I don’t consider myself a ‘hoarder’, however some of my friends think that I am. I certainly have more clothes and shoes than one needs but these things give me some enjoyment. I believe a future trend that Western Civilization will experience in the next decade is an across the board push to simplify our lives. Its true, consumerism is rife and materialism has been a focus of humanity over the past 50 years with advertisers telling us what the next shiny object we must have will be, but I think this is about to change.
In recent times there has been a movement in our society towards ‘happiness’ and spending less time worrying about ‘things’ and more time enjoying pursuits that inspire us. The workplace has become more flexible as it is now widely accepted that happy workers are more productive and loyal. Stress is acknowledged medically as a very dangerous state in which to exist and more and more we see media articles and programs relating to quality of life and living in the moment rather than burdening ourselves with thoughts of things we cannot control.
I believe that our civilization will begin to consciously converge upon the concept of minimalism and ‘de-cluttering’ our lives to become more liberated and less stressed. By removing non essential items from our lives and shifting our focus from accumulating possessions, we create space in our lives (and minds) for the pursuits that really matter to us: strong loving relationships, time alone, creative endeavors and being absorbed and present in the moment. We as humans desire peace and space and our world has become so cluttered and busy that these conditions often seem so elusive.
Downsizing also has clear economic benefits and as many of us have fallen victim to a perpetual focus on consumption, our personal debt levels have skyrocketed resulting in increased stress and anxiety. Those of us who have in the past lived beyond our means (driven by our materialistic natures), have decided to throw off the yoke of crushing debt and monies saved (as a society), are at an all time high. Continued uncertainty in global markets has been a key driver here and I believe will soon result in people paying much more attention to what they actually need to live rather than what they are told they require.
As the world becomes closer through technology, more of us are also becoming enlightened as to the environmental damage our consumption creates and the simplification of our personal lives goes a long way to rectifying the damage done to our world. Simplification offers more time, more money, less interruption and therefore less stress and anxiety. A more minimalist life will be a widespread future trend for these reasons.