I choose to make my life simpler. And I work to achieve that by minimising what I have – be it in terms of material things around the house, to the commitments or projects I undertake, or even to the social circle I keep.
My guiding principle to the process of minimising what I have is the simple question of asking myself “What adds value to my life?” That itself is sufficient for me to determine what items to keep and what items to throw/donate. I have learnt how to detach myself from material things through the constant reminder that when I die, none of these things will follow me to my grave. That feeling of not being attached to worldly things is so liberating and it gives me a sense of serenity within me. This is also why I no longer keep mementos. Mementos tend to make me relive the past and I do not want to be caught up wishing to go back to the past – no matter how good the memory is, especially how good the memory is – because I want to focus on living and enjoying today.
With respect to commitments and projects, I have learnt how to say “No” without feeling guilty for doing so. I believe in the importance of doing less but making sure that whatever little I’m doing has the maximum output value to my life. This is where I apply the Pareto principle. Since I’ve used this method, I find that I am finally able to complete whatever I have undertaken and that in itself gives me the most satisfaction and thus the most value to my life. I have learnt that saying “No” to certain people or things doesn’t equate me to being an asshole. The good people respect my decision regardless of whether I have provided an explanation for my rejection. Those who respond negatively only proves to show me their lack of character.
This brings me to my next point – the social circle I choose to keep. I have let go of friends who no longer add value to my life. I do not keep friends who do not stand by me in times of hardship when I go to great lengths to be there for them. I no longer hold on to friendships that are already dying and hanging by a thread because we have all grown apart. As an adult, I am much busier now trying to cope with my responsibilities. It leaves me with very little time, energy, thoughts, and emotions for my social circle. Therefore, I choose only the best for me to invest my precious time, energy, thoughts, and emotions on. I choose to have deeper and more meaningful friendships with people who can add light and positivity to my life. Not only that, I choose people who can enrich my mind and my soul – who can teach me new things and motivate me to be a better version of myself. I am too old for drama right now so I avoid the kinds of people who tend to create drama. I also avoid spending too much time on social media – that is one place where so much drama happens. The less time I spend on social media, the more time I have to enrich my life, and the more time I have to actually sit down and meet up with my friends.
I don’t apologise for the choices I choose to make. It might seem selfish. But I honestly do not believe that it is wrong for me to want something better for myself. A better reality for myself in which I am at peace, satisfied and serene. By simplifying my life, I am able to avoid unnecessary drama and focus on the important things in life. I maximise my time and effort on the things that matter so much to me and these are the things that give the most satisfaction to me. At the end of the day, all these worldly things are only temporary. The less I am attached and caught up in it, the better it is for me to focus on the hereafter. Keeping my life simple has made me become a better Muslim and a better human.