Why I want to be a minimalist?
My story is probably no different from many others who have ventured on this journey. You may call it a “Quarter-Life Crisis”, or “The Idle Mind is a Devil’s Workshop” philosophy, but I have been feeling a void in my life for a couple of years now. It was hard to pin-point at what was bothering me exactly but there it always was, a nagging feeling in the background, slowly eating away my peace of mind. In a nutshell, I felt inadequate and unworthy. I had a job, a family to love and care, friends I could count on, but as surprising as it sounds, it didn’t feel enough. I had enough but social media and the booming e-commerce industry told me I needed more…and more…and then some more… So, no matter how many fancy restaurants I tried, how many materialistic things I bought and the vacations I went to, although it brought about a sense of happiness and satisfaction for a while, it did not last very long. I simply was not living my life mindfully. And then it happened. The player in my background took a front seat: I was engulfed by depression.
It wasn’t just the feeling of inadequacy any more. Getting up from the bed became difficult, going to work was next to impossible, social gathering, even meeting up with friends became a burden. I completely stopped doing the things I love. Notifications in the social networking sites made me terribly anxious, so much so that I deactivated my accounts for a while. My work piled, so did my chores and most importantly my relationship with my loved ones suffered, suffered the most.
I sat up and decided that I need to declutter my life
I have always been a very organised person and led a more or less disciplined life. So you can imagine the havoc being in this state was causing my mind and subsequently my life. In one of these days, I was lying on my bed making a mental list of things I really really needed to attend. Halfway through my list, I stopped, like I had hit a wall. I stepped back to take in the bigger picture and this is what I saw: my “really really need to attend” list composed mostly, no correction, entirely, of my long line of possessions that needed to be either folded, cleaned or organised; the notifications in my feed that needed to be attended; the social gathering that I just could not avoid. It did not involve attending to myself or even the relationships that were suffering. My list did not involve anything that I truly cared for or was genuinely concerned about. It felt like waking up after being unconscious for a long time. At that moment, I sat up and decided that I need to declutter my life of the excess and make time and space for all that truly matters. I decided, that I want to live a simple, mindful and meaningful life. I decided I want to be a minimalist.
This journey is not going to be easy, especially because I come from a country, Bangladesh, where e-commerce has just boomed in the recent years and everyone around me is heavily dependent on their consumer lifestyle. With access to shopping from anywhere around the world within the comforts of our home, now more than ever, online businesses with their alluring advertisements and lucrative offers, social media creating a “peer pressure” to get that one thing you suddenly can’t do without—one is more inclined to be a hoarder than a minimalist.
In addition to that, there is our fast-paced lifestyle: 9-5 or 10-6 jobs that always roll beyond the late hours, Dhaka traffic to and from office killing not just our time (15-minute rides taking over an hour to cross in the peak times and I am not even exaggerating!), but also our patience and interests along with it and finally returning home too tired to even make a proper conversation. I feel like we have started to become hollow vessels, just going with the flow. We have forgotten how to live our life mindfully or meaningfully.
I have only been greeted with smirks and skepticism when I have shared my thoughts of becoming a minimalist with the people around me. They looked at me like I was speaking some foreign tongue. However, with all that seems to be going against me, oddly enough, I find myself more determined to embark on this road. I know this will take time and conscious effort. I know I will falter and doubt myself somewhere down the line, but I also have a feeling, this will probably be worth it.
Let the journey begin.
A science major, currently dabbing in business, Farhin Rahman is like many others out there, trying to find her one true passion. She hopes that her journey into minimalism will help declutter her life of excess and bring her one step closer to what she really loves
This article was originally publishes in August 2017 on themakingofaminimalist.wordpress.com