Simple Life in the Philippines
Everybody dreams of the simple life. When things get complicated, when the stress of working and surviving gets too high, people stop to reflect whether this race rat is worth it. One of the attractions in moving to the Philippines is the idea of living a simple life in the Philippines. It has been said that the more money you have the more you spend and sometimes the more problems you have. Some of that statement is true and while other parts, not so much. The major cause of stress in life is the idea that I don’t have enough money to live the lifestyle that I want to live. How many times have we summed up a stressful situation with the answer of, “if I only had more money, this problem would go away”? But will the problem go away or we just introduce new problems in our life?
“Minimalism is about getting more out of life with less stress”.
Having lived in the Philippines for over eight years I have come to appreciate more the things I own and yet at the same time become embarassed by it. Being removed from the onslaught of western advertising media I have come to realised that I have been playing a game which I can never win. I bought into the idea that he who has the most toys wins when he dies wins, now I know that nobody wins but we all die. One look at my closet revealed lots of impulsive purchases that in the end were a waste of my hard earned money. These impulsive purchases never delivered the promised satisfaction claimed by the sales pitch, yet I bit into it, line, hook and sinker. I believed that a grey sweater with tags still on it, was such a bargin that I just couldn’t pass it up.
With these thoughts in mind, I have become interested in the minimalist lifestyle. Many people believe that minimalism is a fade in which you live with as few items as possible but really its about living with items that only have a value to you. In reality you can live with ten items or hundreds as long as they have a value to your life. Does an item have value, does it have a purpose in your life, then chances are that is an item to keep. For me and the grey sweater that was a bargin price, that item would either be given away or sold to someone who could get value from it. While examples of having a minimalist mindset is easier to describe in terms of clothing, it really applies to everything. Many times we practice minimalism and really don’t know it. One example is once all the kids have grown and moved out of your house, your wife and you may decided to sell the home because it is just too big for the two of you. At one point it served its purpose of providing room and shelter to raise your children but now it is just a big empty house. The value it has in your life is not the same as it was earlier so you decide to downsize.
Another example is one day your wife takes a look in the garage and decided there is too much stuff in here so it is decided to hold a garage sale. Deep inside yourself you know that these items no longer have value and them just laying around getting in the way is causing unwanted stress.
“Items that no longer hold value in our lives causes us unwanted stress.”