Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Living simply

I was quite intrigued by Bro8888's article on living with 100 things only. It's not so much about the number 100 that matters, it could easily be 200 or 1000 articles. Rather, it's those type of questions that when asked, will lead to more questions that will shine light on what really matters to you. It's something like one of the question that Mr WB had asked - if you only have 10 stocks that you can buy in your entire life, which one would it be? Something like that lah :) This kind of question forces one to think about what is really important.

When I told that question to my gf in a cafe for dinner, I replied my own question. I said that I would be quite sufficient to have what I had brought with me when I met her for dinner. This is what I had then:

1. A columbia heavy duty haversack bag
2. My highly durable Nalgene water bottle
3. My pencil case with stationary inside
4. My organiser
5. An umbrella
6. HTC handphone with internet data connection
7. Wallet with the necessary cards inside, for withdrawal of cash, transport and credit purchase etc..
8. Whatever clothes I'm wearing + Jeans. Definitely a pair of hard, worn out jeans
9. My super durable Clarke shoes that I had been wearing for 16 months now
10. Old casio watch with alarm and light

If I can bring along my kindle dx, I'll be even happier. If I have to travel, these 11 odd items will be sufficient for me. A laptop / desktop would be nice but not really essential. These are the objects that I really need in life. Life can be so simple if you limit the number of personal belongings to a certain digit. I think that's really what the original article is trying to point out.

But I guess having those articles with me wouldn't do. While I do not need a lot of material comfort, I do need emotional comfort. I need my gf with me, I need my close friends around me and family as well. There was a time where I was obsessed over a scratch on my new watch or my new phone but I had grown over it. I think one of the most important thing is to distinguish between objects and people. Objects are replaceable but people are not so easily replaceable. If a child drops your ipad, would you rush up to tell her that it's alright or would you give her a good scolding for damaging your new gadget?

As I age, I realise that I do not need a lot of things. There are a few things that I wished to get but the desire wanes over time and I ended up not buying it. There's this headphones that I wanted to reach aural orgasm, this particular graphics card that would make my gaming a few notches higher, this gaming console that would provide endless fun, this electric guitar and awesome amplifier that churns out insane riffs and this hot car that would make my travelling so much more fun and convenient.

Nah, maybe not anytime soon. I'd rather work less and acquire less of such things than to use my limited time to work to save up for it. If the desires boils up to a need, then I'll get it. If the desire boils up until it dries up, so be it. I'm still the same person with or without it.


PanzerGrenadier said...


I for one realised that I spent my youth chasing the 5Cs and when I am there, they mean less to me. :-)

Happiness is within. That is a lesson that I continue to learn day by day. It's hard in materialistic world that sees consumption of material goods and lifestyle services as a good thing.

Once we learn that lesson, how much stuff we have in our lives mean less than what meaning we can find in what we do in our lives.

But the paradox is that I still won't say no to winning the $1.5m TOTO that I occasionally punt...hahah

Be well and prosper. :-)

la papillion said...

Hi PG,

Haha, what a fast response :)

You're right you know, while we don't have to be materialistic, it doesn't meant that we have to live an austere life. The distinction lies in whether the things we buy or spend on fulfills our goals. Just don't spend money to vent your anger or frustration, that's what I mean, haha :)

It'll be a miracle if I win TOTO, especially so when I don't buy it! :D

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

Oh dear. I bought a new car because I was feeling depressed after banging my current one. :(

AK71 said...

Actually, it was not just banging the car... To be more accurate, it's really a culmination of 3 weeks worth of stress and negative vibes... Buying the new car cheers me up. :)

la papillion said...

Hi AK,

Haha, I understand :) Sometimes after a very tough period of stress and nonsense, I also buy myself something good. Retail therapy :)

I try to keep that to a minimum though, because usually for such impulse buys, I almost always regret because I didn't shop around. The point is just to spend money immediately to make myself feel better. It definitely works :)

PanzerGrenadier said...


If you can afford a new car, why not? :-)

It is for you to decide if it's a good buy. Who are we to judge? ;-)

For me, the allure of "stuff" has lost its appeal. My last toy was my iPhone 3GS bought from proceeds of a successful punt. Now, I get greater satisfaction from spending money on learning a new language as plan B for future retirement options :-)

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

Yup, you are right about impulse buying and regretting later on because of not shopping around. It happens to me too. Thankfully, I usually buy something because I like it very much (even if it was on impulse). So, still happy lah.. but the price might have been a bit on the high side.

Hi Panzer,

I think the car is a beauty. Small and sporty. First time I have ever bought something so compact. The price is much higher than a few months ago because of the expensive COE in recent times. Should have bought then but I didn't think of buying a new car a few months ago. In absolute dollar terms, this is still the least expensive car I have ever bought. :)

Thanks for the encouraging comments, guys. :)

Jeremy said...

To be contented whether in poor or riches is a blessing, for everything will soon come to pass over the short span of one's life.

Jeremy :-)

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi Jeremy

The challenge is that we know the theory on contentment but find it difficult to accept in practice! :-)

The paradox of life!