You might have heard the saying: “Enjoy the little things in life!”. This is a passive thought. The fact that you should enjoy things that are small in your life implies that your life already contains such moments, that they may be rare, that you should be on a hunt for them. You might be at the point in your life where all such moments have vanished, caught by the rules and expectations of a heavily industrialized society. I would like to suggest a better quote, transforming it to be more pro-active: “Make your life smaller, then enjoy it”.
Depends on you! Think of varying degrees of “smallness”. At the extreme left of the spectrum you might have possession-less living, at the extreme right you might have hoarding and continuous purchasing. Most people fall somewhere in between. Society is biased toward pushing us gradually toward the right. As we move to the right, we invest capital, efforts and most importantly, time. You can always get more capital. You can always work hard to achieve your goals. But you cannot make more time.
As society pushes us to own more, buy more, spend more, we should try to own less, buy less, and spend less. Now, don’t take this thought to an extreme! We are talking about the middle of the spectrum, where there’s balance between time and the rest.
For myself, traveling in a popup camper is allowing me to understand the left part of the spectrum. After having lived in apartments and houses with driveways, living in a small tent for a prolonged period of time is teaching me what’s on the left side of the spectrum. It’s teaching me that I do not always need electricity wherever I go, and when I do need it, I use it sparingly to conserve batteries or I use the sun to recharge them. I do not always need a high speed internet connection, edge speed coming from my phone (when I have enough signal) does the job just fine. I don’t need to watch cable TV or movies, a sunset or sunrise is much more appealing (and I almost forgot how it looked like). The space inside the popup camper is quite small, so the number of things I own and use for my everyday essential needs has been drastically cut down. And it feels great! I have fewer things to take care of, and less bills to pay. I code and write for a few hours every day (well, most days, especially if it’s rainy), then I’m off to hike a trail, view a panorama, play board games with my wife, read a book, practice martial arts or simply enjoy a sunset.
But this blog post is not just about me. It’s about you, too. Ask yourself how much time do you have, right now, to do the things that you enjoy in your life? If the answer is not much, make a plan, leave fears aside, downsize, and start exploring the left side of the spectrum. You will not be disappointed.