The new barracks in Texas didn’t look anything like the one I left in Alabama. In fact, it resembled a modern apartment building. New cars and motorcycles were everywhere and after duty hours, all types of music blasted from expensive sound systems.
Never considered Spartans among the other military services, Air Force personnel were not immune to immediate and permanent deployments anywhere in the world. That reality didn’t stop my fellow airmen from having sofas delivered by flatbed trucks! I often wondered where they put these things if we left for overseas. I had a service-issued duffle bag and a backpack containing everything I owned in the world. Without any of the other big-ticket purchases to connect-to; maintain; and store, I was “unencumbered” and proud of it. I was a warrior, not some high-maintenance prima donna dependent on large screen televisions and George Forman grills. I was always mindful of the mission; battle-ready; organized; sacrificial; and highly motivated.
I was one of those guys that could go into a jungle with only a knife and clean underwear and come out victorious (I looked forward to continuing with an Air Force career but that is another story). The point is that without consumer distractions, I focused on my work. In turn, I was recognized and promoted far ahead of my peers. I had time to read more extensively; had time to compete in distance runs; earn a Masters Degree; and took in at least four movies every weekend! Whether I continued in the military or not, I figured my “lean, mean fighting machine” behavior would come in handy one day.
And it did. It’s not a Donald Trump life but I have few complaints and through the years I’ve maintained my minimalist beliefs and practices. I still wear nine-year-old sneakers and I’m always evaluating my belongings to see if they interfere with my space or distract me. Living with less, having fewer concerns is a major part of my lifestyle. Besides, It gives me joy to deny the exploitive capitalists my money.
There are many books, videos, and other websites on minimalism but I fear that it will evolve as a chic practice…something hip to do that will be abandoned as soon as middle-class money is made. So this will be my primer on minimalism. Time-to-time, I will write on it or reference resources that may be helpful to our gaining more mental and physical space in these perilous times. I recommend first visiting The Minimalists website. Watch their movie. You can see it now on Netflix or you can purchase and download an expanded version through their site or sites like iTunes.