This is one of the most frequent questions we receive! I find it more genuine to answer this question not as authors of a book that defends minimalism but as two simple human beings: Like everyone else we also have moments where we exclaim, “what did I do to end up in this busy/crowded/responsibility-laden situation!” However, when we choose to be minimal, our lives are not based upon ideal minimalism but an overt awareness. In fact, this is the greatest acknowledgment on this journey. In other words, to realize that minimalism is not a final destination, but a journey. We may have spent yesterday in a careless, busy, or stressful state. Today is a new day. Every moment we become aware of ourselves is an opportunity to start entirely anew. Perhaps it’s because Begüm and I often make use of this exact opportunity, that we’re able to avoid punishing ourselves and end up spending less time on those moments of frenzy. Otherwise, there’s no doubt that a minimal life is neither a difficult adventure that needs to be exaggerated nor a unique success in need of pride.
All these things aside, believing that minimalism and minimizing only possess one definition is another route to disappointment. We don’t have to be a Zen Buddhist clad in orange robes, a dervish who makes do with the minimum, or a luminary who sells their Ferrari. Whoever we are, we can be minimal and continue to be that person. I can easily bid farewell to my books, but for Begüm, they each possess a much more specific meaning. For Begüm the concept of slowing down is important and favorable, whereas for me, it signifies slow people, which makes we want to flee. I use a credit card, Begüm does not. But in the end, these two people can come together and write a book about the same concept! Because all journeys toward minimizing are individual.
If, until now, you thought that minimalism was comprised of only one thing, try to become aware of this today. Which tragedy of deprivation is the ‘minimalism’ in your mind? The charm gained from making room for what particular thing? The exchange of which habit with what obligation? Take a good look at the image formed in your mind. Because that image is neither you nor minimalism. That’s only your personal image of minimalism. If it’s deterring you from trying new things and living the life you desire, then it’s not real. And perhaps today is the day to part ways with this image.