This was published in Huffington Post today:
I keep coming across articles about how Millennials are making serious attempts at living simplified lifestyles. From pared-down wardrobes and weddings to pared-down homes, they are aiming for lifestyles that reflect meaning, experiences, time and relationships over stuff. If this is true, and there really is a quiet revolution of minimalism happening among this generation, then I say this is good news. Good for them!
After all, life can get complicated and cluttered enough, without inviting the added stress and chaos of too-muchness.
Perhaps as children, many Millennials witnessed stressed out parents working too hard to pay for bigger and better things, and now they want to live differently. Or maybe many of them were overscheduled or overburdened with too many resume-building activities while growing up, and now they want to take back their time.
Maybe their desire to simplify was born of these experiences or maybe not. It’s possible that there is a minimalist trend in much of society now, and Millennials just happen to be the ones being watched. I don’t know. I didn’t do the research, but I am interested in any trends in minimalism, no matter who the subjects are.
In addition to their newfound reputation of becoming minimalists, Millennials have been dubbed self-centered and possessing a sense of entitlement. Personally, I think such a generalization is unfair, but if there is any truth to it at all, aren’t their parents partly to blame?
Perhaps some of these kids have been raised with the belief that the universe revolves around them and their over-packed schedules, while the mundane chores of life magically get done (probably while their parents should be sleeping or relaxing), or they don’t get done at all because who has any time left? It’s just a theory.
There are chores in life. Lots and lots of chores. Food needs to be purchased and prepared, and cars need to be maintained and toilets need to be scrubbed and bills need to be payed and finances need to be organized and pets need to go to the vet and laundry needs be done and dishwashers need to be emptied. Rugs get vacuumed and trash gets put out. Appointments get scheduled and drains need to be unclogged and papers get filed and mail gets opened and birthday gifts get ordered and thank you notes get written.
If kids don’t partake in any of this while growing up, they won’t factor in that they actually have to leave time in their lives to do the stuff of life. Chores. Maintenance. Cleaning it up. Getting it done. Letting them believe that all of this just magically gets done is not serving them well, in my opinion.
In fact, it’s a lie.
All I’m saying is, perhaps along the way some of us forgot to factor in all the time it takes to get things done that are required to live a decently organized and grown up life. Or we forgot to let the kids bear witness to that, let alone have them take part in it.
There is work to do, often tedious, annoying work, and it must get done within the twenty four hours that we have in a day.
So as far as I can tell, it’s not only okay, but pertinent to sometimes say:
I don’t have time for that.
You don’t have time for that.
Because there are the chores.
Because if dinner doesn’t get cooked, we are going to eat crap and I prefer not to live that way.
Because if I don’t put the laundry away today, it will come out of my writing (or working, or playing or fill-in-the-blank) time tomorrow.
Because if this doesn’t get done now, it will come out of my sleep and if I don’t get eight hours sleep, I will feel lousy.
Maybe the Millennials have figured it out now. Perhaps they have become painfully aware of the limits of their resources; time, money, and energy. No wonder we are watching their tendency toward minimalism with interest. They seem to be absorbing a valuable truth at this time: their life really is about them. The choices are theirs to make. That’s not selfishness; it’s awareness. And time? That’s all theirs too. It’s on their side, after the chores are done.