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The Minimalist

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis

I’ve been reading about the benefits of being a minimalist. My husband would laugh at my interest in the topic. I can hear him saying, “Is that a new outfit?” To which I reply, “Oh honey, I’ve had it a long time!” So I confess minimalism is a stretch for me. The truth is that I see the results of a lifetime of collecting things in my work with Seniors. I see the problems created by our consumer culture from this unique vantage point. I don’t think our elders were consumers like we see today, but I do believe many of them are savers, which results in the same predicament.

Stuff keeps us from moving forward in life. We are in bondage to our homes and possessions. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions, but the meaning we assign to our stuff may end up compromising our health, safety, relationships, and personal growth.

The modern Minimalist’s credo is that this counter-culture lifestyle is a tool that leads to freedom. Freedom from fear, worry, guilt, depression, and freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture (or saving culture) we’ve built our lives around. The best part is this freedom allows us to choose what is essential in our lives, and it empowers us to move forward. Minimalism simply allows us to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately. It is a tool to rid ourselves of life’s excesses in favor of focusing on what’s important—so we can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. Why not think of downsizing as an opportunity to choose what is important and move on. It can be an empowering experience and an exciting time in life. We should all, including me, learn from the Minimalist!

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." Confucius

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