Some time ago in another blog post I touched briefly my life philosophy. I mentioned “going lightly” in context of being always ready to go. But that’s not all at all. It’s something very important for me, very precious to my heart. It also has a wide meaning which can be sorted into three categories: people, things and experiences. It doesn’t mean I treat people equally to things, it just means that in all areas of my life, both mundane and ideological I use the same approach. I like to think it makes me internally consistent.
I do not gather many things, I have discovered that every thing I own demands my attention. A car, a computer, an online service, well, anything needs attention from time to time. Sometimes it’s a few hours to buy new tires, sometimes it’s a few minutes to update an app, it all sum up and when summed up it takes a lot of resources. Money, time, energy, all of those are limited and the more things I have, the more they require.
And that’s not all. The more we have, the more we want. It’s quite primitive human instinct but it still works. Going further, the more we have, the more we worry. We worry about losing what we have, we worry about someone having newer version of anything we have, we worry about things we have. So I decided to not have those things.
I don’t live like a monk, absolutely. I have and use modern devices, a computer, a smartphone and many more. Some might say I like gadgets and technology, and they’re right. But over the years my relation with them has changed a lot. I use tools and I treat them as a tools, which means that I have one thing of each kind, and every devices I have must have a purpose. If I don’t use something for a few months, it means I don’t need it, and it’s time to let it go.
There was a time when I was present on social media. It wasn’t good for me, I was constantly distracted and triggered. There was a time when I read a lot of news, with the same result. It doesn’t serve me well. I remember one day, when I got a panic attack because a lot of apps started to send me notifications. It was a dozen of new messages, a few e-mail and some reminders, in one moment, one after one. It was too much, and my brain crashed. It became clear to me that I have to live differently, my brain isn’t prepared for such amount of information and stimuli in such short time. The open question is if other people brains are prepared. I don’t think so, but that’s way outside my interests.
Simple activities bring me the most joy. I really enjoy sitting on the balcony at the evening with a cup of tea, writing post or a note to self, reading a book, watching a tv series or just sitting out there and thinking. I enjoy listening to the music at Sunday evening, when the world is going to sleep and prepares for the next week.
Back then, when the world was different I travelled often. I couldn’t say I travelled a lot, but I’ve seen a few countries, I’ve visited a dozen of cities, I was here and there. I liked it, I really did. But then I realized that a lot has changed, I changed and I don’t need to travel around the world to find the inner peace. I have found it in the place I have never thought about. Inside me.
There are things that I liked in the past, when I was taking part in the rat race, because I did and I have no problem in admitting it. But those things are the past, and I can’t imagine myself in a busy restaurant anymore. I prefer eating good simple food with my friends and partner, sitting in our kitchen.
Discovering new music is something I still like, music is important to me and sometimes I find something interesting. But there are albums which I know from the first to the very last note, and I still love them deeply. I don’t need to go to the biggest concert halls, I enjoy them in my home with headphones on my ears. I know I might sound like an old gruffy dude who doesn’t enjoy life anymore, but I do enjoy life. I think I enjoy live more, and the hustle less. This is what I want to think these days.
This journey has started a few years ago. I realized one day that there are so many people in my life who doesn’t bring any joy to my life. I don’t expect everyone to be positive and optimistic all the time, I’m grown up, I know how the world works. But many times I felt like I’m a backup solution for someone. Like, I was contacted when the person hasn’t had anything better to do. I realized that after a few hours with another person I felt exhausted and miserable.
I tried, I tried so much to heal those relationships and those people. It took me many years to realize that it’s not my duty to heal others, especially when they don’t see the need to do so. So I gave up. I closed those relationships and moved on. I was doing it again and again until I realized I’m alone. There was a time in my life when I was absoluty alone, I had nobody to talk, nobody to meet, nobody to love.
I was lucky because at that time that was something I really needed. I didn’t crave for another people, I took that time to heal myself (it was a first step, which I didn’t know back then) and after some time, when I was ready I started to build my community again. I met a great folks, I met my current life partner back then. It’s been a journey worth a separate post!
Of course I was in doubts, I thought that maybe I kicked off from my life someone who didn’t deserve that. So I tried to contact them, some to apologize, some to check if they saw what I did. They didn’t. This reassured me of the rightness of my decision.
I have made difficult decisions for which I take responsibility and with which I still agree. Some were hard and brutal like ending some relationships, some were lighter and natural for me, like closing social media. There were many things I did, many moves I made, many steps I took. But as a result today my phone is silent. My time passes motionless. I’m bored. It’s quiet. It is calm. From time to time one of my friends writes me a message, other sends me an e-mail, sometimes I talk with another one by a phone. I have friends! I have many of them, much more than back then, when I was surrounded by people.
But those are real friends, they care and they write after a few days of me being silent, which happens regularly.
My phone is silent, because I don’t have many apps that could send me a notification. I can check an RSS reader, I can scroll a Mastodon timeline, but both those activities will take a few minutes and then I start to be bored. So I read a book, or watch a movie. Sometimes I go to the shop to buy a magazine, I still like reading magazines.
I do not live in a hermitage. I use modern technology, I even think I’m quite good at using it. My devices are fully synced and I communicate with friends on four continents. But in the same time my world is small and calm, every device I have – I use intentionally and I do not allow them to use me. Those are my devices, not I am theirs.
Slow life became my comfort zone, and I happily came back to it every day after the work, after the hustle of a big city, after working with people on the projects I really like, but which are demanding and complicated.
There’s no need for me to find another system, another tool or framework to manage things, files, bookmarks or whatever, because I don’t gather them. There are important documents on my computer and there are important tasks I have planned for tomorrow. But those lives in simple system being part of my simple life.
And there are people, people who I love, who love me, we met, we chose each other, we decided we want to walk through the life together in one or another form of the relationship. We care about each other, we talk, we share interesting things and we share memes. But we have time for each other, we can step down from whatever we do, and we spend time together.
And I feel regenerated, refreshed, after those precious moments, and it means that I chose well, and I hope they feel the same.
Silence is needed for music to shine, space is needed for people to love.