The Practicality of Minimalism
Reading Everything That Remains feels so good. It gives me what I am looking for: an example of how the authors got from Point A (high-powered careers) to Point B (minimalism). It’s as close to a mentor as I may ever find. It offers the encouragement that if they can do it, I can too.
Not everything in the minimalism world is useful. I looked up images of minimalism online and found some fascinating architecture. I found cold starkness and weirdly sharp angles. It was more artistic than functional. One room had such a tight “corner” that I almost laughed. No vacuum cleaner was getting into that! The last thing I am interested in is one more thing I cannot clean.
I don’t know the specifics of what I want in life, but I do have some general principles. Number one, I am not interested in being a good, little victim. I don’t want to be the victim of my stuff, worrying about my crap when I go on vacation. I feel like my possessions tie me to a physical location, the location of the possessions. I have no passion for spending my golden years cleaning my stuff.
My refusal to be a victim of my possessions is related to my wanting to not be stuck in Michigan. I literally don’t want to be tied down geographically. Michigan is my place of origin—and humiliation. I am done with the bizarre expectations of MIT qualifications for jobs that pay Burger King wages and then employers trying to pass off the responsibility to the applicant. “You just didn’t meet our qualifications” translates in reality to “We plan on hiring so-and-so’s brother,” or “You might expect a more living wage and are therefore unfit for exploitation for our purposes.” I am fluent in HR-speak (my undergrad emphasis for my BBA was HR) and know that it is in the employer’s financial interest to make the candidate feel unqualified, rather than understand the truth. My friend that moved to Maryland left partly because her co-workers in Michigan routinely declared bankruptcy. Workers in Michigan are the epitome of the frog in the kettle. The economy has gone downhill slowly enough and been depressed long enough to the point that they think it is normal to declare bankruptcy every seven years. They take their economic victimization as a matter-of-course, not wanting to move elsewhere and perhaps learn a few more skills in order to increase their paycheck exponentially. Getting paid crap for high-skilled labor is pure Michigan. I choose self-respect and freedom, even if it means letting go of almost every possession I have. Such is the price of freedom.