By KATELYN ROBERTS
With New Year’s resolutions devised, put into place and maybe even already abandoned, January and February produce all kinds of hip lifestyle buzzwords.
As a vegan, I already chant the antioxidant-rich language of organic superfoods and probiotics. Recently, however, the “minimalism” trend caught my attention.
Minimalists live efficient lives, and sometimes strive for self-sustainability. Utilitarian forms include tiny homes, living out of a backpack and carefully choosing what to consume.
I didn’t grow up as a minimalist. My parents raised me and my two siblings in a five-bedroom suburban home on a perfect cul-de-sac.
My toys included a storage tub filled with Barbies, Bratz and Diva Starz. I had princess pink curtains and a stained glass rose window, and I definitely knew how to trash a room during one of my wild play sessions.
My mom hosted huge parties, always bought decorations from Mexico for the back patio and saved every single craft project, homework assignment and school photo.
My dad preferred quality over quantity with his trips to the dollar store but if we didn’t clean our rooms, he threw everything away.
After the divorce, my mom’s new small home was cluttered and full of kids’ memories. My dad’s apartment was sparse and clean, and we ate the same thing every night.
This is important, I promise.
WHERE TO BEGIN
Minimalism has weaved in and out of my life, but always seemed like an unachievable, laughable, only-at-Ikea concept.
Still, the lifestyle appealed to me because I dislike mindless consumerism, product fetishism and society’s need to constantly buy new things.
Saving money and the world are just two perks.
I started by donating a lawn-and-leaf bag of clothes, shoes and bags, and a box of utensils and dishes, to my nearest Goodwill.
I resolved to make all of my own clothes in 2017.
For more inspiration, I watched a documentary on Netflix that has received lots of hype.
“Minimalism” follows two reformed rich men who travel across the U.S. preaching their minimal lifestyles.
The film makes Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus look like assholes. One longboards and the other reads his struggles as a wealthy man like slam poetry. There are no strict rules for minimalism and everyone’s interpretation is different, but I disliked the message of these two men who are triggering changes in so many people.
To me, minimalism just makes sense. I’ve had things and clothes and knick-knacks, and now I’m sick of the clutter.
But a lot of people haven’t had enough things to be sick of. Unlike these two six-figure-earning gents, most people can’t afford one nice $300 jacket instead of the five $20 jackets they recommend.
The minimalists addressed this on their website, after receiving some heat for preaching an idea that seems difficult to attain. Great, I thought. They aren’t so bad after all.
I was wrong.
The minimalists say poor people can benefit even more from minimalism.
“If we have less money, then we must be more intentional with how we spend it,” they write.
This mindset bothers me.
It’s the same mindset that doesn’t tip servers, the same mindset that tells those living below the poverty line not to enjoy a simple comfort like a beer or a snack.
Yes, it saves money to skip a latte or an IPA, but for many, that’s the only affordable pleasure.
I agree the world benefits when people feel released from pressure to own a car, home, television and the latest iPhone and video game consoles.
However, you can’t change the world by bragging in a blog about your lifestyle choices.
It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when followers tout the benefits of minimalism from a privileged perspective.
LESS IS MORE
Self-righteous minimalists give minimalism a bad name. My position is to take what you can from it.
I’ll continue living with fewer possessions and riding my bike to work, but I don’t plan on preaching my lifestyle to those less fortunate.
As I take my first steps into a more minimal life, I know I got my sentimentality and my need to save childhood memorabilia from my mom. Therefore, I allow myself unlimited picture frames for photographs and a drawer that stores (23 years worth of) birthday cards.
Minimalism can be for everyone, and it would lead to a healthier society. Let’s just be reasonable in our efforts.
Katelyn Roberts is trying to live a sustainable and efficient life in her 400-square-foot home in Barrio Viejo. Most of her belongings are for sale at Goodwill and Speedway Outlet.
by ALEX FRUECHTENICHT
Photos by Larry Gaurano
The All Souls Procession is an annual event that draws over 100,000 people into Tucson each year.
According to their website, “The All Souls Procession is an event that was created to serve the public’s need to mourn, reflect and celebrate the universal experience of death, through their ancestors, loved ones and the living.”
Starting back in 1990, the All Souls Procession has deep roots in the community, with people keeping the event completely donation-based funded.
