Without even knowing it, we are taught from an early age that learning to edit is good. In school, rough drafts were always submitted to be picked apart and criticized before we were allowed to write a final draft. As we grow up, we subconsciously edit our clothes, our toys and our friends. Our entire pre-adulthood is a continuous version of the rough draft. That rough draft slowly transforms, shaping the way we believe we’d like our lives to look. We’re writing the second draft. It doesn’t matter if you’re a type-A high-achiever or a free-spirited bohemian, both lifestyles require a severe amount of careful editing and conviction.
Children are ruthless editors. As Heidi Klum would say on Project Runway, “One minute you’re in…the next; you’re out.” That’s how kids edit. That once beloved toy will almost instantly become yesterday news. That shirt worn on the first day of school and everyday after that in the first grade will be looked at in disgust upon entering the second. On the playground, best friends quickly become frenemies and vice versa. And it’s with this same conviction that you must be willing to embrace while learning to edit as a minimalist.
Learning to edit as a minimalist is not difficult. It can be frustrating or confusing at times, but the goal is simple and then of course, if a child can do it...well then.
There is something to be said for people that live extremely edited lives. Maybe they’ve gone too far or maybe it’s just right for them. Who are we to judge? Just as the family who chooses to house four children in a house made for three might be frown upon by the same people who’s lifestyle they previously judged. We’re all just here trying to figure out what we need in our lives to make us, not our neighbors, the happiest.
“Be a ruthless editor of what you allow into your home. Ask yourself, ‘What does this object mean to me?’ “- Nate Burkus
The best part about the editing process in life? The number of drafts you are allowed to have are limitless. Take celebrities for example; they are constantly ‘re-inventing’ themselves. A perfect example of having multiple drafts and choosing a whole new method of editing their lives. We can do the same. When editing as a minimalist you are simply writing your minimalist draft in life.
It will be simple, clean and contain nothing that does not enhance your life or directly increase your happiness in someway. The minimalist draft is void of excessive consumerism, guilt or distracting noise. It provides direction for your life without trapping you into it.
No two drafts will ever be the same and luckily now, there are no school teachers chiming in. We get to write it all by ourselves. So trust your instincts and stay strong in your convictions.
And always know if you don’t like what you write, you have the power to edit it.