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Shattered Rift

Ascetic Living

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I got back from a two week trip to Utah on Monday, and similarly to my traveling last summer, I traveled light, only really having my phone for entertainment. I'm currently gearing up to relocate in that direction, and I'm finding myself planning to travel light, computer and phone being essentially the only forms of entertainment that I'll be taking with me.

What I found interesting last summer was how much more easily I was able to concentrate and contemplate the circumstances of my life. I've never been the "connect with nature" type that experiences something similar, but here I did, and I found the focus incredibly valuable.

Most of you probably know that I grew up as a gamer and spending much of my teenage years online. It feels surreal to look around my room now, to look over my bookshelves filled with movies/shows/books/games, and to both know that I don't care for many of them and want to strip them away (at least in presence: I still want to own them).

I'd like to ask, how many others here have experienced something in this vein or another, and has it influenced your material approach to life?

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I guess I've been in a similar situation. I moved to Japan two and a half months ago and only brought my phone/ps4 and a few pc components. (Along with clothes etc..)

That might still sound like a lot, but I never actually finished building my pc here as I originally planned. Considering that before I came, that was almost solely my life, with all my media, it's been a big change.

 

Plus my previous room was filled with 4 consoles, a huge collection of games, a bunch of books, a guitar and my pc. I honestly doubt I'd have ever got rid of them had I not moved to the other side of the world, but now that I have I don't regret it at all. 

 

After arriving I started going out a lot more, and had more time to think about life in the first month and a half. Since then though, my ps4 has just sort of become a replacement pc and I've fallen back into my old patterns somewhat. I'm still being more social than before coming here, but it's still not enough honestly. Self reflection is all but gone. 

 

I guess that's the end for this particular vaguely coherent ramble. I don't really have any good way to tie it up. 

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What prompted the move to Japan?

It's interesting to hear that you never finished building your PC, and it's fascinating hearing that you don't regret cutting out a lot of your gaming collection/etc. That's the kind of thing I was hoping to hear about. I had never really thought of myself as materialistic while growing up, and I always tried to keep a good sense of which things were essential to me (the Mega Man painting Nebiros gave me, Yu-Gi-Oh! playmats, dance notes, and a small handful of other more sentimental things), but traveling without them made me realize how distracting so many of them were just by being around me all of the time.

I don't know that I'm going for any kind of brilliant insight or particular direction. The fact that you've become more social is worthwhile in its own right, especially because that's one of the reasons that's prompting me to pack light when I move.

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I grew up almost entirely without video games. We weren't exactly poor, but my parents bought more house than Dad's peers, so several years I was eating bread with pizza sauce and leftovers, watching a black and white TV with a coat hanger for an antenna (the family TV was usually off limits), and reading the encyclopedia because it was more interesting than my parents' book selection at that age. When I got access to the family TV, I spent as much time as I could watching it. It's not quite the asceticism you're speaking of, but in retrospect, I found the limited access made it too much of a focus. TV became precious, and when finally the restrictions were gone, I spent too much time watching TV, playing games, etc. Over the years, I reached a saturation point where I realized the TV would get by just fine without me, and I was not really enjoying a lot of the games I was playing. Right now, I'm far from an ascetic lifestyle - I have a TV, 2 computers, a smartphone, 2 consoles (up from 0 a couple years ago), but I find it only becomes a focal point if I have something specific I want out of it. The TV only gets turned on if I want to do something - watch a new movie, watch a TV series I'm feeling nostalgic about, etc. The Wii, despite several games I haven't touched hasn't been turned on in months.

On the other hand, the computer and smartphone are my links to the world. I do everything through them, and enjoy the lack of clutter they provide.

 

Now, a dumb question for you - Electronics have never cluttered my life. Government, business and busybodies have. What are you doing that let you live your ascetic lifestyle without massive piles of paper when you come home? I separated it out one month and the stack of garbage that was pure advertisement was more than 2 13 gallon trash cans could hold, the mix of bills, tax information, "keep for your records" documents, and other such garbage was about a third of another 13 gallon trash can, and that was before getting into the things I had carelessly gotten myself into (eg. donating to charities).

 

Incidentally, never donate to charities unless you can do it anonymously. They all abuse your contact information.

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11 hours ago, InuyashaOhki said:

When I got access to the family TV, I spent as much time as I could watching it. It's not quite the asceticism you're speaking of, but in retrospect, I found the limited access made it too much of a focus.

