A few weeks back, a friend recommended that I watch the documentary Minimalism, which is currently streaming on Netflix. Have you seen it? I've been a little under the weather this weekend, so I took some chill time today to watch it, and it spoke to me in a big way.
My focus on the blog so far has been on ways to cut down waste, though I'm starting to explore ways to incorporate more natural ingredients into my cosmetics and household products. But this film drives at something which is really at the heart of all my efforts, and that's this:
We don't buy things because we need them or because they add value to our lives. We buy things because we are addicted to buying things.
This film hit home in so many ways. When I think back on all the ways I've spent my money in the past, I realize that only a fraction of those dollars spent really added value to my life.
Think about it: when you got your first job and your salary was peanuts, you probably thought "When I'm earning a salary of $_____, I'll be set, and things will be easier." And if you're like me, you did get to that salary of $_____, and you didn't feel "set" because when you start earning more money you start looking for ways to dispose of it in return for stuff that will give your life more value.
The thesis of this film is that those things that you can now afford don't actually add value to your life. They may add perceived status, but they don't bring real fulfillment.
I think of all the time and energy I've spent over the years chasing my paychecks and then squandering my money on that one item that will finally complete my apartment or wardrobe. But after that perfect item, there was always another perfect item that would make my life more complete.
The truth is that the cycle never ends, no matter how much money you make. I now wish I'd spent all that time and energy nurturing my relationships with my friends and family, focusing on self care and my mental well-being, improving my physical fitness, or creating something beautiful.
The only way to end this cycle is to opt out of it. Get rid of the notion the buying more stuff will bring you fulfillment. Take joy in the freedom of unburdening yourself of unnecessary possessions and spending your time focusing on things that bring you real happiness. And take joy in the financial freedom that will naturally follow.
I'm saying all of this to myself more than anything, since I'm still learning to opt out of the cycle of perceived need. But I am working on it day by day, and it's nice to have real life examples of people who've liberated themselves by simplifying their lives.
Next time you are scrolling Netflix trying to figure out what to watch, consider Minimalism. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.