MINIMALISM

“Mini what are you?” Unfailingly the most common reaction I get when I tell people that I’m a minimalist. A minimalist – at least the way I give content to this somewhat unusual behavior in today’s world – is to rid yourself of life’s material excess and the idea that you can buy your way to happiness. As a minimalist I only own stuff that I actually use and add value to my life.
So how did it start? In the summer of 1989 a group of eager students from a couple of dozen U.S. Universities gathered on the campus of Hofstra University on Long Island NY. We were getting ready to go to The Gambia to do voluntary work for about three months. Our mentor started the first meeting by telling us that the most important thing to do in order to prepare ourselves for our trip was to dump our excess baggages. He said it was important to let go of all preconceived ideas we had about Africa and allow ourselves to experience our stay without any self imposed barriers. Secondly, he told us we could only take a big backpack with us, meaning that we had to leave behind everything that did not add any value to our mission. Mind you, we were going to Barracunda, a village with a population of 500, no electricity, no running water, no toilet facilities. The first human reaction in those circumstances is to take as much amenities as possible. Our mentor did not tell anyone what to bring or leave behind. As long as it all fitted in the backpack. I can tell you that after packing my pharmaceutical medicines, syringes, large quantities of iodine, salt and what not there was little room to spare. What I learned at the end was that all that stuff that we are told daily we must buy, does not lead to happiness. Having an alarm clock in a village that wakes up when the sun rises and goes to sleep when it’s dark, was for example a waste. Having pictures of your country and family to share with the village people at the other hand, was gold. My quest for minimalism started and I am still perfecting it by living deliberately with less. During my most current two-month trip to Southeast Asia, my suitcase weighted only 8.7 kilograms.
Minimalism does not know rules. It is not a club or association that imposes sanctions when you go astray. You can do it at your own pace. See, I am not trying to impose minimalism on you. Consider me trying to share a recipe which I like a lot with you. You may like it. You may like only a few of the ingredients or you may want to add your own special sauces. What I do know is that by getting rid of the excess in our lives, we will feel uncluttered, be less stressful and happier. In addition, nothing is more responsible than lowering our footprint on this planet by deliberately living with less stuff. I hope I have triggered something in you. Look it up, do your research and give it a try.

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

2 thoughts on “MINIMALISM”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s