My name is Florentine and I am what the world describes as a “minimalist.” I can pack all my belongings into two suitcases and go travel the world if I want. I aim to make $30,000 a year from various online projects and consulting gigs, which makes me feel slightly guilty since there’s a hint of hypocrisy. With an efficiency studio and a bicycle, I don’t need much money to lead a happy life. I want to tell you a secret, which is a secret that many minimalists have, but don’t want anybody to know.
The reason why I deem myself a minimalist is because I have difficulty achieving more. For three years after college, I tried my hardest to work myself up an advertisement company. I was passed up for promotion, and then the recession came. Instead of telling people I lost my job, I told people “I quit” so I could lead the life of freedom I’ve always wanted. “Screw the world and conformity!”, I told everyone. I was too ashamed to tell my parents and friends that after 4 years in college, all I could do was stay a gopher, photocopying papers and answering phones all day. I didn’t even succeed at that.
Getting up and going to work is hard, I realize this. Earning just $30,000 a year in a job that you don’t particularly like is particularly dissatisfying. But, I know that doing the dirty work for years is just the process in order for me to get to where I want to be. I want to create those beautiful images, and put together those unique sounds and call them my own creations for all to experience. Yet, thanks to the recession, my opportunity was curtailed and I can’t get back in. Let me back in! Please? It’s been almost a year now.
I renounce material goods, nice homes, and great careers because I can’t have any of those things. Don’t even talk to me about retirement savings or starting a family. I’ll get to those things when I can. I tell people that they are leading lies and are on illusory treadmills. It makes me feel better. I know I shouldn’t try and make others feel worse. Minimalism is a way of being. I tell people I can live anywhere in the world, yet here I reside in a crappy city nicknamed HOE, or Hell On Earth. It’s freaking freezing right now.
The easiest way to tell whether a lifestyler is successful is finding out where we live. If we are really living the dream, we’d reside in Rio de Janeiro, Malibu, Paris, Rome, Hawaii, Bora Bora, and other fantastic places for goodness sake! We wouldn’t live in HOE now, would we? But, we do. Damn you HOE. Your streets are so dirty.
I embrace minimalism now, because I’ve come to accept the difficulty of becoming great. I’m great to the outside world, because I say so damnit. In reality, I want more, but society just doesn’t let me get there. There is no coincidence that our movement has taken off during one of the greatest economic downturns of our times (so my parents tell me). Although our employers let us go, at least they gave us the dignity to say we left on our own volition.
Let’s face it. Nobody leaves a job they love. If they did, they are either batshit crazy or lying to themselves. I’m thrust into my minimalist position not out of choice. But, everyday I embrace my situation and even convert some to do the same. At least I’m not siting around feeling sorry for myself. I’m actually practicing what I preach. Just be careful OK? Not everything is what it seems, especially if you have a choice.
Thanks for this terrific insight on minimalism Florentine! I’ve also noticed a big minimalist/lifestyle movement ever since the recession started in 2008. It makes sense to turn one’s back on society if society turns their back on you. As the economy recovers, perhaps the movement will fade with more opportunities. Perhaps not. Either way, consuming less, saving and investing more is probably necessary in our economy! What do readers think about minimalism? On another note, the Yakezie Scholarship essays are now live! Regards, Sam