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Opinion

CSU Student Life and Minimalism

Vivek UpadhyayLifestyle minimalism is an especially stabilizing choice for college students. Naturally, due to burdensome financial stresses, college students often have to remain ever-conscious of their monetary priorities. This is old news, however. I’d like to direct the conversation about college financial safety toward deliberately chosen lifestyle minimalism, which can wholesomely enhance one’s well-being.

Lifestyle minimalism focuses on a process of ridding oneself of unnecessary content, whether physical or schedule-based, in order to simplify life. A few major benefits of lifestyle minimalism are worth mentioning.

In some cases, as one uses fewer things, one’s environmental footprint begins to shrink. Additionally, with fewer physical distractions, one might enjoy an enhanced sense of wellbeing, which could be further complemented by a new sense of orderliness.

As I cleaned my dorm of physical minutiae, I found that I had new space which I could use to my advantage, for quick push-up sessions in between studying or for resource placement during the completion of a large project. Since I now spend less time digging through heaps of paper scraps, I find that I’ve got more useful energy at my disposal.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the benefit that this lifestyle has brought upon other people: I’ve successfully given away some of my “useless” possessions to overjoyed friends. That felt startlingly good, and if you begin with just one inkling of such generosity toward others, you might find yourself addicted to the self-riddance aspect of lifestyle minimalism.

Of course, there are notable disadvantages to be considered upon becoming a lifestyle minimalist. Fortunately, of the four that I’ll mention, three are avoidable and all of them are manageable. The first major drawback encountered by many a lifestyle minimalist is arrogance. How can a newly generous, circumstantially simplified person become arrogant? Survey the descriptors in the previous sentence.

It’s possible, quite sadly, that in becoming a lifestyle minimalist one sees oneself as better than others. It’s one of the less dangerous manifestations of narcissism that plague people, but still worth avoiding or remaining vigilant over if/when you make the transition into lifestyle minimalism.

The next major drawback is a new obsession with counting things. Presumably, one would become a lifestyle minimalist to improve one’s well-being and peace of mind.

Though keeping a monetary budget and an explicit limit on the number of this-or-that one keeps is a choice married to lifestyle minimalism, it can become counterintuitive when its existence reigns supreme over the sense of peaceful orderliness it’s meant to produce.

Third, it’s possible that through lifestyle minimalism, one can simply shift from one set of unhealthy obsessions to another.

Here’s an example: though I, in the spirit of minimalism, can discard my abused television and game console to free up space in my environment and simplify my life, it’s possible that I could simply have transitioned to an obsession with Netflix and a PC game.

In other words, I’ve retained the obsessive nature with which I use my TV and game console, but transferred them to a single medium: the computer. The transformation isn’t attuned to enhancing my well being, and is thence perhaps not a worthy adoption of minimalism into my life.

Fourth and finally, there’s the issue of other people’s impressions. In social situations when you reveal that you’re a lifestyle minimalist, or if you avoid the label and simply describe your lifestyle choice, you might bear witness to an ensemble of discomfort spreading across your conversation partner’s face.

This is normal. So are rash judgments, both verbalized and implied in body language. Immunize yourself against others’ judgments when you become a lifestyle minimalist, to decrease the taxation that such social encounters can exact upon your well-being.

If you begin to experiment with lifestyle minimalism, even in small doses, you can easily absorb a new set of sanity-giving disciplines. That seems like a revelation worth sharing.

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About Vivek Upadhyay

Vivek Upadhyay is a freshman Education major. He is a bibliophile who, in spite of suffering from a marked deficit in sanity, often invests himself in determined pen-wielding, which qualifies him as a writer, and thinking prior to wielding his pen, which might qualify him as a writer whose works are worth reading. His central interest is human cognition. Feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com