I’ve grown a bit wary of using this term, but bear with me. The thing about a minimalist lifestyle is that it’s not a hobby or some amusing experiment in passing. It’s not a dogma that dictates decisions top-down.
It’s not a passion I entertain part-time, otherwise bearing little consequence to reality. It’s not part of a pilgrimage from which a minimalist one day emerges to rejoin human beings.
Everyone that knows me well enough understands the implications of this lifestyle on an intellectual level. Yet often, and quiet very often, I struggle to reach mutual understanding in practical affairs, particularly those that challenge my ‘minimal’ inclinations.
Perhaps there are others in the same boat. To these kindred spirits I extend this prose.
The more I allude to Minimalism in my writings, the less I wish to even appeal to the terminology. It is a word I became acquainted with 10 years back, a term that happens to fairly accurately classify my inherent, and long assimilated standards for mindful and plentiful living. Let’s disregard the term for the remainder, and emphasize the practical implications.
As it stands… I don’t care for most ‘things’ and packaged commodities. I have all I need for a simple life, and simple living is all I want and need to feel exceptionally happy.
The remaining factors necessary for that happiness concern non-material elements of no relation to acquisitions beyond the very minimal or to replace the missing. Anything additional renders hardly any marginal benefit.
I’m quiet indifferent (or sometimes negatively inclined) for mostly everything not naturally and freely available. That includes organized tours, performances, shows, cinema, concerts, sporting events, breweries, tastings, and mostly anything that seems inauthentic or lacking in organic human interaction, of which the world features an inexhaustible supply.
When asked if I want to do this or that among those categories, provided it indeed caters to mere indifference, I struggle to demonstrate my want. It becomes a question of, rather, what effort does it require to realize the experience?
Is it a free-entry event next door? Or does it involve complicated travel across town, prior reservation and an entry fee? For this experience with a person I’ll find hardly more meaningful than sharing time at a park or cafe and people watching.
Art, or rather artful forms of expression, are pervasive for whoever cares to look. So is nature. Botanical gardens, be it that I frequent them on occasion (when around the corner), are only necessary for one desensitized to what’s already around and requiring a massive dosage (350 varieties of plants from 15 world regions) to awaken.
I can trigger musical entertainment at my will, and live music requires but minimal research to locate a local band at a nearby pub.
I could observe kids play truly exceptional football at one of a dozen of nearby half-dilapidated fields for hours (therein lies the beauty of living in Rio de Janeiro). In fact, a short while ago I did just that next to a playground where I workout.
I enjoy coffee equally at my living room as I do at a Bohemian cafe or an antique 19th-century Austrian bakery. I can read a book or write virtually anywhere.
Why I would head to a cinema over reading a book tends to puzzle me. It’s not a particularly social nor an intellectual experience in most cases, but rather mind suppressing.
I rarely feel the urge to suppress the mind. If exhausted to the rim, I prefer to lie down and think of nothing.
It follows, if asked to partake in a variety of these packages, let’s be sincere … is the proposal for my company and childish humour, or for the mutual appreciation of cultural awareness? For if it concerns the latter, I kindly assure you, I’m at best indifferent.
With less hassle I would as happily observe the myriads of naturally occurring phenomena: the floresta at a nearby beach, kids and animals wreak havoc at a playground, an improvised Samba performance on the steps of a Boteco, or a street roda of Capoeira. Likewise, I could stare at a rock with equal comfort.
Questions, comments? Connect.