life, to be more positive than negative. I want my impact to be the effects I created, not the waste I generated and goods I consumed.

I know minimalism is different for everyone who pursues it. This is what motivates me to find my version of minimalism.

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