So on Saturday I decided to go out with my friends in Hongdae. For the uninitiated, Hongdae is quite the initiation. It’s the trendy university area of Seoul and at night it gets grungy and messy and overrun with both Korean and foreign night owls alike. Considering it takes me an hour to get there, I don’t tend to prioritise visits to Hongdae in my life (I much prefer putting my obsession with food, tasty drinks and internet bludging first). But when I do go, it’s a bit of an occasion. Let’s party, wooo, yeahhh (it goes a little something like that)!
But this time, my wallet got stolen. Ay carumba!
When I first realised my bag had been taken from the table we were literally dancing right next to, I sort of felt disbelief. It’s an odd thing to experience the worminess of a thief and it doesn’t quite feel real. However, at this point in my life, I’m trying to make it a priority to detach myself from my physical possessions, because you can’t take them with you when you die and all that. Considering I am in a foreign country, this already frustrating occasion is amplified by the fact that without your Alien Registration Card (yes, that’s its official name), there are certain things which may become more difficult. Like, oh I don’t know, proving your identity and visa status when you have to go to the airport the following weekend (Thailand!!! wheeee!).
In all honesty, I didn’t really care about the crap that was taken. There is just something sickening and disturbing about someone feeling like they have a right to take what doesn’t belong to them, in any form. Like when people are greedy at buffets, it’s just so disgusting to me (lol), because I feel like we should just take what we need and not freak out over FREE FOOD (okay, I’m still learning on that one). But honestly, I just feel sorry for the person and if he/she (pretty sure it was a he – my bag was thankfully rediscovered in the men’s bathroom) really needed my 30,000won then he can have it. Also, my old pen-stained camera with photos of makeup products and children. But for some strange reason, he didn’t take my phone. I am eternally grateful that this happened to be a rather thick thief. I love my phone and it’s the most expensive thing I had in there, so I don’t understand this reasoning – but I’m not complaining!
So, right now I’m relying on getting money from my bank book, which I tried to use at the ATM yesterday and it didn’t work… about 10 times. I actually feel like how old people must feel when they use debit cards for the first time. ‘How does this thing work?! Do I put it in like this, or like this… why is it beeping at me?!’ were all thoughts running through my head as random Korean people came to withdraw cash. I was actually too embarrassed to ask for help, so I just gave up and left in a bit of a huff. I should add that Gav has lent me his credit card, but I’m actually quite enjoying having no money on me. I really don’t need it here (really), and combined with the fact that I have gone over my phone data limit and currently have no mobile internet on my phone (and it’s wifi connectivity is patchy – I’m glad I still have it but the poor thing needs a reset), I feel like I’m living in the past. Otherwise known as freedom. And I love it.
Gav was telling me Tim Ferriss calls our need for online connectivity AT ALL TIMES the “digital leash” and I completely agree with him. I don’t want this to be taken as complaining, because there’s so many good things that come from these amazing technological advances of humankind, such as the fact that you can read this right now. It’s incredible. But it does need to be managed, and that is where we slip into some murky areas. I always try not to check my phone at dinner, and I never leave it out on the table when I’m with friends. I actually am pretty “terrible” with my phone (much to my brother’s chagrin) and constantly miss calls and messages – because I’m so engrossed in the real world. Call me crazy, but I like life.
So I’ve started to go off on a bit of a tangent, but the main point of this post is that a stolen wallet really means nothing to me. I actually find it freeing and don’t really want to purchase a new one. Instead, I want to hunt in my cupboards and find a replacement from the millions of bags and holder-thingies that I have in my possession. I had an amazing time on my birthday, and was so spoilt, but the physical presents I received have just hit home to me the fact that I actually DON’T NEED ANYTHING. I have too much, and instead I want to spend my energy giving to other people. People who perhaps haven’t been as fortunate as me and who would really get a kick out of certain things that I now find mundane.
It’s an interesting way to feel, because I am in no way the richest person in the world. Far from it. However, I am lucky insofar as I am living in Korea and living a life that makes me feel like the 1%. I have too much money for my life here and can afford to buy anything I want. And it’s boring. Again, I don’t want to be seen as ungrateful because I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to feel this way. I would much rather be in this position than struggling and feeling despondent about life. I feel great – but I don’t need any more. In fact, I need less. It is then, ironically, that I know I will feel more fulfilled.
Money can’t buy us happiness, we’ve all heard before. Of course, everyone needs sufficient housing, clothing, food, etc. in order to life a comfortable life. But the amount of STUFF we consume is horrendous. Even just thinking about what was in my stolen wallet weighs me down. Nothing of too much important – receipts, coffee cards, a voucher from a student (which I wasn’t sure how to spend – and anyway, what would I buy?), a whole lotta coins and my pilates membership. All replaceable and, more importantly, all pretty inconsequential. I don’t have my wallet, or any of this stuff, and it’s fine. In fact, I think for the first time in my life I might forgo the temptation of coffee cards and perhaps other loyalty cards. I don’t want to be in the position where I actually gain some value from these jacked up “rewards point systems”. They are generally pretty terrible, and only give you the feeling of value, when really, you need to put down a lot of cash to get even a measly amount back.
I feel so light without this extra stuff, I’m actually sort of happy about it. Of course, I got upset on the evening it happened – because I thought I couldn’t go to Thailand and that my friends and Gav would be really upset. I also didn’t want them spending all my holiday money, ’cause I do need to pay for some things over there. Like accommodation and food. I haven’t broken the bonds entirely, but I’m trying. But the camera, the other stuff, I don’t care about. It’s a mean thing to do, but it’s something that someone sadder than me would do. So I can feel grateful for that.
All of this has been swirling around in my head for a while, well before my wallet was nicked. You will see in coming weeks more posts on organising, clearing out and minimalising. In fact, I have a ‘makeup cleanout’ post coming to you very soon, as well as an empties video. I’ve always found it hard to cut down on owning things, but I think now more than ever I have the ability and the inclination to. And I’m really excited about it!
If you’ve made it this far in this epic post, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this topic and hopefully gained some insights (at least into my busy mind). I’d love to hear your thoughts on minimalising – and any tips for organising and decluttering would be appreciated! I’m still learning, and I’m really excited about it :)
Until next time,