What the fuck is with simple living?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
~Confucius

I’m sure more than a couple people are wondering what the fuck simple living is, or the related question of why the hell I’ve decided to live with what most people would consider “next to nothing.”

Wikipedia’s definition of simple living is a lifestyle characterized by consuming only that which is required to sustain life. As to why the hell I own “next to nothing?” Because the more I own the more I have to pack up when I move. Because you can only fit so much in a tiny house. And last, but not least, because it’s amusing to see just how little I can live with. Of all the crap I’ve let pass through my life, I’ve missed maybe one thing. That’s it. And I missed it only briefly.

Also consider the fact that I don’t feel like spending the rest of my life working 50-60 hours a week until I retire. If you want to do that, fine, but ultimately I’d rather spend my time sleeping, eating, reading, playing video games and just generally bumming around. I’m lazy and don’t like working too much.

And in order to do that, you have to accomplish one of two things: either make so much money somehow that you don’t have to work, or need so little money you don’t have to work. Personally, I think the latter is more achievable.

Part of achieving that means no debts (see that Wikipedia definition). That means living off of as little as I can while I pay off what debts I have. It means that I’ve decided that I’d rather lay around all day than own a big screen TV, a nice car, or a huge house. Those things just aren’t important enough to me. My cats are important. My books are important. My health is important. Other things…not so important. Waffle irons, Blu-ray, makeup, knick-knacks, the latest iCrap. Not important. I do not need to spend money on these things, be it purchasing or merely accommodating them. I have more important things to spend money on. Like food. And…food.

I’ve decided what’s important in my life and anything that doesn’t make the cut gets, well, cut. Life is short and I don’t have time for bullshit. No time for crappy movies, bad books, or working my ass off at effectively minimum wage to buy something I’m later going to forget I own.

So over the past year and a half I’ve been on a near-constant purge of my possessions. Anything I don’t need or absolutely love leaves. I don’t spend money unless I’ve exhausted all other possibilities or I can justify the number of hours it took to pay for it. (For example, the computer “monitor” cost me a week of my life.)

You know what? I don’t miss any of it. I don’t miss the stuff, I’m not in enormous pain from not having a large amount of disposable income. And on the flip side, if my apartment burned down tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss most of what I own now. Sure, it’d be a pain replacing it, but psychologically it wouldn’t damage me the way it would have a couple years ago. I’m no longer defined by the bullshit I’ve filled my life with. There are a few things it would kill me to lose…mostly small gifts from friends or other particularly sentimental objects that I’ve kept. But the rest of it…it’s just stuff. Crap. Shit. Junk. Filler. I’ve mostly whittled it down to only the useful, but there are still a few hangers-on.

Effectively, simple living and minimalism means paring down everything. Paring down the finances, the possessions, the commitments, until only the cream of the crop is left. The clothing I love most, the music I love most, the books I will read time and time again, that and only that.

It’s also nice to know that if someone broke into my apartment they’d likely steal my monitor (and possibly the computer) but there’s really nothing else of immediate value. Burglars beware. This apartment probably isn’t worth it.

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2 Responses to “What the fuck is with simple living?”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I like to put it more simply than that. “I value mobility, flexibility, and time more than I value things.” I think that pretty much sums up everything.

  2. …Waffle irons.

    That made me laugh. :3

    So many things are useless– there as mere “impulse spending” and nothing more.

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