Minimalism can help you find what you're passionate about, but it is at the very core an enhancer. Think about minimalist art. You remove lines to the very core of the piece, but it's not effective if you don't know what the core of the piece is. You need to know where you're going or else the picture ends up looking like squiggly lines (which, admittedly, is a perfectly acceptable version of art itself, but it loses the plot). Perhaps while removing the periphery of this picture you can find what is important to the piece, but eventually you have to figure out what the art exists for or you'll never end up with anything satisfying.
The same thing, funnily enough, goes for life. I've always known that I love books. I've always known that eventually I would focus on books to the near exclusion of everything else. But I forget basic things, and I forget my plans. I get caught up in the day-to-day machinations of life, and I forget about the bigger aspects of what makes me happy, what makes me whole, and why I've been eliminating the lines from my picture of a life for the past three years. It isn't until I remember and act on it that I embrace what I cherish.
Books are satisfying to me on a level that few other methods of entertainment can muster. It's a broad hobby, one that within itself there are dozens of options, paths, and routes to take. It can be a frugal hobby, using the common resources of the public library, or an expensive one, by amassing your own collection. It can be physical large or small, digital or analog, non fiction or fiction, novels or poetry, however you like. Oftentimes for me, it is all of those things, interchangeably and also imperceptibly whole.
The reason why I continue to read, after all these years, is because it hones my concentration. Do you think I'd be able to crank out multi-paragraph essays on a daily basis if I didn't have an ability to focus? Books function as a sort of target practice of my mind. It allows me to enjoy the things around me I sometimes take for granted. Similar to meditation, books give me something to pool my concentration into and to funnel that mind-juice into, giving my brain ample topics to consider later on while whittling the hours away at a mundane part-time job stocking shelves to pay for rent.
Books help me practice my concentration, my brain busting skills, my vocabulary and turns-of-phrase. They assist me in expanding my mental visual capabilities, my memory and capability to create maps of intricate patterns and relationships. They teach me emotional ranges, from pity to empathy to anger to surprise to terror. Perhaps I pick the correct books to read, but rarely do I ever read two books that felt the same emotionally. There's always something different about every book, even if the difference is hard to notice.
There's something simple about books that I enjoy. Even eBooks. I'm not sure what it is, but it appeals to my nature, which gravitates toward the quiet, gentle aspects of our messy society. And on a final note, and final notes for books: when you're done and don't want a book anymore, giving to a friend is one of the most rewarding actions you can do after experiencing something alone. The quiet sharing of solitude is an intimate and beautiful thing. I never regret buying a new book because the process from my enjoyment to another person's enjoyment is amazing.
I will continue to post articles under the "My Minimalism" heading to fully explore the reason for which I minimize the excess in my life. Hopefully they are some use to you, but for me, they are particularly cathartic.