An Exercise in Contentment

I dropped my phone last week.

I’ve dropped it plenty of times before, but this time was a bit different.

Sarge and I were taking selfies on the front porch after our long run. My phone slipped out of my hand, bounced down two steps, and landed screen-first on the concrete.

I noticed a few scratches on the outside edge, and thought, “Meh. That sucks, but whatever.” Then later that evening I was sitting on the couch reading a book on my phone, and I kept seeing something strange on the screen. I thought it was a hair so I kept trying to brush it away. Then it hit me. Fuck. My phone screen is cracked.

I did what most people in our society would do.

I closed out of my Kindle app, opened up the Amazon Shopping app, and started browsing for a phone replacement.

Nick walks in and I tell him what happened. His reaction was similar to my first– “Oh that sucks. But it’s not like you’re going to get a new one.”

Uhhh.

I sheepishly tell him what I was in the middle of doing.

His reaction caused me to pause.

Why did I immediately think I needed to replace my phone?

Over the past year I have become obsessed with the ideals of simplicity, sustainability, minimalism. Like most Americans I have wayy more than I could ever possibly need. The ideals of simplicity, sustainability, and minimalism intrigue me, and I find myself yearning for that to be my reality.  I tell people that I’m “a minimalist at heart”.

So there I was– faced with a real-life situation where I could actually apply these ideals, and instead my natural reaction was to purchase a new one.

“It’s broken. It’s no longer perfect. I must need a new one.”

How is it that we have become a culture that is so quick to throw away money and material goods? Boredom, maybe. Or discontentment. Because our society has made it too easy to toss things and purchase new?

The next time you find yourself mindlessly shopping or replacing items in your home, considering asking yourself these questions.

  1. Why am I doing this? Am I bored? Am I unhappy with the direction of my life? Am I jealous of someone?
  2. Do I actually need this item? Can I borrow it? Can I go without? Can I continue using it even if it’s partially damaged?
  3. What would I do with my time and money if I completely forgot about this item?

In reality, my phone is totally fine. Yes, there is a crack across the screen, but the rest of the phone works perfectly fine. I have no problem making/receiving calls or messages, the camera works, I can use all my apps, my battery life is the same.

I have decided to use this situation as an exercise in contentment.

I won’t say I’m lucky because I don’t really believe in that (I think the daily habits we form set us up for success), but I have enough and can be content with that.

The only thing we have total control over in this life is our reaction. Do you react by choosing materialism, less money in your bank account, and attempting to keep up an image– or do you react by choosing simplicity, frugality, and contentment?

I want to be the person that chooses the latter.

♥amanda maureen

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