I really wanted to be the kind of person who doesn’t own a TV.
We are raising our kids without screens and I wanted to lessen the uphill challenge we face as parents in the Screen Age.
That, and I’m a pretty obsessive minimalist.
Letting go of the majority of our belongings over the last few years has been easy.
I’ve written before about how I’d be happy living in an empty house with little or no furniture and it’s honestly true. I crave the freedom of owning very little.
And I owned nothing apart from clothes and a few personal belongings up until two years ago when my husband and I moved back to Australia.
Then, buying new furniture was fun, but hard.
It felt heavy to own all this stuff, and expensive too.
The TV purchase hurt the most and soon after it was unpacked I was plotting its demise, looking forward to the day we would bid it goodbye and return to freedom once again.
Naturally, I thought selling our TV would feel good. And it did, for a while. But then it just got too inconvenient.
I ended up replacing the TV with a PC projector as the only thing I watched was a couple of hours of streaming per week anyway. And our baby has never watched any form of TV, so it wasn’t like I had to remove the temptation to switch it on for her.
I’d gone and removed a massively convenient item from my life just so I could feel good about not owning it.
I wanted to be a perfect minimalist. I wanted a gold star for being TV-free, but there’s no one handing out gold stars. And no one cares but me.
I’d gotten so caught up in minimalism for the sake of minimalism without thinking through what was convenient and made logical sense.
And I’d made it worse by insisting it has to go, only to make life more complicated/messy with a computer and projector. (Thankfully my husband is supportive of my harebrained schemes and leaves me to my own devices most of the time)
This obsessive ‘purge at all costs’ mindset isn’t the point of minimalism.
To me, minimalism is about freeing yourself from possessions that hold you back or weigh you down. Getting rid of things you don’t need but cherishing the things you do.
I’ve sold, donated or thrown out close to 80% of our belongings over the past five years and if it wasn’t for baby stuff we’d own only a few boxes worth still.
I like it like this – love it.
It makes me feel light and free and more creative. There’s less stuff to worry about looking after and therefore more space in my mind to think and create.
This is the real power of minimalism – freeing up your mind for the important things in life.
Not gloating that you don’t own a TV.
So, it’s back.
I’m much happier, not only for the convenience (and fewer cords) but because I know that doing anything that’s purely ego-driven doesn’t end well.
How much or what you own doesn’t define you – only your thoughts and actions do.
From now on I’ll be thinking through both my purchases and my purges.
And maybe putting my feet up to a little guilt-free Mr Robot once in a while too.