So… I have a tendency towards random ponders. Kristen flattered me in asking for my ponders on minimalism, Thanks, Kristen!
My name is Denise. I am a Social Worker, wife, mother, outdoor adventurer, volunteer and several other adjectives. I have been married for almost 25 years this year. We live in the “wilderness” of Northeast Kansas. It is gorgeous country to me and I love living here. My wonderful husband, Marcus, designed our home. We live here with our awesome son, Marek, who is 13 years old. I love the outdoors and enjoy gardening, hiking, wogging, kayaking, camping, motorcycling and a few indoor things as well! I also love listening to Marcus and Marek play music and talk baseball.
I think minimalism applies to all of life – possessions, habits, scheduling, goal setting etc. I love the idea of minimizing possessions and would happily minimize several gajillion as well as a few habits, however, when you are in a family you must compromise!! The idea of minimalism is likely implemented more effectively when you are single, newly married or have talked minimalism over thoroughly to determine how you each stand on the issue. The desire to minimize also appears to suddenly kick in when you are planning to move or retire!
Our family has succeeded in compromising on possessions for the most part. I am less sentimental than the guys. They each have long memories and tend towards the nostalgic. Sometimes this is frustrating to me and my heartlessness towards nostalgia is frustrating to them! It is an active process to compromise for the good of our living space.
We are a very active family. Marek participates in a wide variety of activities and so do we. We balance our individual activities and our family activities. For Marcus and me, much of our time is spent on Marek’s activities. From academics at school to 4H meetings and church activities, we support, encourage, sponsor, coach, lead, transport and hang out with Marek and his friends. We enjoy all of these activities with him and for him. We work to minimize and manage the schedule so that we have family time and so that we each have time for our individual interests and hobbies. We also try to fit in some couple time.
The thing is, I love being busy with things that I love doing. Usually the guys feel the same. The big trick for me is not necessarily to minimize, but to manage our interests and activities. It’s hard because even doing things you love can become a serious drag without down time or “free choice” time, time to go with the flow. THIS randomly brings me to my other random thoughts about life!
I think that the MOST important thing is attitude! A positive attitude that is! It seems so simplistic but seriously, staying positive about pretty much everything makes it all better! Minimize doing things that you don’t like to do if possible. Everything else deserves a positive attitude. After all, we have all chosen to do the things we do and to have the things we have. If you don’t like it, you can change it! If you don’t like it and can’t change it then change your attitude about it! If the change involves compromise then be willing! Cultivate a positive attitude about it and all those involved. This sounds simple, but of course, it is difficult to stay positive when things get tough. It is hard work but it’s worth it. I refuse to go through life disgruntled, dissatisfied or unhappy with my usual fare. If at all possible, stay focused on the good things in your life and minimize those things that aren’t working. Having a positive attitude about things in your life will make a difference and will impact the others in your life. Perhaps this is my form of minimalism, I am working to minimize negativism and to embrace the positive. And you know what? It really works!!
Caveat: Negativism is not the same as sadness. It doesn’t minimize the standard range of emotions. You still feel negative emotions but you choose a positive response to these feelings instead of allowing yourself to go down the path of negativity. Just say no to malicious gossip, selfishness, anger and revenge!