It’s the new fad. Minimalism. Led by the facebook cyber capital of the world, I joined their team, but only for two weeks. When I found out I wasn’t a true minimalist because I buy things for other people, I walked away pouting at the realization. I was so proud to be one. The thought that it just wasn’t me was difficult to swallow and digest. It wasn’t the site that held the gavel in judgement of my generosity, it was just one individual in it who threw out a high handed justice to all of us who dare to spend, if even on others. Just what exactly is a minimalist anyway? According to some, it is a person that either makes very little money and survives with every ray of sunshine in their lives, or a minimalist is a person that hoards money and doesn’t spend on anybody including themselves.
So, in light of losing my reverently chosen identity, I decided to think of another pigeon hole to put me in. Low Maintenenance works well.
But what does that mean? And how do you differentiate low maintenance from being a minimalist? A low maintenance person isn’t a person jumping on the bandwagon of a fad. Minimalism is shiny and new. Still, one may even be the other.
By definition, a low maintenance life is a call for finding joy in all things that are simple. Living simply does not demote you for being generous to others, such that minimalism does by definition. After all, if you are a minimalist, you may not be able to buy “junk” for others. A low maintenance person doesn’t have to follow that rule because low maintenance is an adjective that describes the individual self, not the spending habit. Low maintenance also encompasses emotional independence. Minimalism is a verb denoting non-spending while it doesn’t address any emotional issues at all. You can be a clinically insane minimalist in other aspects of your life, however a clinically insane low maintenance person is a contradiction in terms.
To start off, if you are low maintenance, you probably have a small wardrobe. You might buy something once in a blue moon because it will coordinate several outfits together, giving you that much more versatility with the same concoction of threads. That’s as complex as it gets. If you shop for an outfit, then find yourself shopping more to make it work, you are not low maintenance. Better yet, there are so many clothes out there, all you have to do is wait and some will come your way for free. That is the uplift of a low maintenance person; wearing something that means something for sentimental reasons. I wear the decent clothes my children discard. It reminds me of them every day. I could never love a store bought item as much, no matter how well it coordinates with my other outfits. Low maintenance people find joy in sentimental things. They value beyond money.
A low maintenance person rarely, if ever shops for themselves. They are content with what they have and it lasts. For some low maintenance people, shopping is a chore to be avoided. “Make due” is one of the simplest life guides that they follow. Better yet, “fix it” is the ultimate triumph.
A low maintenance person can pack a carry on when they travel and be good for weeks. A school bag with a number of compartments is the “cat’s meow”. It’s organized, simple, and small enough to carry every item packed.
If you are low maintenance, you are probably always ready first, or you are the last to get ready and you still have time to read a book while others are fussing over their threads or their hair style. If you are spending more than 10 minutes in the bathroom to get ready for the day, what is the motivation? A low maintenance person treats their hair and face as superficial. What defines the real make-up is the look of joy on your face. Joy is all you need to walk out the door.
Low maintenance people generally love natural things. They can push a blanket out of a car onto a campsite and be ready to sleep. They don’t drag metal plated hard sides with them at the expense of energy, gas, and space. They don’t need to take a shower with them wherever they go. A nylon tent rolled up in the trunk enhances the experience to a low maintenance person. They spend as much time as they can outside. They can do this even on a day that is less than beautiful. They can be sweaty and proud of it, splashed with mud and continue on the hike, and maybe even walk the dog in pajama bottoms.
Low maintenance people never gossip. Gossipping causes negative energy and the harboring of difficult feelings in those you are conversing with. If you are constantly putting others down in the presense of their own peers, you are high maintenance. No one wants to hear the degradation of others. It weighs too heavily. It sucks the joy out of human “beingness”. If it feels good to degrade others, you are high maintenance because, let’s face it, conversations like that are hard to carry, and it unsettles good people. A low maintenance person doesn’t contribute to cynacism or gossip. Association with a low maintenance person leaves a person feeling light and unbound by negative energy. There is no black in their day. The high maintenance individual causes good people to feel weighed down and low.
