Friday, January 14, 2005

Simplifying Life

Simplifying Life

What does one do when one is lazy to write about anything "serious"? Just write about mundane, everyday stuff--like yesterday's power blackout.

I was working at home when the power went off suddenly. Feeling a bit warm and stuffy at home, I decided to drive out and work from a Wi-fi hotspot at one of the air-conditioned malls instead.

But when I started driving out of Subang Jaya, I realized that the blackout was bigger than I had thought--all the traffic lights were not working. I immediately anticipated the worst: massive traffic jams in the city and being trapped in my car for hours.

I quickly changed my mind, and decided to just park at USJ10 (Taipan) and tried to find an airy spot at one of the outdoor cafes to work, hoping that my batteries would last me at least two hours. I ended up at Coffee Bean; the place was completely dark and they could not serve any hot drinks at all. But it was comfortable enough just to sit at one of their outdoor tables and work on my laptop, albeit without an Internet connection. Luckily the power came back at around 2pm in the area and I was soon happily connected to the Net again.

Well, I was lucky. Others had it worse: being stuck in a lift, stranded in an LRT train inside an underground tunnel and trapped in the gridlocked traffic. The entire city had come to a standstill.

The situation made think about how helpless we have all become without electricity. We grew up without a lot of the comforts that we have now been accustomed to; for example, almost three-quarters of my life was spent without air-conditioning but now I cannot even sit and work comfortably for one hour without it. What happened? How did I become so "handicapped"?

Despite my self-imposed austere way of life, I'm still very much dependent on many of our modern day luxuries. But can air-conditioning really be considered a luxury? We can argue that it has even become a necessity these days.

But I used to be able to sleep and work without air-conditioning and I had no complains about it then. Why should it be any different now? Theoretically I should be able to revert back to my old living standards if I choose to.

I've always considered a simple life as the happiest kind of life. The more luxuries I acquire in life, the more I'm convinced this is so. I have actually tried to simplify my life a lot over the years.

Am I a happier person because of that?

Maybe. The only way to find out is to first earn all the luxuries that one yearns for deeply and then slowly relinquishing them one by one. Otherwise it could be just sour grapes.

Why should one even bother to pursue such a ridiculous path?

Well, sometimes it is a spiritual calling. Sometimes it could be just plain twisted thinking. If the thought hasn't occured to you, then you're OK. But don't be surprised if it does.

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