Updated: Sep 10, 2020
I broke my phone recently.
Luckily I'm the type of person who backs up frequently, but when I saw it laying there on the ground, suddenly a brick, I realized I'd still lost something. Messages, photos, app progress...
Initially, I thought I was glum about it. I thought I ought to curse myself for being so clumsy, having never broken a device like that before in my life. I thought I ought to be regretful.
Yet...for some reason, I didn't feel much at all.
There's a quote that comes to mind, and it's something that I keep quite close to my heart:
Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can't remember.
This quote from Spirited Away, I think perfectly sums up my feeling. As someone sentimental, I do hold onto a lot of things. Old KakaoTalk messages, little Rement figures and plushies, photographs of way too many cats, even cute little pieces of packaging that I like to scrapbook.
However, as some of those things were wiped away in that split moment, I realized that I didn't feel sad. For everything still remained within my head, and I think, sincerely, in my heart.
Following on from it, I decided I wanted to apply something more firmly to my life. Simplicity.
I'm already a pretty organized person. I keep a diary, a calendar, a list of things to do. Even the pamphlets I get handed on the street or plastered to my door are organized into sections. It's not to any obsessive level, and I'm happy to do things on a whim. I simply like to sort through them and utilize what I own.
Life becomes easier, I think, when you stop cluttering it. Both with physical goods and with digital commitments. Some people Tweet hundreds of times a day. How many of those Tweets will they actually go back and read? Does every single one truly matter?
Maybe. It's a bit much for me though.
I have a stack of physical Switch games I've barely touched, and I bought those in the Summer of last year. I'd like to play through them before I buy anything else. Collecting is fun, no doubt, but it's important to make use of the things you have first, before you buy more of them.
Having a new phone with a clear inventory was a breath of fresh air. It matches my laptop, with files sorted neatly, my makeup/skincare being organized into drawers, and my new attitude to photo taking, where I only take the camera out if it really counts for something. Better to see it with my own eyes, for as I said, it'll always be with me in some way. They say too, you'll remember even more vividly if not through a lens.
That should be taken as a positive thing. Our lives are rich because we live them, not because we fill them to the brim with content. Taking a step back and looking at what we already have, what we've already achieved, is so important.
This is coming from someone who constantly sets goals for myself. I have a list of things I want to achieve this year, and intend to share on this site. I keep it simple though, no matter how lofty the endgame may be. Every day I work towards them. I keep a record so I can see my progress and be proud of it.
Anything I buy, I'll make the most of. I'll take the best photos I can, and cherish the ones I keep. Messages that are sent to me won't be so quickly replied to, but rather read carefully, appreciated fully, and archived if I want to read them again someday.
I'll experience as much as I can, without being overwhelmed by it.
Contentment makes a perfect foundation. Accepting and loving what you have is important. You can still grow on top of it, you can seek out more, and do so however you please. Having already achieved my greatest dream in life, I felt content going forth from that point, living life as I am now, and keeping it just minimalistic enough that I can truly appreciate everything, right down to the tiniest detail.
There's a balance you can strike. Go out there, do as much as you can! However, don't let it get away from you. Don't let your inbox clog up with thousands of messages, or your photo album get consumed by 50 copies of what's essentially the same image. If you haven't used that app in three months, uninstall it! Never worn that shirt? Donate it to someone who will. Because taking a more minimalist approach doesn't really mean giving anything up.
For in the second that a seeming disaster happened, I realized I hadn't truly lost anything. It was like a blessing to have a blank canvas handed to me whether I liked it or not. It forced me to really think about how much my life had started to get clogged up.
I think in short, what I truly care about is creating a legacy, a good one. I believe that all lives on, we do, as do our memories. At the end of the day, we are ourselves, not what surrounds us.
So it's alright to live a little simply if you want to.
At the very least, it's worth a try.