Sensibility As A Culmination Of Simplicity

**Note : This blog post is a revision of the one I originally posted a year ago entitled “To Simplify A Life Like Mine.” **

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Juggling two jobs for the last six years, I might not be the perfect embodiment for this subject, although I seem to be the kind of person who naturally or effortlessly falls into an austere lifestyle – more often than other people. I don’t know the exact reason why.

 Last weekend, I browsed inside a bookstore for several hours and spent a whole day’s salary to buy a Jorge Luis Borges’ classic. Such indulgence has become one of my definitions of time and money well-spent.  I have learned to exercise my privilege to yield to activities and things that inspire me – as my wisdom nowadays gets dictated by the simple pleasures I seek and perceive. But I’m aware as well it’s not what “normal” people do here, especially on a weekend.

There always has existed an ascetic soul hiding beneath me. The soul who has imagined of a charming place where I could be in the company of bohemian artists roaming around…preferably of starving bohemians who possess the mark of natural simpleness that renders good art possible. Where there’s lovely, spacious room to create and flourish. With ample time to dream. By splendid fools forever eager of fresh beginnings.

In my past, I have inevitably walked through the valleys of cosmopolitan wants and delights. Forbearance on shopping and consumerism wasn’t one of my strong suits in my earlier years – notwithstanding my lack of funds. Alas, the stuff that piled up went on to clutter my already disorderly younger mind whilst gathering dust – which I’ve perpetually disliked – inside my residence. So my mantra, when tempted by mall or store sales these days is: Abstain from collecting stuff if you don’t want to accumulate dust.

We know excessive stuff leads to chaos, and chaos derails progress. Learning my lesson well, becoming a “minimalist” has become a highly appealing concept for me in my 30s. I have not since wanted to go back to my previous lifestyle – now that I’ve reached my 40s. Really, what a gift it is to have freedom from possessions and clutter to be able to focus on the things that really matter in our daily lives. I’ve never been comfortable dealing with any kind of complications in my life anyway. Never had a desire to impress people with worldly goods as well. I’m of the belief a simple life bears no relation to the richness of your mind or personality for as long as you don’t lose that appetite for the sublime things in life.

With simplicity, you step into calm and beauty. You get to treat lonesome quiet as a friend, not as an enemy. It’s a ray of truth in my life; for my kind who guards space and privacy with relish and delight. With only one child to raise, it could have afforded me better chances to rediscover wonder in a different light. 

Most people would take a long while to come to this notion. After all, what’s thrilling about simplicity, structure and the ordinary? Or maybe it comes with maturity, even though I keep on witnessing how some “matured” people have remained trapped in their ethos of materialism. It’s true, simplifying or downsizing is still considered off the wall within the parameters of my society. We all know it is plain pointless to ram a lifestyle down anyone’s throat. And I’m saying this out of my apprehension that I might be accused of promoting a run-of-the-mill existence to anyone who’s capable of comprehending my way of life.

house photo

Try not to wince as I describe the present interiors of my tiny apartment – where you can find only the bare necessities of standard living: a refrigerator, a washing machine, two beds (I live with my son), a couple of medium-sized cabinets, a dresser, and an oven. My dining table and chairs are even foldable so they won’t take considerable space (Can’t risk taking on a single sofa. I’ve a cat. Visitors also sit on chairs). A television set? Sure I’ve got one (a very old model by the way). But it rarely gets turned on – and I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s ass by saying that – because my son and I are truly non-TV citizens around here. Ditto for owning expensive jewelry, clothes, accessories and whatnot which never was my style. Admittedly though, my battle remains with the plentiful of outgrown reading materials that I need to discard.

Travelling with heavy luggage is a no-no for me. And do hold your breath for this: I haven’t had a car for years now. I gave my last vehicle – which by the way had given me supreme hassles – to my sister in exchange for the rent-free abode she has let me enjoyed for so long (Yes, she owns my current digs. And of course she sold the car). Which means I’ve no problem being a jeepney rider all the time.  

Indeed I walk my talk – for the single reason that I am contented despite the dearth of luxuries in my present existence. I ain’t complaining at all.

Sensibility is the culmination of simplicity in the art of daily living. How I believe that.

Great people can alter their lives at will so they can better make clear and rational choices about the substance and direction of their lives. It’s not like I’m a great person – albeit I wish I were. So perhaps I’ll try to be one?

Or maybe I just was really a monk in a previous life.

Not that bad an idea.

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14 thoughts on “Sensibility As A Culmination Of Simplicity

  1. Hi Marj:
    Thanks to writers like you, English is a better language. I too have read Jorge Luis Borges in Spanish. I understand your minimalistic lifestyle, but I can’t resist the temptation of buying computer stuff. It drives me bananas. That’s my Kryptonite as Superman would say.

    God Bless,

    Omar.-

    • Dearest Omar,

      Pardon me for my delayed reply. I’ve totally no idea how your comment last night ended up in the Spam section. Thank God I took a glance at each item before deleting them all.

      My main purpose for this post was to challenge myself on how well I’d be able to improve my original entry. The lifestyle I have been leading these days is not for everyone, I’m aware of that. Also, being able to document here my regular happenings, perspectives and whatnot is enough, so my future grandchildren or great grandchildren, if any, would know how I’ve lived my life.
      And believe me, Omar, I can’t help splurging on certain stuff, too – like clothes and accessories once in a while. I understand very much your fascination with technology and gadgets. I am fond of them as well. Although my priority these days is to save sufficient funds to be able to do a little traveling soon.

