I am 30, earn well, moved around, live in evergreen state in U.S.
Pandemic gave me more alone time, more opportunities to slow down in life
And I want to share one topic that has been constantly bothering me along my journey, especially since I moved to U.S. by myself during Pandemic.
What do I really need?
– It's different with what I want
– It's different with what I have
– It's very different with what I think I need
– It's absolutely different with what others think I would need
I love to ask this question, it keeps me honest and keeps exploring myself
Over the years, I went through cycles and cycles of these questions, it is across my book selections, music, clothes, furniture, electronics, career, friendship, financials, relationships, family, life goals, where do I want to travel next...and I am sure it will continue in rest of my life
It's not an easy question to answer.
Sitting at my SLU apartment, thinking of how to get rid of a lot of furniture I bought 3 months ago when I moved into this place, after weeks of thoughts when I finally realized that I need to move to a smaller apartment with very limited things with me.
When I decided to take the current apartment, I was so excited. This place has everything I wanted: big windows, access of private patio, ground floor that I do not need to wait for the elevators, modern design, new full kitchen, very close to my office means I can walk there everyday, and it has enough nice space for me to host house parties as I usually do. I bought outdoor dinning tables, benches, rocking chairs, decorated with nice grass wall and lighting bulbs, not to mention how many new cookwares and hosting stuff I bought for potential house gathering events, so on and so on...
I had all the reasons I thought I need this apartment, regardless that I need to pay 3K dollars each month for it. I planned financials, I planned how to arrange furniture inside of the place, lighting, music, projectors, wine glasses... Everything sounds perfect. And it was, when I got everything setup, it looks as perfect as I expected, I was happy and satisfied, just cannot wait to announce to the world about the amazing place I have.
But, there is the problem. No one wants to have any group gathering in a new comer's home during Pandemic.
1 month, 2 months later. I start to realize that all the things I have around me are not utilized as I expected, I enjoyed them for a while, then I cannot get continuous satisfaction from them.
I was trying to ask why to myself? Then I realize I was working backwards from what others might need, what I might need, instead what I really need.
I do not think this is sth I did wrong, but it's certainly something I learnt that I am really glad. I thought doing sth others need would make me feel great, and this drove me making those purchasing decisions. And it indeed happened many times in my life, that I gained tons of satisfactions from those house events, home gathering, dinners, coffee afternoons and romantic nights when I know others liked it. I am sure it is still a great thing to do if we are not in a Pandemic, but now reality is I need to deal with a new situation and organize my life differently.
If I may narrow down on one specific areas: physical things I need.
Over past few weeks, I was asking myself everyday: what do I (only I) really need now? I kept putting things I do not need away in storage area:
– I donated 95% of my apparels. Shoes, Clothes, Socks, Bags..
– I giveaway all my books to neighbors.
– I sold all my electronics products that I haven't use for over 3 months.
– I donated/threw away all decorative things in my home.
– I limit cosmetics and make-ups to one small bag.
Eventually, I was able to fit all things into one carry on luggage and one backpack. I felt so stress free since then, I can always close my luggage, grab my backpack and go anywhere. I have my life with me.
Home? What furniture do I absolutely need to live in this apartment today.
– Bed set, plus 2 sets of bedding sheets.
– Dining table and 2 chairs
– Small standing table for projector
– Office table and office chair (may be eliminate later if not WFH)
– Stand lamp (I hate installed light in bedroom)
That's it. 7 things I need to worry about for now. So I decided to sell all the rest . If I need it later? I can buy one if I really need to then.
The lesson I learnt: stop buying things you might need more than 2 weeks ahead. I still imagine what I want and what I would need, but I do not buy it unless I absolutely need it now. We are living in an extreme convenient society, where a house could be built in days, I really do not need to plan more than 2 weeks ahead.
Now I feel so good. At any time I know I have 2 luggage and 7 furniture I need to worry about. I cannot promise that this will never change, but I am really glad I learnt this, and I know a light life is something I really need now.