"Who are you buying this for? The person you are or the person you want to be?" - Cait Flanders
It's a difficult question to answer. Especially for younger minimalists, it takes time to learn what you really want in life. You don't really know who you want to be, what you want to do, or how all those things will change throughout your life.
If there's something I've learned, it's that growing up comes with a lot a waste. A lot of wasted time on things that didn't really matter, wasted feelings on people not worth your time, and wasted money on things that won't stand the test of time.
It's all trial and error. It's learning what's out there and then applying it to yourself. You have to try things out, take risks, and then change everything if you find it's not for you. In a way, it makes minimalism feel unrealistic. It makes it seem like something you have to wait and start when you've finally figured it out.
The only problem is, one day you'll realize no one has it all figured out. We all change throughout our lives, but that should never stop us from starting something right now.
WHY MILLENNIALS NEED MINIMALISM
The inflation of housing prices rising faster than wages.
The expectation of college for skills that don't truly require a degree to learn paired with rising education prices and massive loans we're encouraged to take out at a young age.
The saturated job market requiring even more schooling and more loans with no guarantee of a steady job that pays enough to support those loans.
A lack of growth potential in the job market leaving us with the lowest wage jobs in our field.
Not to complain, but most of us have it pretty bad. I was one of the fortunate few who wasn't pressured to go to college and who had family that would've helped me financially if I had decided to go. Beyond that, my husband found a job with good growth potential which was very fortunate. It's not a situation that many millennials find themselves in.
Even still, growth potential doesn't mean a final answer for paying off loans and the debt acquired having to move around to finally find a good job. Even those of us that have found a decent job still have mountains of debt and a cloudy financial future. It’s not like we now have an opportunity for settling down and buying a home. We can’t build a proper savings fund for us and our children. Even with a good job, we are a long ways away from financial freedom.
Bottom line, most of us start off in a hole and there are very few who find a rope to climb out of it. We watch generations before us owning houses bigger then they need with more stuff than anyone should acquire. Taking and taking while never giving. Setting a standard for success that is impossible to live up to.
All of the greed in the world has created something awesome, though. It's created rebellion.
Because of the ads that tell us we need more and people saying we're nothing until we have everything, more and more people are saying, “no.” They're saying they are enough as they are and a movement has been created to show that happiness is not found in climbing a corporate ladder and sitting in a giant, modern-day castle house full of all your treasures.
Minimalism for millennials and future generations means less jobs requiring you to waste money to go to 4 years of college to learn something you could’ve figured out in a month on the job. It means less debt and more financial freedom. It means smaller houses with less stuff so we’re not spending our days maintaining junk that doesn’t matter. We can find happiness outside of all the things that eventually fills the world and ruins it for anyone that comes after us.
It lets us think to the future, beyond ourselves. Our children will be saved from our struggles because we'll know what really matters, freedom.
BECOMING A MINIMALIST AS A MILLENNIAL
It takes careful thought, but it also takes letting go. It takes time to learn who you are apart from other people. Finding any and every way to go out on your own and discover what is actually out there. Not just what oldies from an age before computers say is out there. It takes being yourself, unapologetically, and being honest about what is wrong and what it right, even if other people don't agree.
Try things out. Go on an adventure, take up photography, learn programming, practice a skill. Don't tie yourself down to learning one major or one subject. Let yourself explore everything and then be willing to drop things you hate, even if you're "in too deep."
Get rid of stuff, obviously. Let go of things from your past. Let go of the things that were acquired for a you that you may not want to be. Let go of the things you think you should have or that stress you out. Only keep what is good in your life.
Speak up. Don't be afraid to rustle some feathers and be honest about what you're thinking and feeling. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let yourself feel what you need to and talk to the people who need to hear about it.
Minimalism is about more than the stuff. It can start on the outside with external things, but eventually it gets to the inside. It tears down your walls, removes the people who bring you down and the tasks that waste your time. It helps you to find yourself so one day you can know: is this for me or the person I want to be?
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz