“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer” -Jim Carrey

Right now its 1:38am I am looking around my crowded room and see clothes on the ground, a junk drawer filled with random crap, and two bookshelves containing books I haven’t so much as touched in over 5 years. The guilty feeling I have about the current state of my bedroom is brought on by a documentary I just watched titled Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. This is an appropriate watch as we head into the Christmas season; this documentary brings to light how our busy, consumerist lives may be traded in for a life that is much simpler and stress-free.

Minimalism can be thought of as a philosophy of life that focuses on deliberate, intentional choice in how we spend our time, money and space. The cast of characters interviewed in this film fly in the face of the dominate consumerist paradigm that has everyone running for the malls throughout the Christmas season only to find themselves with more junk then they need and a fun credit card bill to pay off once January hits.

One of my takeaways from this documentary was that consumption itself is not the problem.  The problem is unnecessary consumption.  For instance, in our society people tend to put great value on owning a larger-than-life home and a Mercedes Benz in the driveway.  The road to acquiring these things involves a lot of debt and working very long hours (which will often be accompanied by a stressful commute), and debt as well.  It is not to say that these things are bad in it of themselves; the larger issue is that we as a society often fail to recognize or even consider the costs involved to accumulating these things.

In my view, the minimalists interviewed in this documentary have lives of abundance of one thing: time.  They spend less time working unhappy jobs, less time commuting, and less time in unhappy relationships. Being a minimalist means surrounding yourself only with the items and people that serve a purpose and discarding the rest.  Check out the documentary, I would give it an 8 out of 10.

 

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