The key element of minimalism is not (for me, at least) to have as little stuff as possible. It’s to have as much time as possible for more important things. Minimalism or simple living is about priority, not possessions.
Since I stopped being so concerned with buying new stuff for the sake of having cool stuff, I’ve been able to learn more about myself and the world around me. I have been learning about diet, and exercise, and healing, and more.
Where I used to have a non-stick pan because it was easier and because it’s what’s in the stores, I now have a cast-iron pan without the potentially toxic fumes that Teflon contains. I have had to learn how to use it, but that’s a small price to pay for safer food consumption.
Where I used to eat eggs and toast every morning for breakfast, now I have a blender and I eat a handful of spinach in a smoothie to get more greens, because I know how important they are. Do I still eat eggs? Yes! Do I still eat toast? Sadly, no, because I learned about my body and its reactions to gluten. Is it easier to just eat bread? You betcha. But I can’t. Now that I know better, I cannot continue to consume things that I know don’t work with my body.
It’s the same with learning about health and wellness. I used to take pain medication for headaches. Now, I barely get them because I am eating better and staying hydrated. When I do get a bad headache, I can lay in a dark room with a cool washcloth on my forehead and it helps soothe the pain… without any ill effects on my liver. Is it easier to pop a couple Tylenol? Of course. But easier doesn’t mean better.
No matter what the issue at hand, you should take the time to research it until you are 100% committed either way. Absorbing information from the media is not the way to truth and knowledge. If you do not have the time to research the decisions you make – make the time. Your health, safety, wellness, and peace of mind are at stake, and you should know exactly what you are doing and why. Some topics people might research to learn more about include:
- Dietary restrictions (by choice or by medical necessity)
- Environmentalism (carbon emissions, recycling, shopping local, water waste, and more)
- Food choices (organic vs. conventional, GMOs, local foods, general nutrition)
- Medical decisions (researching side effects of medications, natural interventions instead of drugs, vaccination, etc.)
- Parenting methods (“cry it out” method, attachment parenting, etc.)
Doing something because “that’s how it’s done” or because that’s what someone told you – even if it’s someone like your Doctor, your mother, or the President of the United States – is not good enough.
Examine your day – every single part of it – and discover something you don’t know about. Google the ingredients in your toothpaste. Research your favorite brand of cereal. Read the list of side effects for your medication. Find out where your food comes from.
If you learn something you don’t like, take steps to change it. Ignorance is not bliss, and knowledge is power. Never, ever let someone tell you that you cannot change something in your life – if you want to, and if you take the time and energy to learn, you can change.