Sooner or later, most things become obsolete.
The device you are reading this on will one day be considered antiquated.
The skills you use to earn your living will one day be irrelevant.
The beliefs you hold will one day be considered old fashioned.
The morals you possess will one day be indefensible.
The people you admire will one day be completely forgotten.
The clothes you wear will one day be weird and uncool.
The items you lust after will one day cease to be manufactured.
Sooner or later, everything you crave, chase, adore, remember and esteem will fade away. Words are pruned from the dictionary. Jobs are replaced by new forms of technology. Assumptions become laughable. Technology is discarded. On a long enough timeline, everything becomes obsolete.
Minimalism flips the question from 'what matters most to me now?' to 'what actually matters?'
We all know the answer to that. It is not items, or money or qualifications or titles or power or drama.
It's people. Experiences. Growth. Learning. Creation. Making changes to the world. Building foundations for the future. The world we carry in our minds.
Instead of seeing new inventions as the definitive thing, we can see them as part of a chain stretching far ahead. Instead of seeing new discoveries as the truth, we can see them as something to be proved wrong by those who come after us. Instead of seeing our morals as correct, we can see them as ready for improvement. Instead of seeing now as all that matters, we can recognize our connection to the past and future. Instead of seeing ourselves as special, we can accept our privileges.
All too often, we cling to the obsolete. We hold onto our opinions, even when evidence contradicts it. People store out of date items (VHS tapes, too small clothes, film cameras, flared jeans) in their lofts and garages. After all, they used to matter. Nostalgia leads us to pretend they will come back, even as we march onwards.
I went to the Palace of Versailles this week. It is a beautiful place. I walked the floors, gazing at ornate ceilings and paintings of nobles who once walked the same boards. Long dead and mostly forgotten people who basked in opulence. People who wore shoes which pinched to look cool, went to parties when they were tired, married for power and not love, flattered those above them and worried about their status. It is easy to laugh at them, but harder to laugh at ourselves. After all, we are no different.
So, how can we change this? Well, we can't prevent it. But we can recognize and accept it. Let go of unused items, recycling or donating them if possible. Try to buy new ones which will last. Ignore trends, sentimentality, and fads. Play the long game. Never stop learning and building a diverse skillset. Be prepared to change our views. Appreciate the past, without clinging to it.