I would describe myself as a music fan. An audiophile. What is an audiophile anyway? Can we really hear all the little differences? Or are we just imagining we can, to portray ourselves as more, as better and more important human beings?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an audiophile: a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction. And a Cambridge Dictionary defines it as a person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about equipment for playing recorded sound, and its quality.
Am I this person? Do I fit this description accurately? I always thought I did. But in the process of minimizing my life, I realized I was a cheater. Cheater of no one but myself. Portraying to be someone I am not, betraying nobody but myself. Do you have any special items that define you? Maybe you’re a watch lover or a style icon? Or an athlete who hasn’t trained in the last 10 years. Why do you hold so strongly on those items? Are they accurate representations of who you are?
To grow, we must constantly question assumptions of whether something we desire is truly bringing us value or is imposed on us by advertisers, friends, family, or the world around.
For me, owning expensive audio equipment, was a desire to be someone I wasn’t – an audiophile. Don’t get me wrong. I truly appreciate music as an art. And I listen to it every single day. From the first second I wake up to the last when I close my eyes. For me, music is an escape from reality, a place of joy and happiness. I really love it. Love – an interesting choice of words. Can we love music? Or we love people? Well… I can say, I really love listening to it. Yes – this is a better choice of words. More accurate.
When I was 17, I worked all summer to buy Bose SoundDock Portable. For a kid who was incredibly interested in music, this system was all I could ever wish for, so I bought it. And then a few months later I bought a Samsung HI-FI system. Wondering why?
Ever since I know myself, I had a problem that when I value something too much, I tend not to use it. The same happened to my Bose SoundDock. I gave it so much value that I chose not to use it at all and preserve it for as long as possible. That’s why I got a second audio system. What a stupidity. And this is just one example. I made the same mistake over and over again.
I would buy something I really wanted, and then displayed it in a showcase, or even worse, buried it deep in a closet or box. I bought many items and then gave them so much value that I created a false God for myself. What a waste of money and time.
My best clothes were rarely worn. My calligraphy pens were waiting in a drawer for me to pick them up and create something beautiful. My ‘precious’ audio equipment collected dust. Waiting for better days. For days when I will finally use them. Someday.
Want to know what happened to all my ‘precious’ possessions?
In the last few years, I sold almost all of them. Gone are all my precious and expensive items. I sold everything in duplicate, everything just for display, and everything I never used much.
My life is simpler now. I only have things I really like and use all the time. They serve a specific purpose, and I no longer see them as something special. They are just tools in my arsenal.
Interestingly, I am not alone with the problem of worshiping my stuff. I know many people who do the same with clothes.
They buy something they like so much that they don’t wear it. In their mind there should be a special occasion to wear a special outfit. A dream day or night, because an ordinary day doesn’t deserve special clothes and it’s unfair to wear them.
Are you sitting somewhere right now reading these words in your ‘not so special outfit’? Are you wearing those faded jeans and a college hoodie from the college you finished many years ago? And your best clothes just sit there in the closet? Waiting for some special occasion.
I had the same problem with clothes, as I had with things. I had unsurprisingly nice clothes, but they were reserved only for exceptional occasions. For a Christmas, or a special party, or something. The result? They went out of style without ever been worn more than 5 times. And then I trashed or donated them. What a waste…
The problem is we buy things for the life we want, not the life we have. Most of us live ordinary lives with jobs and obligations, therefore we need functional clothes and things. Those 20cm high heels won’t be worn at a day job, or that special blazer won’t be worn for grocery shopping.
If something doesn’t fit your lifestyle, you have two options:
Wear your special clothes often and be the best-dressed person in every room you enter. Use all your appliances, things, and knick-knacks daily. If you don’t – see option 1.
Only buy things that serve a specific function. Not to say you can’t buy something stylish. Sure, you can, but be sure to use it daily. Our things are just tools. Use them.
Don’t think your things will say thank you for keeping them pristine. They are made for use. And when they can no longer fulfill the only purpose they have, they should be discarded. Their purpose has been achieved. By sitting in a dark closet and collecting dust, we do them a disservice and don’t appreciate the craftsmanship of a designer who designed them.
Change won’t happen all at once, but slowly, steadily, commit to using all your ‘special’ items, and when they finish with what they’re designed for, say thank you and goodbye.
Remember: Every day is special, so use your special things to make it even better. Take your precious china and silverware and use them. Wear only the best clothes you have. Don’t let your expensive turntable sit in the room collecting dust. Life is too short to wait for someday. Don’t live in the future, it may never come.
Embrace who you are today, take a deep breath, and toss everything that doesn’t fit your current lifestyle.
Do you have any particular item you keep for a special occasion that just sits and collects dust? Let me know in the comments below.
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