Monday

What Is Ever Enough?

When is enough ever enough? I've been realizing that more doesn't necessarily make you any more happy or content. And less doesn't necessarily make you miserable either. In the end, more or less shouldn't affect you. Why let your happiness or contentment be reliant on what you have or do not have? That in itself is a miserable way to live!

I chanced upon a book in the library by Dave Bruno called The 100 Thing Challenge. It's about how this guy got rid of nearly everything that cluttered up his life, his home, his work and how he essentially 'remade' his life by cutting down on everything. It's a humorous and thought-provoking read.

I realize that I don't ever want to get stuck in the life that I have superficially built for myself. I look around and I realize that a lot of people are cooped up in their own little fortresses. And they don't realize that they're stuck in there by their own doing. We can look at it two ways: one, is that you're safe from the outside world while you're in your fortress of high walls and high security and stuff that you think belong to you; two, is that you are actually imprisoned by the very high walls you've built around yourself to 'protect' you from the outside world. They're so high and full of what you have acquired in life that you can't even climb out even if you wanted to. That's how I'm seeing it.

I don't want to drown in the pile of stuff I have accumulated over time. It seems to me that the recurring mantra of the world is 'more and more', and not for one second is anyone thinking the opposite: less and less. But why not? Is having 'less' really that bad or undesirable?

It seems to me a rather depressing cycle. People work and work, they start businesses, they keep thinking of new ways to make it work, make it bring in more money, and so on. Maybe at first they start off with a good purpose, or they have a good reason:  because they need to provide for their family, they want to be in the position to help others without having to worry about their own finances, yada yada. I don't contest working hard and earning money, of course. But once we already have what we need to live quite comfortably, to do what we need to do and even a little more, why do we keep going like what we have will never be enough?

There's a seed of greed in each of us, I believe. We can justify it and keep justifying our need for more, for better, for greater comfort, to the point that we lose sight of what we really, truly need. And what is that? If you really take the time to search your heart, maybe you will find the answer.

When I got back from my one month solo backpacking, I will admit now that I began to see my room (and my life) a little differently. Three months later (which is now), when I started packing for my next trip (Israel) and packing all my stuff into boxes (my family's moving house while I'm away), I realized how little I actually need on a daily basis, and in life in general. I mean, I don't need all this extra clothing that I don't even wear unless on special occasions. And on a daily basis, I'm pretty simple. I wear something presentable and comfortable, and that's it. I could wear roughly the same things. And the last three weeks since I packed all my other clothes into boxes, I've pretty much only 'survived' on a few pieces of clothing.

To my amazement, cutting down on the amount of 'extras' I had, didn't make my life miserable or uncomfortable or anything at all negative. In fact, I've felt lighter. I look into my closet and only have a few options, or not much option at all (if the only two other tops I have are in the washer). And you know what, it's flippin' liberating!

Less is not bad after all. Really. I don't have to waste time looking for things (or through things). I don't waste time trying on various options and feeling like I need to buy more clothes so it will give me more options, so I don't have to waste any more time looking for the right clothes to match. Oh what a lie! Do you see it now?

As I sorted through all of my stuff, I realize that this problem of thinking you need more isn't just confined to clothes and apparel. It spills over to jewelry (even if mine are all cheap ones haha), gadgets, books, shoes and all these other mischellanous stuff. And I don't even use them! So why am I accumulating all these things that I don't even really need?

To be honest, I'm hardly the kind of person who likes to accumulate stuff. I don't like hoarding things and I don't like a messy, clutterred room. I can't stand coming home to a room that's got too much stuff in it, it clutters my mind, and I hate the feeling of a cluttered mind. But still, there's a lot I could still cut down on and give away. I think moving to the next house will give me the opportunity to do just that.

So again, here's the conclusion: more doesn't necessarily make you more happy or content. And less doesn't necessarily make you miserable. In the end, more or less shouldn't affect you. Why let your happiness or contentment be reliant on what you have or do not have? That in itself is a miserable way to live. In the end, it's your attitude that will determine how full or empty your life is.

~ J a n i e ll e

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