Twenty-five years later, the event has grown into an event spreading across the country and even parts of Mexico.
The event lasts only a few hours, starting on 6th Avenue, heading down Toole Avenue until reaching the ceremonial grounds on Congress St. where the urn is burned.
The volunteers encourage everybody to help donate for the hungry ghosts in the event.
This year’s event held one of the largest amount of attendees, somewhere around 150,000 people to the streets of downtown Tucson.
by ALEX FRUECHTENICHT
While Tucson Comic-Con isn’t nearly as big as San Diego Comic-Con or New York Comic-Con, there’s no doubt that attendees take just as serious as they would anywhere else.
Held every November at the Tucson Convention Center, TCC is open to the public, allowing Tucsonans to unleash their inner nerd and buy some cool merchandise.
Many attendees choose to dress up as their favorite characters, or cosplay, and take photos with other people.
Each year, the attendance grows in both attendees and exhibitors from all over Arizona.
The atmosphere is always inviting and a great way to spend an otherwise uneventful weekend in the early November Tucson sun.
If you’ve never been to a Comi-Con, your next chance is Phoenix Comic-Con Fan Fest this December in Glendale.
Aztec Press photos by Larry Gaurano
Congressmen Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., held a forum on the topic of immigration at Pima Community College’s Proscenium Theathre on April 17. The forum turned contentious when several audience members began to shout during Grijalva’s and Gutierrez’s speeches. Grijalva and Gutierrez stressed the importance of becoming a documented citizen and using immigration law not to pursue families, but criminals. As attendees began to leave the auditorium, protesters gathered outside displaying signs supporting strict enforcement of immigration laws.
Students protest Gov. Doug Ducey’s 2016 state budget, which saw nearly $100 million in cuts to state education. While universities took major cuts, community colleges in Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties lost 100 percent of their state funding. Pima Community College will experience a $6 million cut, which led to a governing board decision to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour during a meeting on March 11. (Photo courtesy of Daisy Rodriguez-Pitel)
Every March, hundreds of families travel to the base of Picacho Peak to watch more than 200 re-enactors provide live, historically accurate accounts of the western-most battles of the Civil War. Popular among enthusiasts, adults and children alike, the booming cannons and occasionally hilarious portrayals of battles are both entertaining and educational. In between re-enactments, families are encouraged to explore the Confederate and Union camps and talk with re-enactors as they experience an authentic Civil War experience. Unique shops open their tent flaps to sell Civil War-style memorabilia and gifts.
By EDUARDO CALDERA
When I feel the need to get away, I often find myself making a trip to Windy Point on Mount Lemmon.
There I can leave the stresses of life behind, escape reality and find peace in nature while connecting with myself.
The summit, only a short drive from Tucson, provides therapy and healing to the soul.
In less than an hour you can be surrounded by hills and nothing but the soothing sound of the wind rustling through trees. With no cell phone service and just the right amount of distance from town, it’s the perfect location to clear your head and recharge your batteries.
Before moving to Tucson, I was not much of a hiker. Besides the occasional walk in the park or drive on a long open back road, I was rarely outdoors. I moved to Tucson mid-January and quickly realized I needed an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
I had moved from a town on the fringe of the suburbs of Phoenix where in seconds you could be on a dirt farm road with no one around. I desperately needed an oasis.
One day, on a spontaneous decision, I grabbed my camera, filled my tank with gas and started driving with no plan in sight.
I shortly found myself navigating the twists and turns of the Catalina Highway. Popular among tourists and residents, this lonely highway is the main route up and down Mount Lemmon.
Before I knew it, I came across Windy Point. With its breathtaking sunset views and therapeutic effect, I realized that I had found my safe haven.
Some of life’s greatest joys stem from a spontaneous decision. Don’t be afraid to jump out on a limb, do something crazy, something different. You’ll never know what lies ahead until you go find out.
Who knows, your Windy Point might lie just beyond the horizon.
Local high school students put their welding and automotive skills to the test at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus Feb. 7-8 in two Skills USA competitions. The events took place at the welding lab and the automotive lab.
photo by Megyn Fitzgerald. As a pizza driver, I get the opportunity to view and photograph lots of sunsets. I took this photo on my iPhone.