Dissecting Minimalism (December 30, 2015)

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Updated: December 30, 2015

Over the Christmas weekend I was watching HGTV. It’s not a normal occurrence for me to watch HGTV. But since there were no competitive basketball or football games on, I didn’t like any of the movie choices, didn’t feel like getting up to get my computer to watch Netflix, and knew if I watched Food Network I’d want to cook something, I watched HGTV.

It was a show called “Little House Hunters.” I had high hopes, given that I knew the show “House Hunters” was about shopping for houses, although often times highly over-priced houses that many of us couldn’t afford. So maybe “Little House Hunters” would be about something the normal person can actually afford.  Nope.

As I watch the show, here’s this guy in his mid-30s, shopping houses that are around 250 square feet. My first apartment was bigger than that. I’m pretty sure my college girlfriend’s studio apartment was bigger than that!  But I pushed through. Because even though I like my space, I understand minimalism is a “thing” that some people aspire for.

Then he runs down his list of “must haves” for his house. On this list is “indoor plumbing” and “being able to stand up in my bedroom.” What? It’s almost 2016. And “indoor plumbing” is something that has to be included on your shopping list for a house? I’ll forgive the “standing up in my bedroom” list item because he was a rather tall guy. So it’s feasible to believe there’s some houses he couldn’t in a comfortable manner.  But indoor plumbing? C’mon, man!

Finally, his price point. He was on the East Coast, near the ocean. So I knew it would be higher than what we experience in Northeast Colorado. But $100,000 to $150,000. For something 250 square feet? C’mon, man!

Before you think I’m ripping minimalism, I’m not. Much of life today is the same thing. I wear the same clothes, eat the same foods, watch the same channels, do the same things. That’s just a small snapshot of minimalism, with many other pieces (but not too many) making the entire puzzle of minimalism. I get it. I respect it. Especially if it’s for you.

But if it’s for you, not if it’s the “in thing.” How many things have come and gone over the last year? Men with giant beards, manly men.  Tattoo after tattoo, the latest “thing” for whatever “it” most recently is.  2015 was also very Bohemian, or 70s depending on how you look at it.

We’re getting ready to head into a new year. Does it really mean anything? No not really. We change calendars, we spend the next four months casually turning 5’s into 6’s on the end of our dates. But in the end, when the sun sets on December 31 and rises on January 1, it’s just another day.

For many it’s a time to rethink themselves, to redefine who they are, who is in their lives and what they stand for. And if that’s what it takes for your to be a better person, more power to you.  I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. First, I don’t keep them before I’d have to remember them. And second, if I do remember them, I know I only have to do it for a year.  Once the year is done, and I’ve achieved my goal, I go right back to my old habits.

New Year’s resolutions are meant to better you. And that’s something I try to do for myself every day.  It’s not always easy.  Battling past addiction issues, the physical ailments that come with it, and seeing depression rear its ugly head and unexpected times, create constant challenges in setting and achieving goals I set out for myself.

And that’s all a New Year’s resolution should be – something you set out for you. Not something you set out for someone else, something you set out to achieve a goal only to go right back to old habits with nary more than a story of something “you once did,” or something you set out because it’s the “it thing.”

I don’t have a problem with minimalism. I don’t have a problem with materialism. I don’t have a problem with tattoos, with beards, with long hair or short hair. I don’t have a problem with homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality or another “yet to be defined by our hypersensitive society” form of sexuality.  I don’t have a problem with Christianity, Judaism, Buddhist or any other religion defined as good and/or bad in the soon-to-be 2016 society.

I have me. And I am me. That’s all we should be. Ourselves, nothing more, nothing less. It would solve a lot of problems. So I guess I am going to make a New Year’s resolution this year. But it’s not a New Year’s resolution. It’s simply a resolution.

I resolve to be me, for me. I resolve that anyone who is with me with know me, as me. I resolve to not pursue anything that isn’t for me like I am for it.  Maybe I’m too much in the “Me Generation,” even though I was born 17 years after that generation ceased accepting new members. With this resolution, I know I’ll be better and I think we’d all be better. It’s not for me to make that decision, though. It’s for you to make it for you.