NEW YORK (MainStreet)Usually, when you hear a person give you lessons in life about living with less and being happier, you assume that the source of it is either religion or a drink laced with acid. Because, let's think for a minute here who in his right mind would want to give up all the things that he has accumulated over the years? The answer to this question has shifted from "hardly anyone" to "quite a few" over the last few years. You see, the last decade, with the recessionary economy, has brought about grassroots movements for living with only 100 items or sometimes even scaling back to 50. In a less extreme form, Gen Y-ers are cutting back on their consumption with 25% of 18- to 27-year-olds saying their shopping behavior has changed significantly with the down economy, according to a "The New Consumer Behavior Paradigm" report from Price Waterhouse Coopers.
"The times, they are a changin"
Not long ago, a family would have one or two phones in the house; now every adult member has the latest smartphone. The mailbox next to the gate would welcome everyone's correspondence; now everyone carries his own laptop or tablet to communicate with the entire world. There was a time when people only knew two types of coffee at home; now yuppies in cities cannot start their days without using the espresso machine. Not that these are necessarily "bad" developments, but if you could detach yourself from these for a second and look at them objectively, you might see how these possessions of yours actually possess you. In fact, that is exactly what the life Mildred Lisette Norman (aka "Peace Pilgrim") taught us. An icon of pacifism and minimalism, Peace Pilgrim walked the entire breadth of the U.S. owning nothing but the clothes she wore and a few objects that would fit into her pockets. She might have been one of a kind during her time, but today, minimalism is a way of life for many.