Do you ever grow tired of acquiring things? Tired of jumping on that downward spiral of a train called ‘I’ll be happy if I only have ____?’ Yeah me too. If there’s one thing the past two and some years of being an expat has taught me, it’s that living minimalistically is not only ok, but it should be desired.
A dear friend of mine told me that after our two month backpacking trip, I’d see the world a different way. She was right. After living with only enough clothing items to fit in my small 60L pack, I walked into our little Korean apartment and was overwhelmed by all the stuff we have acquired in the last two years: T.V.s, musical instruments, kitchen appliances, mechanical tools, and a whole closetful of clothes. After being back for 20 days now, I still can’t shake that feeling of panic when I look around my home trying to figure out how to put it all away.
We don’t actually have that many things; It’s hard when you live in a little 600 square ft (or less, we’ve never actually measured) apartment. I can confidently say we would be able to pack it all up within a day, and fit everything we have in our two cars (ditching the fridge and couch on the side of the road like everyone else does). However, it seems to be the human way to want, want, want and then acquire, acquire, acquire. We’re all little packrats wanting to collect stuff because we think it’ll make us happy. It does for a little bit; but then something better comes along.
After our trip, my mindset has been changed about this whole ‘acquiring stuff’ trend. I’ve barely looked in my closet since I’ve been back, and find myself resorting to the same 4 outfits every week. I can’t handle all the different clothing options. Let’s not even talk about my pantry and fridge. There’s just so much food. The question that keeps surfacing in my mind is, ‘Why do I need all this?’ And the plain truth? I don’t.
We don’t need things to be happy. We don’t need things to live a good life. Sure they help, but for me being happy and content has to do with the experiences and adventures we choose to seek out. I am happiest seeing the amazing world God has given us. I am content learning about cultures, eating iffy food, and staying in a hotel room a mile or so from the closest public transportation service.
Living minimalistically is an incredible skill to obtain. Living a life where material possessions don’t consume you, leaves a life open for greater treasures. You discover a world just waiting for you to embrace it, cultures ready and willing to show you how they live, and adventures you could only dream of seeing on T.V.
I think I’ll be trying to achieve minimalism for my entire life, but it’s definitely something I find worth striving for.
What are your thoughts?