Asked what you can’t live without, you’ll probably mention your phone, your wallet, a favorite book, or a memento handed down to you by your grandmother. We are attached to these things. It’s normal to get attached to things.
Much as we want to say that we want to value memories more, the sentiments we feel could not be saved in a bottle or box that we could go back to and are therefore fleeting except for the things that remind us of them. We have also been conditioned from our early childhood to get attached to things.
When does this attachment become a hindrance to our full experience of life? When it holds us back from doing what we would have wanted to do, we’re afraid to risk losing these ‘things.’ When acquiring something has become the goal of our existence instead of seeing them as support to our enjoyment of life.
It’s when we spend countless sleepless nights in our work because we want to buy a nice car. It’s when we give up the chance to spend time with our loved ones to get holiday pay. When we are giving up our time, our energy, health, basically our life, to acquire these things, attachment to things becomes very problematic.
Often, people will make an excuse about working to secure their future. But the future that is yet to arrive doesn’t need you to waste your present. There are simple ways to ensure a comfortable future without risking your limbs right now. Invest in bonds. They won’t make you a multimillionaire, but neither would they force you into bankruptcy like stocks. You could also invest in passive income like real estate you could rent out. You could find a loan for a house with an easy payout scheme. Working hard right now to be rich and fulfill all your wants someday is not the way to secure your future. Perhaps, what you would need to do is to condition yourself so that you don’t have too many unnecessary wants in the future.
As we are advised to continue isolation measures due to the still unresolved pandemic, maybe we could take this time to reflect on our priorities and the things that are holding us down.
Get a taste of living a compact life
You could take the current advice to stay in isolation and work from home with a grain of salt. Pack up a bag, and go on a long isolation trip. Pack just the essentials. Limit yourself to a large backpack or maybe a carry-on luggage. It would help you realize what your needs are and what had been unnecessary conveniences.
You wouldn’t pack your entire makeup kit for this trip. You couldn’t bring your entire wardrobe, collection of shoes or bags, an entire closet of accessories. It’s not the selection of what outfits you would bring that is important. It’s the realization that you would survive even if you have two pairs of jeans, three shirts, and a set of underwear to clothe you for a month.
Ask yourself what your reason for going home is
Once you are away, reflect on why you would, later on, want to go home. Is it just because you don’t have money to keep on living on the road? But your expenses in keeping your home could be used to rent a room somewhere. You could explore new cities, live in different places indefinitely.
Was it your job that was holding you back? But what of now that you could work from anywhere you want? Is there still a reason for going back home?
Often, we have commitments at home that are difficult to leave. There’s our family, of course, the garden, and our pets. But they are not things in the first place. These are lifetime commitments. That’s why deciding to have them is also a conscious decision to sacrifice part of your life. This part now belongs to them.
Slow down your mind
Meditate. It could be that the environment we have at home and work has too many pressures. Advertisements, TV shows, colleagues at work are telling us that this is what we should want, this is what we should do. This is what a successful life looks like. And because we have these images in our heads constantly hammered on us, it becomes difficult for us to deviate from them. Take the time to quiet down and listen to what is inside you. What is it you really want out of life, and not what society is forcing you to want?
When the pandemic forced the world to slow down, many struggled not only because of the sudden lack of activities to occupy our minds with. We’re not physically rushing from one meeting to another, zigzagging across the world. And for some, it had not been uncomfortable to listen to their thoughts that had been suppressed by too much noise of outside influences. Some started to question. Has work, and their material achievements, become the meaning of their existence? Is it the way to live life fully?