I don‘t own a house, nor do I have a bed or a wardrobe for that matter. 90% of my personal belongings fit in my backpack which I‘ve used as my reach-in wardrobe for the last ten months. I did relinquish a lot and started to focus on the important aspects of life.
I stopped buying things a long time ago. And by things I mean clothes or other non-edible materialistic items. I realised I didn‘t need them. Why? Not having to worry about what I will wear today actually doesn‘t limit my life but enhances it. All the time spent worrying can be used to do something useful. We see this world as a place with almost no limits or boundaries. But instead of increasing life experiences, all those choices hinder us to live life to its fullest. Humans like easy choices. So instead of choosing between 40 different shirts to wear today, I grab the one I own and wear it proudly – we tend to be more content when our choices are limited. Less is more. Minimalism is key. We need to protect ourselves from endless offers on amazon, in the supermarket, or our wardrobes. Invest in quality not in quantity.
One of the saddest example of over-stimulation is our excessive use of the smartphone. The average smartphone user spends between two and three hours on his*her phone every day, checking the display every 18 minutes, according to Alexander Markowetz and his study Menthal. We glance at our phones every now and then, because it enhances the dopamine level in our brains. Every message is a sign of approval. It turns into a vicious circle, because we develop a need for these dopamine shots. The more we use our smartphone the more we check our displays, the more we want and need to use it – and we do it unconciously. I needed to change that as well.
So I started to limit my smartphone time. Also I limited my consumerism. My life got better after that; I gained a lot of extra time that I usually used for nonsense. Since I was kind of forced to get rid of my stuff before I moved to New Zealand, I donated a lot of my clothes to refugees in need, gave my precious collection of Gin and Whisky away to students in need and left my valuables – Technics turntables, my record collection, bike and winter clothes – in my mom‘s basement. The rest is gone. And it feels amazing. Maybe it‘s time to start rewarding yourself not by buying stuff but by not buying it – or giving it away.