Be happy with very little

Be happy with very little

The less you have the happier and more free you are. Possessions weigh you down. You need some things, obviously. But too many enslave you and place demands on your time.

If you work all hours to be in a position to buy consumer goods, you have little freedom. You’re cash rich, but time poor. It’s even worse if you buy things on credit as a fair percentage of your salary goes towards paying off your debts and the interest charged on them.

And what’s it all for?

Very little in the end. Truth is, possessions bring short-term pleasure, but don’t bring happiness and contentment. It’s a vicious circle similar to drug addiction. You keep needing your fix of short-term pleasure and thus have to buy more and more stuff. Eventually you don’t even feel much pleasure anymore, but you have to keep feeding your possession addiction to keep yourself on a level. The alternative is possession cold turkey, and that usually entails some degree of depression…

Of course, when it comes to possessions, you need a place to live, be it rented or bought. But how lavish does it need to be?

I personally like to live in a detached place. I don’t like apartments or houses joined to other houses. This is because I like peace and quiet, and to be able to make whatever noise I want to make.

But I don’t need a mansion. A mobile home (with good internet) is fine, so long as it is far enough away from other mobile home dwellers. A bungalow is okay too. Really any structure that keeps the weather out, can be heated, has running water and sewage, power and high-speed internet.

If I had a mansion it would demand more from me in terms of property taxes, upkeep, filling it with furniture, and keeping it clean and tidy.

But going back to possessions…

The less you pile your place up with them, the easier it is to move. Again that means you are more free.

To me, a couple of mattresses on the floor is fine. You can sleep on them and use them as a makeshift sofa. Apart from that I’d need a high-spec Linux laptop, printer, books, TV hooked up with an Amazon Fire Stick, and a small but high quality sound bar (with deep bass when required).

Add to that, a cooker, pots and pans, plates, knives and forks, cups… whoa, even that is starting to sound like a lot! Still, I guess it is the basics.

The main thing is to avoid clutter. I don’t want too much stuff around. In fact, if somebody tries to give me something, I usually say “NO.” But you’ve got to watch out on birthdays and Christmas as people (with good intentions) insist on giving you stuff. This impacts your level of freedom as you feel obliged to keep whatever they give you.

Oh, I also like to have a car too – not just for getting from A to B, but because I really enjoy driving. But more on cars and driving in another post.

Philosophy

Jimmy Lee Shreeve View All →

Author and journalist

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