There is this Korean show called, The Human Condition, luckily subtitled, in which six comedians (sometimes with a guest) live together for five days as they complete missions relating to how we live.
The first mission was for them to live without TV, the Internet, and their cell phones. Some realized how much they spent glued in front of the television set or surfing their rank in social media. While some realized how much they relied on being connected electronically that they barely had face to face interactions with others.
They had to figure out how to order a land line, and since their cell phones were confiscated at the start of the show, they had to try to remember their family and friends’ phone numbers, etc. They soon had to learn how to adapt and realized that they could learn to live without these luxuries–if only for a short time. 🙂 Most of all, they bonded as they spent the time they usually spent watching tv, getting to know each other.
They had other missions like living without accumulating trash. This one was cool because the production staff secretly followed each of the six members, picking up after them (including putting all their food wastes in large vials) on the first day. The members realized how much trash they created in just one day, and learned how to reuse, recycle, and repurpose every single thing they used by the 5th day. They were pretty creative.
This week, their mission is to live with minimal stuff. They had to pare down their needs from 100 items in their apartment to 20 items. This time they had a guest. The production staff was evil, I feel, because they sometimes had cell phones as one item and cell phone chargers as another.
Eventually they were able to limit what they needed to 20 items, giving up the refrigerator, microwave, sofa, bed, etc. The first episode of the new mission ended with them cooking ramen noodles in a pot, and realized grumpily that they should not have given up chopsticks for spoons as their chosen utensils.
When I lived in Japan for a few months, I realized I didn’t need all the stuff I brought with me. I learned to travel much lighter as a result. I also learned not to accumulate so much stuff (although I need to work on not buying too many books).
I think, especially in the US, we live in such a place and time when it is so easy to accumulate. I look around my place and know I have too much stuff, especially shoes and books. I have a lot of clothes I haven’t worn since I bought them months, maybe years ago, still with their tags, and I had just donated three large garbage bagfuls a few months ago. Sad! Also, I live alone and my freezer is full of food.
I know I probably could live without a lot of what I have. I think I need to cull some things and donate.
I am grateful to shows like The Human Condition. They really make me think about how I live and how to live better consciously.
How about you? Do you think you have too much stuff? Could you live with minimal needs?