      Jorge Luis Borges is one very fine writer, don’t you think?

      Thank you very much for reading this post and sharing your thoughts.

      With affection,
      Marj

  2. Hi Marj:

    Weird, that I almost got lost in your Spam section. Anyway, all is well that ends well. Borges is one of the finest artists in Latin America. If you read it in its original language (Spanish), its beauty is enhanced. Spanish is an ideal language for good literature. It’s a musical language where all the vowels have a rich round sound and vibrates like music to ones ear. As you know, Spanish is my native language. English is my blogging language.

    Take Care,

    Omar.-

  3. What lovely writing! As you write prose, I start envisioning poetry. Poetry that is about to take wings as it veers between Simplicity and that which is not so.

    How could we hold such sensibility as we are buffeted by emotions and beliefs, situations for which we are not responsible and so on?

    Shakti

    • Shakti, I am the one here getting blown away by the enchanting poetry in your every sentence. I honestly think I cannot be as good as you. More on spiritual and emotional simplicity are what I’m about to touch on in my succeeding posts and I’m guessing you already possess considerable expertise on this subject.

      From Henry David Thoreau’s school of thought: A crowded life in actuality leaves no space and no time for enjoyment; as crowding distracts the mind, dulls the senses, and starves the soul.

      Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a comment. I dropped by your amazing blog, too, a while ago and will be going back there as soon as I can to soak myself more fully in your wisdom and wonderful writings.

  4. What a lovely piece. I enjoyed reading your thoughts regarding minimalism and asceticism. I really think out planet is sick with people; and people are sick with stuff. They literally trade their life, in eight hour increments, for things. So often, the things are totally unnecessary. What makes a $100,000 car superior to a decent used car that cost 1,000? Not much. Both have four wheels and perform the exact same function. I definitely identify with you as we share a natural tendency toward a minimalism. I thought it was interesting that you, by choice, parted with your car. I was without a car for some time. I thought it would be dreadful but after the first day of commuting by bicycle, I loved it (except during rain and snow). Initially, as a former motorist, I totally overestimated how long it would take to travel distances on a bike. I found that biking was suprisinly fast. It was also interesting to see people’s reaction to my carlessness. So many people were shocked to see that I was riding a bike back and forth the 9 miles between work and home. They couldn’t believe that I wasn’t trying to get rides from someone. It was almost a form of social deviance to be without a car. I have noticed, when riding with friends in their car, if someone is walking along the street, motorists will often assume that person is a looser somehow. Here, in the Midwestern United States, no one walks or bikes for transportation. No matter how close a destination is, people will drive. Now that I do have a car again, I use it rather infrequently. Unless the weather is particularly bad or I have an important appointment where I don’t want to be windblown and sweaty, I typically prefer to bike. You said that you like to walk. What is the terrain like for pedestrians and bicyclists where you live? Are there many sidewalks or bike lanes? Are there cross walks at intersections and bike racks in front of stores where you could lock a bike up? Here, in the Midwest, there is really very little effort made to accommodate non-motorized forms of transportation. How about public transit where you are?

    • Your presence here has made my day. Sorry for the delay. I went offline last night (I usually go online only on weekends) . Limiting my Internet consumption has become part of my personal undertaking on downsizing. I get glued to the computer helplessly and pathetically if I don’t watch it :-).
      Now I’m becoming more and more enamored by your beautiful mind. So glad to learn you’re likewise into minimalism. To answer your questions first: Accommodation for non-motorists here isn’t favorable or appreciable enough as well. Bicycle lanes are almost non-existent and it’s hard to distinguish the borderlines of sidewalks. Both motorists and non-motorists fail to use them properly. My fellowmen still have a long way to go when it comes to traffic and pedestrian disciplines especially in lower-class areas. That I have to admit. Many forms of public transit are available. The jeepney has been my favorite mode of public transpo ever since because it’s most economical and convenient. MRTs and LRTs are available, too, but they’re overcrowded all the time. Oh well… 🙂
      I love bicycle riding, too. I think it’s cool – and so is walking along the street. My folks here would think not having a car is a sign of failure, but I’ve always thought differently. Even in my younger years, I’ve had no need to impress anyone with anything.
      Yes, I also don’t want to be a slave to material possessions. Don’t want to work my ass off for stuff I’d soon get tired of. It’s true. The simpler my life is, the happier I get.
      I’m glad you understand how I feel about this.

      Hey, I can’t call you PTFT :-). You got to give me a name.
      Thank you for your wonderful comment. I appreciate it so.

    • Now now, I’m beginning to get overwhelmed. 🙂

      I’m guessing you’ve got an insatiable appetite about many other things 😉 I wonder how anyone can cope with the challenge of satisfying you in those regards.he he…

      • If you think about it, we are all unsatisfied. If we were satisfied with and in our lives what would we write about ? Why would we want to communicate and be heard ? I don’t think life itself is about attaining satiety, it is about getting accustomed to the rhythm oscillation of satiety and unfulfillment that wash over us without a seemingly discernible pattern perhaps in preparation for the world that exists jut beyond our solipsistic wantings and desire….

        thats just one of my deviant thoughts

        Mr-Mary-ily

    • Not so deviant, MrMary-ily.
      You know, I was perfectly with you in the first sentences when I suddenly got lost in the middle till the end.
      At least, I have you to thank for – for my blossoming romance with my MrWebster here. 🙂

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