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Minimalism as a fad or economic reaction?

June 15, 2011

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about minimalism and questioning if it is simply a fad, or temporary economic reaction.  My opinion, is sorta and duh.  Since the definition of a fad is any form of behavior that is adopted by a large group of people with enthusiasm until the novelty wears off,  I suppose there are people out there that might adopt a lifestyle of minimalism and then revert back to their previous lifestyle after a duration of time.  I challenge the idea that they can completely go back, however.  I think a period of minimalism brings permanent paradigm changes.  So since the word ‘fad’ denotes a temporary social movement,  I argue that it is instead a ‘trend’ and will be around forever.  It’s already been around for a long time and suits some people’s personalities and lifestyles.  There will always be minimalists, even if they do not identify with the title.

An economic reaction?  Duh.  Sorry but why do you even need to contemplate that?  Minimalism can apply to every aspect of ones life, sure.  But overall, minimalism tends to be the polar opposite of consumerism.  My own story involves getting caught up in what American culture told me would bring me happiness, getting into debt over my ears, having no ‘career’ that is fulfilling to my soul, and realizing that my happiness was not tied in to the things I owned.  Of course I had to get the American dream before I realised that it could really be a nightmare instead.  My husband and I had to float around our huge suburban house, dusting excess furniture and art, and wonder why we felt strange and out-of-place.  Isn’t this it?  Shouldn’t the flood gates of happiness open?  Why do we watch the neighbors doing yard work and feel like aliens from outer space?  It took a layoff and suddenly not being able to afford the lifestyle to make us realize that we didn’t care!  Good lord if we don’t care about losing this lifestyle why on Earth were we working so hard to hold on to it?

My minimalism was always an inherent part of myself.  Buying things never made me feel happy.  Debt always made me miserable.  Simplicity feels like a second skin.  Yet it took economic retardation to help me discover it as a WAY OF LIFE.  And that makes it a trend for me, not a fad.  Sure, we could win the lottery tomorrow.  I might buy more things because suddenly I can afford to.  But I bet I’d own a fraction of the things someone else with the same means would.  I’d rather spend a lot of time traveling, take care of loved ones, maybe start some non-profits.  And you know, Universe, if you would like to test me on this I’m game.  I’ll buy the lottery ticket tonight.  After all, my Aunt won it 15 years ago or more, so I know it’s not rigged….

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