I hadn't considered the opposite(ish) approach. My saturation came at a young age, having access to both the family TV and my brother's NES for about as far back as I can remember. I can't remember how old I was when I got my own TV. What I do remember more clearly is that I split my time between video games, playing outside (bike riding, hanging out as kids do, wandering around a nearby park, and jumping on a trampoline), and then later cutting back on video game time once I reached my teenage years and instead pouring that time into online ventures. For me, having a computer was something that came much later, but my fixation on it came from... I'm not really sure what caused me to focus so much time and energy into it.

11 hours ago, InuyashaOhki said:

Now, a dumb question for you - Electronics have never cluttered my life. Government, business and busybodies have. What are you doing that let you live your ascetic lifestyle without massive piles of paper when you come home?

I'm not sure if I get a limited amount of junk mail or have a limited number of records I need to keep, but these things usually only eat up a few minutes each day. Perhaps I'm treating them too lightly, and I haven't actively done anything to remove them from my life, but in the context of where my head was at in posting this thread I've never focused on them beyond those moments I spend sorting through and throwing them out. They don't hold my attention for any longer than they have to.

Perhaps our age difference has something to do with it? I'm in my late twenties, and I forget if you're five or ten years older than me. (Then again, my brother has a decade on me, and I don't think he has too much more of a problem with this than I do, so maybe it's regional?) With the transition from paper to digital advertising, there might be greater forces at work there.

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I moved because I wasn't happy with life... Had zero idea what I did want to do in life and wanted a year away to just enjoy myself, travel and maybe come up with some plan 

 

I would also say that I'm not sure me cutting my gaming collection etc was something that I would have really benefited from if I still lived in the UK so not sure if it would apply to you. It's just that it was somewhat necessary to do in this situation, but I don't regret having to do. 

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Posted (edited)

On 4/19/2017 at 0:06 AM, Shattered Rift said:

I'd like to ask, how many others here have experienced something in this vein or another, and has it influenced your material approach to life?

I've experienced this twice... I believe it has influenced my material approach to life. The first time, I didn't have a computer. Slept on the floor pretty much. I was very bare. I bought a $100 computer later on. I bought maybe 2 new sweaters.

I didn't have much because I was living in a corner of a room. So getting material was not an option for me.

The 2nd time was because of a job offer.

I came up with my computer, clothing and some documents.

I accumulated a lot of stuff I think. Got a shelf, drawer, got a free desk. I think these are essentials though.

Some things that are not essential are some cooking tools that I wanted and ended up not using. Got a small sandwich grill and a pressure cooker I'm not using. 

Brought my bike but ended up not using it much. I have 2 bikes now, looking to sell one of them. 

Because I have some spending money, I've been buying stuff off Amazon only. Like new shoes, clothes, containers. I think I went overboard with some things. 

I think a number of other things affected my material approach. When I didn't have money, I save things up in case I need it another time. I wanted a lot of stuff.

When I got a job, and was able to spend on things, I did not start to hoard or collect thing. But I tried many things that can help my life a little. Like running, jogging clothes. Some terry cloth towels for cleaning, an air filter, bicycle equipment, a fan, etc. 

I do grow some plants, and currently at 6 potted plants in my room. I often get the urge to get more, but due to space and more work needed for care, I stayed firm at 6 for a while now. 

The other material thing that's probably bad is my computer. I got two good computer. I rpobably don't need a $500 SSD, $800 graphics card, $800 CPU+motherboard... Maybe went overboard... I think I got an Xboxone at $500 when it first came out. I learned to not buy consoles ever again.

I guess another thing that helped me on not hoarding is... I think I might move around a lot. It sucks having a lot of furniture.

Room size, storage space accounts for how much material I accumulate. 

Also, I live in a shared house - so I try not to have too many value things. If they steal my bed, OK. Steal my clothes? OK I got ugly clothing. Steal my plants? I'd be sad. Wait, I have a pretty nice jacket I wouldn't want anyone to steal actually. 

Some valuebles I left at my parents place are some magic/yugioh cards. Got a Diablo 3 collector's edition box. I secured these things so they don't get thrown out. If I ever get a house of my own, I'd store these things in it of course. 

 

 

Edited by Bed

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On 04/20/2017 at 0:18 PM, Shattered Rift said:

Then again, my brother has a decade on me, and I don't think he has too much more of a problem with this than I do, so maybe it's regional?

I have to assume that is the case. I see the same sort of piles at the houses and apartments of friends and family I'm close enough to that they don't feel the need to tidy up before inviting me over. It might be that my state (we do have "must be paper" laws for insurance, possibly other things) or the 2 counties I've lived in as an independent adult (didn't have the problem as a student in the third county I lived in, but I was a dependent, registered as living with my parents, and got piles there).

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