Monday, March 7, 2016

Appreciation Not Deprivation

Living a minimalist life oftentimes gets an eye roll from most people out in mainstream society.  "You only live once!" they say.  "I don't want to feel deprived!" they note.  There's this misconception that being a minimalist means being "cheap" or "frugal."  While frugality certainly plays a part in minimalism, it is not in the way most people would assume.  It really is more about intentionality than it is about being "cheap."  

A minimalist lifestyle is about being "choosy."  We will choose what we will expose ourselves to.  If we spend countless hours watching television, we will undoubtedly be told time and time again that the things we have and the life we lead just "isn't good enough."  "It could be better!" "You could look like this!"  "You could be this happy!" and so on and so forth.  Companies make money off of convincing us that what we have already acquired is not the best thing for us and that if we don't have the newest and latest gadget we somehow fall into the "rejects" category of society.  The sad thing is, most of us buy into the lie.  We do look at that shiny new car and say to ourselves, "You know what? I deserve it!"  Goodness knows I've told myself this very thing time and time again over the years.  In my experience, all the "I deserve its" just got me into a major financial mess in my twenties that truly looked like a long dark tunnel with no end in sight.  At some point we all realize (and if you haven't, you will eventually) that accumulating more stuff isn't the key to bringing more joy into our lives.  In the end, stuff is just that... stuff.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It's the appreciation we give to it that makes all the difference.  If we don't give it any value, then it loses its glitz and glamour.  

Let's make an effort today to look around us at all that we are already blessed with and be grateful.  If we have a home, let's appreciate it for what it is and stop looking over the fence wishing our house was as big as so and so's.  If we have a perfectly good vehicle, let's quit glancing over at the luxury car across the street and thinking that we are somehow deprived of nice things because we don't have x, y, z.  Let's appreciate what we have and let's stop thinking that what we don't have somehow brings us deprivation. Remember that the choice to live a minimalist life is just that... a choice.  It is a life filled with intentionality.  In our family, we choose a smaller home because it creates smaller bills.  By creating smaller bills we have greater freedom in doing the work we love.  Yes.  We don't really go out to eat or take fancy, romantic trips to the caribbean together, but, I don't look at that as being deprived.  No way.  If being able to do those things means I must work more hours or have a job I don't enjoy so that I could rake in enough cash to do so, then I can definitely do without.  We are not deprived, we are blessed to not be attached to the life mainstream society thinks we should live.  We are free to make a choice about what's right for us.  Make a choice today.  It's a beautiful thing.