A low maintenance person is not suspicious of their significant other. They are very relaxed as to where their partner is. They allow autonomy in their relationship and trust that their spouse is always looking in the same direction as they are. If two people have the same values and direction, then suspicion should not labor between them. If the partner is on the move, the low maintenance person puts that in perspective, realizes that they are not the quirk in the journey. Of course it’s hard to deal with their circumstance, but they maintain a high level of honesty with themselves.
Low maintance people are grounded in reality. They don’t twist or manipulate the facts in order to make themselves look better, to exaggerate the negativity of others, or to lay narcissitic claims on their own sanity in contrast to someone else. High maintenance people use google university to psychoanalyze someone else or diagnose psychological disorders on others. Low maintance people keep a low profile in the community and their peers. The leave well-enough alone, nod their heads and smile in blessings for those who have high maintenance needs at the expense of others.
Low maintenance people are humble. They believe in something greater than themselves and gladly step aside to allow others to be recognized.
Low maintenance people know how to forgive. They never hold grudges and keep their tempers at bay.
Low maintenance people don’t try to guide the career destiny of their spouse. It is a high maintenance person to be with if they are always there to knock down someone else’s dreams and keep them subdued. The husband that won’t support his wife’s continuing education, the wife who stops her husband from advancing his career, the husband who stands in the way of a budding teacher, lawyer, or architect, are all heavily laden in high maintenance.
Low maintenance people don’t give others too much thought. High maintenance people often stalk others in obsession; a partner, a friend, the husband’s ex wife. They are afraid, and feel as though they always have to know where someone is or what they are doing. It is a kind of fear that should be left to Hollywood for inducing thrillers, slashers, and dramatic film. Not checking up on a person’s better half means that a person is independent and sound. People don’t generally stalk their partner online if they are a low maintenance person. The high maintenance person is the one always lurking in the shadows, checking up on their partner in fear and contempt. Even if one partner is high maintenance, the contempt it puts in the relationship is potentially damaging. The low maintenance partner will leave the online tracking to the advertising agencies.
Low maintenance people give the benefit of the doubt. High maintenance emotional insecurity bleeds off into so many other aspects of the person’s life. They are forever second guessing, taking things personally, and judging. Low maintenance people stand to the side of the road and let all of the involvement pass them by.
Low maintenance people rarely complain. They fail to judge, they fail to criticize, and cynacism has no place in their conversations. They leave well enough alone and realize that joy comes from staying out of other people’s way. They contemplate the more spiritual questions in life and leave the tabloid brain at the gate. The low maintenance person knows that even time and emotions are hallowed qualities that deserve respect and sanctity. The high maintenance person could write a book about their neighbor’s faults with lashes. They tend to have a chip on their shoulder and an ax to grind. Meanwhile, the low maintenance person prays for those who scourage them.
Low maintenance people are flexible. They have little or no demand on others to comply to their strict schedules and decisions. The low maintenance person will embrace an outing they aren’t inclined to take, knowing full well that it could become a great experience. They let go of the wheel and respect the opinions of others. Low maintenance people get together with their friends and loved ones with this in mind, “It’s not where we’re going, it’s who we’re with.” They go see movie genres that aren’t in their list of faves. They go bowling, even if it bores them. They sit back and relish the relationships, not the activity.
Low maintenance people aren’t picky. They see the joy in all possibilities.
Low maintenance people are great listeners. Rather than constantly taking the conversation to themselves, they listen to the lives and concerns of others. Since they have no drama in their own lives, they are able to be there for others.
A short cross section of the low maintenance person might be someone who is not burdened by the echoes of drama; the kind of drama that splits the seams of relationships. There is no contempt in the mind of the easy going. There is simply not enough energy to survive it because the energy lived is the energy of joy. The light that shines on the low maintenance, free spirited, joy seeker can’t be mistaken. They push forward in the good light of calm relationships and celebrations of the simplest joys every day.