Is too much minimalism just another form of indulgence?

minimalismI’m intrigued by those that teach and practice minimalism.

Growing up poorer than dirt in England–the only thing I had to play with as a kid was a loose tooth, and that was my brother’s–I really didn’t get to experience excess or indulgence. My blue-collar dad sacrificed a lot so that we wouldn’t be seen as the poor kids, and Christmases were always full of wonderful presents, but there were no vacations, no fancy cars, and any “label” clothes came from a second-hand store (thrift shop).

Now that I enjoy moderate success in business, I live in a beautiful home, take great vacations and get to eat out a lot. I’ve not shaken off my roots however–I still shop the sale rack, I’ll think long and hard before buying something that’s a luxury item, give time and money to church and non-profits, and I live well below my means. Still, you can hardly call my style of living minimalist.

I admit to being envious of minimalists. They have just enough of everything, and they appear to be content with little. Every time a new gadget fails to deliver or I get stuck in an airport, I daydream of what it would be like to move to a cabin in the mountains and abandon the whistles and bells of life.

Then, I start wondering if those that rave about the minimalist lifestyle are just practicing their own form of indulgence.

When you see a practitioner of minimalism blog about forcing himself to go without his cell phone for 2 months, or not buying any gadget for a year, it seems to me that they’ve missed out on the point of minimalism. Isn’t it to be happy? Isn’t it to be content? So isn’t striving to do better at minimalism a contradiction? Isn’t it just a different form of indulgence to push yourself to a new level of minimalism?

I don’t know–but I bet Ben Wills could chime in here.

I’ve deliberately chosen a minimalist theme for this site because perhaps you do have to force yourself to adopt a minimalist approach to life. Maybe you do have to work at it. If that is the case, then this is me dipping my toe in minimalism.

Honestly, I don’t know that I can ever get to the point where I can live with the bare minimum. However, I already know that more is not better either. So I suspect the answer is somewhere in between.

Perhaps I should start a “middlism” movement. ;-)