When I think of treasures, I must admit that the first thing that comes to my mind is that of a big pile of gold hidden away and forgotten for years and years – only to be discovered by a shripwrecked pirate’s captain or stranded passengers of a crashed plane.
As humans, I believe it is safe to say that one of our main tendencies is that of accumulation. our inner hunter-gatherer instincts take control of our minds, and tells us that having lots of things equals safety and stability.
When I was invited to study in Beijing, with a full scholarship and living stipend, my initial thought was indeed “great! then I can live a luxurious life with everything I want!” – and so I did.
Well knowing that I am only here for five months. FOMO kicked into full gear, whispering in my ear every time I was out shopping with my friends “you’re only here for a semester, treat yourself, if not now – when?, you NEED this thing” And I enjoyed it to the fullest.
I bought several pairs of shoes, a yoga mat, new workout clothes, dresses, sweaters, jackets and anything I desired, really.
And having more things in my life, did make me happy for a while. Indeed it is a great comfort to be able to have and buy whatever you want. But the thing about collecting things never ends. You are never sated by the rush of buying something new. Especially in a society where buying the right things from the right places is a sign of status, a tendency many western societies is slowly getting over.
Obviously, this constant yearning for stuff couldn’t last.
My life is saturated with everything I bought and want, but I am no better off for it. I now have a dorm room full of things that I am using, and things I am not using at all. And I was just as happy to be here when I arrived with a single suitcase full of clothes and books.
Frankly, I am bored with these things. I am nauseated by this constant rush for more, more, more!
Inspired by the lack of space in my suitcase and an impending journey home, I have stopped buying more things. And yet even more inspired by minimalists on youtube, facebook groups and in the blogosphere, I have begun cutting down on the things I already own.
And I must say. I feel better than I have in a long, long time!
Now I have freed up not only shelf space in my bookcase, but also space in my mind to focus on my studies and on reading books that I have never had the time or energy to pick up (and after I finish reading each one, I can donate it to our dorm building’s book sharing corner).
Paradise lost and found again
While many minimalists talk at great length about reducing the amount of material items you own, one concept that really struck me was the one of limiting the fluff from your life. This, I understood, is all those things that take up space and doesn’t give much positive impact back.
What immediately comes to my mind, is social media. I spend an absolutely horrific amount of time, mindlessly scrolling. Often viewing the same content many times because I simply refresh faster than new content comes out. I have tried to combat this by limiting the amount of people that I follow, but to no avail.
Until today, when my Facebook app decided to freak out and send me the same notification over and over. I reinstalled the app, but then found myself unable to log back in for the entire day.
And guess what?
Today I’ve been calmer, happier and more efficient than I ever remember myself being!
So while much of my inspiration for this journey towards a simpler life, comes from my social media feed, I have just learned that maybe letting go of a large part of my use of it, would be greatly beneficial to my life.
Sometimes, I suppose, the very source of our inspiration can be what drains the energy from us.
So excuse me, while I log off for a while.