This is not an attempt to have an opinion or try to find a new aspect in this crisis. I am just writing about my own experiences, and anybody else’s might be different.
I have always been a minimalist, long before it was fashionable and a movement. I have been disposing and donating stuff relentlessly. I’ve felt – and still do – that sentimental items are time capsules. If you look at them every day, they tie you to your past, especially if they belong to a category of things that we hardly buy anymore in the digital age. All the physical books on my shelf dated from decades ago. The philosophical aspirations mirrored back at me were forever the ones of my 16 year old self. I felt relief when they were gone. But I kept my Viktor Frankl books. I am still trying to watch or read something related to physics or engineering now – to anything I have experience in. But it is that phase of juvenile philosophical self-study I draw on the most in the moment.
When all the duplicate items, needless items, sentimental items are gone, only the truly functional ones remain – tools and stock of stuff. A few weeks ago I cleaned out office supplies we purchased more than 10 years ago – items never touched because they had been made redundant by their digital counterparts. Things made from flexible rubber usually undergo very interesting phase transitions, so they are useless after a while. But binders and pockets for DVDs are still like new. It also felt good to ditch them; even those mundane items seem to silently talk to you – about what your company, your “office” was about, or should have been. Now I am watching tutorials about making masks, and I am happy about the plastic sheets and wires I did not yet dispose. Getting rid of stuff ruthlessly might be a privilege of a society that can take supply chains for granted.
I have been thinking hard about self-sufficiency and independence for years. It had changed me – personally and professionally. But now I am learning new things every day.