inimalism according to Wikipedia, refers to the “stripping of a subject to its necessary elements”. Simply stated, living the maxim “less is more: by radically adopting simplicity as a core of daily living. Minimalism has its origins from the Japanese culture where emphasis on simplicity as a way of life is adopted.
Our experiences from birth to adulthood drive in us the need to acquire the good, bad and ugly in facets of our existence from possessions to habits, values to vices. The effects of our experiences leave an indelible scar that causes us to adapt and as a result adopt traits that weigh heavily on our being. Sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful, these traits, habits, possessions are adjuncts to our survival in a choatic, competitive world. These added luggage stem out of greed, envy, pride, covetousness and when the euphoria from these emotions has been satisfied from our lusts, we become numb and seek another desire to satisfy.
Minimalism cures that unwarranted and unnecessary desire. Living life by stripping everything – actions, subjects, values, objects to the fundamentals. Living life by seeing the joy in less is more. Living life by adhering to the basic tenets. Living life by being contented. All these are the essentials of minimalism.
Minimalism is broad and touches every existential facet of our lives. Writing and discussing minimalism can be easy. Living as a minimalist is where the work lies. Over a series, my intention is to share aspects of my life adopted from the art of minimalism; the benefits thus far.
Stripping life to its nakedness allows clarity and promotes better mental health. We see life for what it is and not from the interpretation of others. In 2016 when I made the decision to be a minimalist, the take-off point was my wardrobe. Reviewing my clothing, showed how much I had and how less I used them, and the ones I most frequently used. At that moment, I began to give out as much as I could. Eventually reducing my shirt numbers from a staggering twenty to just eight. Till date, I have maintained that figure and that ensures a routine and less thought on what I need to wear. It is lightening.
We were all born naked but due to societal dictates, we need to be clothed but often times we go to lengths that we purchase that which we only wear once or perhaps never, so what is the point. The basic tenet of life is that which we have must be in use or it withers away. In medicine, orthopedic surgeons say “use it or lose it” to patients with bone diseases like osteoporosis. Likewise, what is the point of owning something you hardly use and then creating an unnecessary heaviness? Strip life to its essentials and therein lies joy.
Dr. Edwin. Okon, MD, MRCS(Edinburgh)