Less Materialistic, More Happy life!

Have you ever feel guilty, eating expensive food and drinking fine wine while children are dying in poor countries? I did sometimes, and recently I am reflecting how selfish I was (probably am), wanting material things (shoes, belt, watch, camera lens) when I already have what I need to do my activity. It doesn’t matter how many I had, I find myself wanting more. I’m blinded by my obsession and get in the rat race, but thankfully I realized it before I got stuck in it. Living surrounded by poor fellow makes me appreciate more what I have, it reminds me of my healthy family, the chance for learning medicine, and all the facility I could use.

Now I feel free of wanting material things and decide to pursuit more meaningful life. From my point of view that means:

– Don’t buy things with the same function I already had
My family is damn crazy, we had (I said this with embarassment) no less than 15 iPod although we don’t even use every of it. This is total waste! One iPod per person is sufficient, two is more than enough, but 3.5 per person is shameful. The same thing goes with iPad, 2 for every person. And don’t ask how many shoes my mother and sister have (I believe more than 15). I know the model is different and we should match it with our clothes….bla..bla…bla… I think it’s non-sense! Even if we have to had extra pair for emergency, 3 shoes is enough (sport, casual, formal shoes), 3 bags is enough (backpack, messenger, and briefcase), everything more is an overkill.

– Why not give what we don’t use to people who could actually use it?
In the last 3 months, our family had been eliminating “trashes” (not actually trash, but things from our past which we don’t use anymore) and it have been a joyful experience. You’ve got to try it, having more material things will not bring you happiness, but I found being as simple as I can does brings me happiness. We give out all bags we will not use anymore (can you imagine college student using spongebob backpack?), blank notebook, novel and comic from my childhood, mattress, stationaries, decoration, mugs and kitchenware, gameboy, nintendo ds, old handphones, board game, printers, and practically anything we will not use anymore that still in a good condition. Even some of it is brand new, we also eliminate plastic bags and price tag, real trashes to where it belong. It’s joyful experience! If you want to try it, start doing it from one room to the other to avoid mixing stuff in different categories.

– Avoid buying things you will not use in the next 5 years
I’m planning to buy e-reader to replace buying 100 paper books each year and use less paper when necessary. It will saves time when I’m cleaning my room next year and year after. And everytime I want to buy anything (decoration is forbidden, bags, accessories, etc) I ask myself will I need this in the next 5 year, do I need to replace my current belongings? How is this thing will improve my life or apperance? If the answer is no, then I can’t buy it, I have to be honest with myself.

What does this “cleaning my house” program impact to my life? First it feels good to have less, having only things I will use saves time for me when searching for things. It feels good sharing my belongings with those who could use it better than i do. Third, it makes cleaning (brooming and mopping) easier with less object to be cleaned. Fourth, I can’t imagine how much I could save (actually I still live with my parents and I use their money to buy things I want, I’m 19! Shame on me though) by not buying things! From now on, I will design my life as simple as I could to prepare myself travelling the world!


About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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