I appreciate why minimalism is all the rage lately. We’re all drowning in an influx of information. It often feels like we’re barely keeping our heads above water as we try to stay on top of all our self imposed expectations and strive to float happily from one responsibility to the next. There’s so much pressure to have everything together while we’re feeling, maintaining, doing, and achieving all the things. We’re trying to downsize our lives, our very selves, as we make room for all of our goals, commitments, and future plans. We ferret away life wisdom from Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, a year after its release still struggling to internalize the missive that less is more.
But some of us are just… extra. Some of us don’t suit a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Some of us require more than a suitcase full of clothes. Some of us revel in having more than 30 books on the shelf. Some of us aren’t inclined to being streamlined. Some of us like extra texture and dimension and a cup that runneth over. And that’s okay. If you have a whole life chock full of people, passions, and materials that spark joy, you’re okay. You aren’t too much. You don’t need to challenge yourself to cut things out just for the sake of en vogue minimalism. You just need to keep an eye on things. Monitor the inward and outward flow of your resources (time, money, love, champagne, etc.) to balance your expression, and influx, of joy.
There’s an art to excess. You can keep your cup running over without over-serving yourself by practicing active ownership.
Active ownership is centered around the idea that we engage with the things that’ve been entrusted to us and in doing so can maximize the benefits of what we invest in. Peace, contentment, and fulfillment do not come from acquiring more material goods, earning more status, or checking off more items on our to-do lists. These fruits come from gratitude for what we have and acceptance of what we endure. We get to bloom where we’re planted, using our strengths to look toward the light and embrace what is already underfoot as we use each decision and interaction to grow.
We can do this practically by voting on and engaging with the things presented in our lives. Are you in support of or against your own reactions to the things you have in your life? How can you engage with those things differently to turn the tide in a more positive direction? For those things in your life you aren’t engaging with… should you change that, or should you let yourself move on?
Instead of trying to stress less, we should look for more to love and love even harder. If taken too far, this pursuit of more and more negative space puts us at risk of stripping away our chances at full expression and receiving of joy. Less for the sake of less isn’t more… less for the sake of less can make us feel empty. We can end up with a vacuum of freedom without any beauty, richness, texture, or joy to color our lives with. Maximalism might seem like too much because we oversimplify our commitments by thinking a path to growth is charted by binary options. We limit the options to having more or cutting out. There’s a more artful, enriching option at the center. I think we can enjoy our lives almost to excess if we actively own as many joyous experiences/responsibilities/things as possible.