All we need are the bare necessities of life


Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’ popular documentary has illustrated the widespread phenomenon of minimalism.

Marie Laverdiere, Oracle Editor

While we buzz around a crumbling school, striving to keep our grades up for two more months, we could all benefit from slowing down and taking a lesson from “The Jungle Book’s” Baloo the bear.
If you haven’t been listening to your friend’s complaints lately, maybe you haven’t noticed how busy high schoolers are in NOVA: We balance our time between studying for laudatory grades, training to be competitive athletes, working at our jobs to save money so that we can attend that four-year ivy institution and let’s not forget about making time to seem adequately social. With all of these pressures weighing on us, it’s easy to feel like going to the mall to buy a random, spontaneous, pair of expensive shoes would provide just enough of a stress-release to get us through the week.
I’m not denouncing shopping, nor spontaneity, but before you invest in a product you will forget about in two weeks, why not re-watch the greatest movie of all time?
In the old-school Disney cartoon version of “The Jungle Book,” Baloo sings that he finds joy in the “bare necessities” of life, all of which help him “rest at ease.” To sum up his characterization, Baloo, the lazy, honey-hoarding, gluttonous bear, is a minimalist.
Minimalism is not a cult, nor is it a life philosophy that recommends hermitage and the selling off of one’s belongings. Quite the contrary, minimalism is about enjoying life, spontaneity and purchases, while being intentional about what you spend time on and what you buy.
The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, are two men who tour the country speaking and encouraging people to live minimalistic lives. Initially after listening to my friend-gone-minimalist and watching The Minimalists’ documentary, I was confused. Many of the American Minimalists they showcased live in “tiny houses,” have little to no furniture, and challenge themselves to only have enough belongings to fit in one backpack. As an owner of composition notebooks I still have from 5th grade, it’s not difficult to realize that I have trouble ridding my life of unneeded excess.
As I have pondered minimalistic living, however, I have decided to be a minimalist in a holistic sense. No, I may not be able to live with a single backpack of belongings, but I can certainly limit my expenditures to things I truly value. No, I don’t want to engage in the “tiny house movement,” but I can throw away at least a couple of the useless elementary school certificates that clutter my bedroom floor.
In short, I may not be a perfect minimalist, but I’m trying to live a more intentional life, and minimalism inspired me. Maybe it will inspire you, too.