[ By Diyana J , 4th June 2021 ]
(The title was formerly approved by my boss.)
No filter – I hate the minimalism trend. On the surface, it seems like a coverup for those who not only refuse to admit that they’re financially tight, they use this -originally an artistic- movement as a way of showcasing that their standard of living has skyrocketed above the average. They do this by reasoning that they are doing the world a favor by adopting a ‘sustainable’ lifestyle. The concept of decluttering and use-only-what-you-need approach is logical, but is it truly practical?
As a lifestyle itself, I find it counter-intuitive to set a minimum quantity to your personal belongings and future purchases. We live in a world where everyone will keep moving and there is no such thing as slowing down in this ever-evolving society. So, is minimalism really a lifestyle worth adopting, and will it benefit you in the first place?
Minimalism as a ‘Way of Life’.
My boss Ahmad, calls himself a minimalist down to the core. He values simplicity and living sustainably over other things, and it so happens that this can all be achieved by adopting a minimalistic lifestyle. His every day go-to outfit is a black t-shirt and jeans combo. Other than that, he also owns one cupboard and one drawer.
He’s also constructed a very careful routine to his daily life- starting with a cup of coffee by the balcony in the morning and at the end of a day, a cigarette before he heads to sleep. He confides in me how he often takes this time to re-evaluate his connections to the world. He reflects on what the world has given to us, privileges that shouldn’t go unnoticed, and what we can do to serve the world in return. He says his minimalistic lifestyle is based on respecting not only our communities but our environment.
Keeping in mind one’s needs and keeping the quantity of said belongings to a minimum, seems to be the guideline here. This is often reflected in his day-to-day life here in the office as well. His office is a large table, one laptop, one tablet and one armchair. There isn’t any space for fancy shelves or displays. Neither do I think he wants one. He prefers to sit right next to Zul and I, as we go about on our tasks. I find it odd that he’s never expressed the want to have a so-called ‘proper’ office. To be blunt, he’s my boss who doesn’t treat himself as ‘highly’ as a typical boss would.
Nonetheless, he’s been non-stop sharing his perspective on minimalism. As we talk about it over coffee, I can’t help but shake my head to each point he brings to the table. Though most of his reasonings are logical and have made me reflect to some extent (about sustainability and how to best make morally-right purchases), I can’t imagine limiting myself to one outfit or owning just a few possessions. One might call me obsessive when it comes to the issue of ownership. In truth, this is when I found out I was the opposite of a minimalist; a maximalist
The Excitement of a Maximalist.
A maximalist lifestyle does not refer to a chaos of possessions, but rather the organized mess that one pulls creativity from. I am highly reliant on expressing myself via clothing options, makeup looks, my favorite books. I have a need for variety in my life and simply cannot stick to just one thing. This applies to my creative projects and unfinished books on my bedside table, but that’s besides the point.
I’ve always wanted to amass my own collection of indoor house plants. Each of my possessions has their respective place, whether that means my necklaces are left in a cardboard box or the books recommended by a friend are all piled up in one corner of the room, I know where each of them are, placed in a space that is accessible and ‘somewhat organized’.
I need patterns, colors and textures to make a space look pleasing to the eye, invigorating and never the lack of a certain something. I need all these things, as much as I need excitement in my life!
As a writer, there are words I connect to visuals. And there are visuals that I connect to emotions. It’s a mess of a spider-web and interlinked thoughts, that give birth to ideas and concepts that I can’t wait to try! Whether it ends up in a mess or a success, who cares? There’s something so exciting with venturing into the unknown, and molding your space to become something new each and every time. It’s the unfamiliarity that makes your heart beat faster and your thoughts racing. In short, I need this organized mess as much as I need to breathe air.
So, what do you think? Are you a minimalist or a maximalist?
Photos by Irfan Rosli (@_roniin)
Location: Urban Salvation Main Gallery