Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our New Minimalism

For some time now, I've been reading blogs about minimalism.  I originally wanted to start this post with a definition of minimalism.  Here's what I found:

1)  A school of abstract painting and sculpture that emphasizes extreme simplification of form, as by the use of basic shapes and monochromatic palettes of primary colors, objectivity, and anonymity of style. Also called ABC art, minimal art, Also called reductivism, rejective art.

2)  Use of the fewest and barest essentials or elements, as in the arts, literature, or design.

3)  Music. A school or mode of contemporary music marked by extreme simplification of rhythms, patterns, and harmonies, prolonged chordal or melodic repetitions, and often a trancelike effect."

Not really helpful, is it?  Everyone seems to have their own definition of what this type of living entails.  By reading the dictionary's definition, I can see why.  In a nutshell, it's freeing yourself from the clutter and confines of, well, stuff.  Not just physical stuff, which many refer to as "crap", but the mental things that seem to bog down your day and life.  I was speaking with one of the father's at my son's Scout meeting on Monday and he was telling me, after running into the room five minutes late, about his day.  His son got out of school and went to football (soccer) practice where his wife left his son to go take their daughter to dance class.  He then had to go pick up his son and get him to Tae Kwon Do while his wife took his daughter to piano.  His son got to eat (I'm sure some type of fast food) in the backseat of the car on the drive over to the Scout's meeting.  I was so exhausted after that, I didn't even bother asking if his wife was going to show up to the meeting we were in.  I assumed she was face down in some parking lot from fatigue.

And, they choose to live this way.  Well, we don't.  These types of stories, which I fear are the norm, are what make us not want to live that way.  I doubt the poor man even got to see his wife that day.  I won't even venture into that might be part of his plan.

Notice in my definition above the word "free".  Yes, yes, yes it's the base word of another word, but shut up.  That's what we're looking for.  Freedom.  Freedom to do what we want.  Freedom from the crap in our lives that weighs us down.  Freedom from the obligations related to things we don't want to do, and the ability to concentrate on the things we do want to do.  And, no, I'm not talking about sitting around in your underpants watching football all day while pounding pints.  I'm talking about doing something that gets you out of bed on the morning without the use of an alarm clock.  That is what we are striving for to do in our family.

And, using this blog, hopefully we'll inspire others to do the same.  The garden will always be a big part of what we do, but so will our home and our life in general.  Hopefully, we'll pick up a few of you for the journey.

And, before my loyal followers start worrying I'm going to break into a bout of Kumbaya while tattooing a peace sign on my forehead and turning vegan, don't worry, the gopher still dies this weekend.  And, for shits and giggles, we may cook it and eat it!  While enjoying a pint...or several, of course.


  1. Put me down for some of that gopher, barbecued or stewed, I don't care.

  2. All buckled up! It might take at least two or three pints to chug down that gopher though :P I agree though, I embarked on a similar quest to strive to WANT to get out bed in the morning and look forward to my days, not just run through them on autopilot at lightspeed. Except for cleaning out the chicken coop days, so far it's going rather well. Good luck!

  3. Dear Turling, I am afraid that my life in general and my interior design style in particular could really be described as maximalist rather than minimalist since I do seem to surround myself with all manner of 'stuff'. However, I applaud what you say here and your family goals since I do think that too many people fill their lives with things that they think they 'ought' to do rather than what they 'wish' to do. I shall certainly be following with interest.

  4. Thank you everyone. And, don't worry Edith, I'm not one of those who's going to try and live with only 57 items, as we'll see in an upcoming post. I still require plenty of cocktail tables to be lying about.