Sometimes even today, with homeschooling becoming much more a ‘norm’, when I mention I was homeschooled from second grade on, I get strange looks from people, or odd questions like, ‘how did you get a job without a diploma?’, ‘are you socially awkward as an adult?’ or ‘were you brought up in a fanatically, religious based home?’. It is amusing to me that when you stray from a cultural norm, all of a sudden people seem to lose their sense of propriety and ask questions or make statements that would otherwise be considered rude, or at the very least embarrassing to themselves.
It reminds me of when parents shush their little children in public when they ask things like, ‘why is that person so fat?’, or ‘what happened to that man’s face?’. Really, I think it comes down to overwhelming curiosity, they just can’t help themselves.
So, what happens when someone finds out you are ‘into’ minimalism and simple living, and they come at you with those awkward questions like, ‘how many pairs of underwear do you own?’, ‘what do you do all day with nothing around?’ or ‘do you spend most of your time meditating?’, or even worse, ‘you’re going to regret getting rid of that stuff’. It’s funny to think about, and maybe a tad bit awkward when it first happens, but people in general are intrigued by those of us who are living outside of the cultural norm of over-consumption, and yet we still somehow manage to survive. In fact, they are so curious it gives us the perfect opportunity to spread the message of minimalism and simple living.
Today, I’d like to answer some of those ‘awkward moment’ questions associated with living a more minimal lifestyle, in hopes that it will help spread the word and move simple living towards becoming more of a norm in our society.
Question: “Why in the WORLD would you get rid of that!?!”
Answer: “Why in the WORLD would you OWN that!” Or “Because I don’t find any value in it at this point in my life.”
Question: “Seriously though, how many pairs of underwear do you own?”
Answer: “Seriously though, it’s none of your business.” or “I like to keep 10 pairs around, that’s my magic number.”
Question: “So, what did you get rid of this weekend?”
Answer: “Enough stuff to permanently get rid of an hour’s worth of weekly cleaning and chores.” or “The stress of walking past that treadmill everyday and thinking about how I don’t use it, but should.”
Question: “What do you do now that your house is practically empty?”
Answer: “I like to walk through the rooms and listen to my voice echo off the walls.” or “I like to go out and experience new things and meet people, enjoying the diversity in life.”
Question: “Are you going to get rid of your husband and kids, too?”
Answer: “Are you offering to take them?” or “I’m getting rid of stuff’ so I can give more of my attention to them.”
Question: “You know you’re crazy, right?”
Answer: “Most people who are crazy don’t know it.” or “I prefer to think I’m just a step ahead of most people, like when Plato and Aristotle promoted the idea that the earth was round.”
Question: “Can I have your stuff?”
Answer: “No.” or “I guess so, if you really want it and will find value in owning it. Feel free to donate though if it turns out you aren’t using it.”
In the end, those awkward questions and moments make life more interesting and exciting, and require you to examine why you are, in fact, living outside of the cultural norm. These days, I think it is more fun to laugh and answer them than to be offended. Who knows? Maybe they will join you on your journey!