Astronaut Minimalism- Can You Live Happily With Little?

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On the Mauna Loa side of the Big Island of Hawaii, 8600 feet above sea level, the HI-SEAS habitat has created a mock Mars station complete with Mission Control. The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog an Simulation (HI-SEAS) project also recruits a crew that lives on this station. The crew of 6 share 1200 square feet of space and share a bathroom, kitchen and work area.

Like in space, the crew completes tasks as assigned by mission control. Their communication with Mission Control is subject to the same 20-minute delay they would have in space, while communicating with Earth. As with astronauts, space and weight is very limited. These ?earthtronauts? are allowed 1 suit case (carry-on size) and 1 personal item for a one-year mission.

How does someone transition from a life of excess to a sparse environment? Minimalism is not just a cool design feature; many people are choosing to live without clutter and ?stuff?. Like the crew of HI-SEAS, people are choosing to have less in an effort to experience more. How is this done?

Begin With Boxes

Many of us have boxes in garages and attics gathering dust. For some, these boxes hold mementos of the past. For others, these boxes are things that could have been thrown out long ago. True hoarding is a severe psychological disorder, but we all hoard some things. Old paper work may be kept because you never know when someone will ask you for a receipt.

For the nostalgic among us, the need to hold on to every macaroni painting a child created, or a napkin from your third date is overwhelming. Go through the boxes. Consolidate your keepsakes and shred those receipts.

What Is Wanted? What Is Needed?

Go through your home and label items as either ?Things I want? or ?Things I need?. An effective way of knowing the difference is to ask yourself, ?When was the last time I used this??

After you do this, go through them again. This time ask yourself, ?If I needed to leave for a space mission tomorrow, would I even consider this item to bring with me?? You will find that many of the things you believed you “needed” were simply items you wanted, and many of the items you wanted are not really needed.

The Benefit Of Less

Less is more. Living with less allows you the freedom to move. Stop and think about the things that keep you in one location. For many, those things would be family, friends, a job and home. With the advent of social media, communicating has never been easier, and telecommuting is becoming more feasible. The real tether to one location is your home. While having a home is a means to accrue wealth, it also anchors you to one place. It is not a given that your home will appreciate, and it is also not a given that you will live long enough to see your home as an investment rather than a monthly payment. Minimalism reminds you that now is all you have.

Less Stress

Stress is neither good or bad. Stress can motivate, and stress can overwhelm. When there is less ?stuff? in your life, you do not need to invest any energy in maintaining or worrying about what you have. The lack of attachments, as Buddhists know all too well, means a lack of suffering.

Appreciate What You Have

When you do not have much, you have more time to appreciate what you have. Like the crew of the HI-SEAS, learning to appreciate good conversation or savoring the time you can spend with people you love is the gift of minimalism. There is little to distract from what is happening now. Living with less allows you to gain peace of mind.

Living A Space Lifestyle

A space lifestyle is not like the Jetsons. The Jetsons’s version of the future was automated, standardized, and uniform stuff, rather than focusing on what truly matters to the individual. Living with less is a clear path to freedom. You may not get to live in Space or even on Muana Loa, but wherever you are, you will be at peace.

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