Institutionalized

When we returned home last night after a week away, I looked around my freshly-minimized house and felt less like I was at “home” and more like I was in an institution … stark walls, no clutter. Partly, it felt peaceful and stress-free. But another part of me felt like I was missing the coziness that makes home so inviting.

Meanwhile, I have been consumed with this news story of the 33 miners trapped in a mine in Chile. (Godspeed to their rescue!) So, as I’m reading about the supplies that are being sent down for their survival–necessities, such as food, vaccinations, and water purification chemicals–and physical comforts, such as bed frames and clothes made of fibers that wick away sweat to keep them cool in the hot mine–I am so thankful that we have the technology available to provide these men with some “stuff” to keep their bodies healthy and comfortable. Do you know that they’ve just received solid food for the first time in three weeks? They’ve been surviving on a purely liquid diet until now!

Then, yesterday, I read about how they were sending down a video projector and equipment to project movies on the wall, as well as MP3 players and entertainment devices. Brilliant, I thought. A decade ago, we would not have been able to provide these trapped men with the same types of entertainment.

So, please don’t get me wrong … I am not by any means comparing my life to these trapped miners. I am so troubled by their story that I just can’t stop thinking about them. For me it’s not about physical comforts, but sanity. I know this is also a concern, as they’ve sent NASA scientists down to help assess the mental health of the trapped miners. But really … sometimes a little distraction or entertainment does a body good … it must be such a relief to spend two hours watching a movie, rather than using that two hours thinking about how many more months you will be confined in this small space without the comforts of home and family.

It makes me think of solitary confinement in a prison … torture for the human psyche, because humans are pack animals, and we rely on interactions with others … or at least the illusion of interaction, by watching the interactions projected on a screen.

Apologies for this random stream of consciousness … the point here is that we are human people living in a modern world full of “stuff” and “things” that have evolved to make our lives easier and more comfortable. So, while minimization in moderation is good for the soul, extremism–as with anything–is not going to get us anywhere. Even Dave, of the 100 Things Challenge, only minimized his personal possessions … not the entire house or shared spaces. While I salute those of you who are already at 100 Things, or even less … or those who, like me, aspire to live in a tent on a beach in the tropics with very few material possessions … so long as we’re living in these big American-Dream houses … be good to yourselves … minimize the unnecessary chaos and noise in your life. But be careful not to minimize all of your creature comforts. We are, after all, only human …

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About Not-so-SuperMomma

See my previous blog at www.theminimalchallenge.wordpress.com to learn about how I used to be a SuperMom ...
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