While I couldn’t currently move my stuff into a 1-bedroom apartment, studio or efficiency, if we equate decluttering to fitness, I’ve recently made significant good short-term victories for downsizing the apartment-mansion. Buying this Wingull gashapon recently might seem materialistically regressive, but it, along with the Pignite, represent my sort of Nuzlocke (see examples) attitude toward objects. Rather than clutter my mind with choices, I make one choice, then discard it if it doesn’t work out.
Let’s start with a grocery shop stop earlier this evening.
Where once I would have explored the discount racks, toy aisle, music aisle, and anything else that might have caught my interest on a leisurely adventure through consumerism, I had an objective to buy groceries and get home. It’s 11:03PM as I write this sentence and I still haven’t written my 500 words daily. I could have spared the time to check out at least one or two of those aisles, it’s just that I’m not interested in them much anymore. It’s not due to any sort of depressive episode, because I certainly know how those are like; it’s more of a sense that I have enough stuff, and adding more to it won’t solve any sort of underlying issues with my life that buying things once would temporarily alleviate.
Yesterday, I bought some stickers, and the day before, the Wingull.
That day was full of consumerist potential – two music stores, two videogame stores, two bookstores, and a handful of curiosity shops – where each stop had sights that I might have once indulged in purchasing. Highlights include one music store with a Nirvana bootleg I didn’t exactly have, one videogame store with some games that half caught my interest, and a Murakami poster at one bookstore reinvigorated my interest in buying some errant books. I might have concluded that day’s adventure with goodies ready to half-indulge in, if at all, before neglecting. Instead, I exorcised that collecting energy with two gashapons and a newfound sense of freedom.
After nearly eight months, I can go explore materialistic shops again.
I have the discipline to follow my materialistic rules. In a Nuzlocke, you can only catch one Pokémon per area and release them if they faint, and you have to have a self-applied honor system to make it work since you could just easily cheat around certain inconveniences. If I apply that rationale to materialism, I’ll buy things if they fill specific needs or are acquisitions I can receive based on certain conditions, but if they become unusable, then I release them to the thrift store, maybe sell them, or throw them away.
I have many empty spots throughout the apartment-mansion.
I never would have had so many spots back in the old place, where I compulsively tried to fill every square inch with things. While I can’t point to an exacting moment, maybe it was a moment during watching these Ben Saint Nuzlockes throughout the moving and downsizing process, or maybe it was a phrase like love people, use things, my overall attitude toward objects has changed. I think what might have changed most was realizing just how expensive owning excess property can be per month. Would you pay $100 more per month to house the equivalent of a few hundred more CDs you don’t care about, a number of clothes you never wear, and a bunch of free or cheap trinkets you bought because you were feeling sad one day?
Or would you rather figure out the root of your pain?
Applying the Nuzlocke concept to an otherwise easy Pokémon game adds an additional challenge because it’s completely optional to bring in the dramatics of having to release your dead Pokémon if you screw up and don’t strategize correctly. Addressing the challenge of a videogame is an innocuous version of addressing the challenges of reality, where consuming sugary foods or things can temporarily appease our subconscious ennui of life. What really makes you curious about owning things that are just outside your possession? If you did own it, would you even take care of it?
Unlike a CD that requires minimal upkeep like making sure not to drop it, scratch it, or expose it to elements where it could degrade quicker than its natural inherent vice, this piece of plastic could not only endure much more, but it could also actually fall apart and I wouldn’t be overly concerned about it. Subtle things like this are why I harken back to the notion that the apartment-mansion is clearing out nicely. I’m not quite there yet, and I’m sure there will be another few months of conversing with my readers about my relationship to objects, but after that next move or after I’ve cleared out many of the shelving units in the spare bedroom, that’s it.
I’ll have sacrificed every “fainted Pokémon.”
I’ve have released all the subpar CDs, action figures from franchises I don’t care about, and anything else that might have distracted me in previous years. Rather than go through an afternoon on a buying spree or even exploring these places as the museums for alternate realities that they truly are, I might just spend a free day exploring the city and talking to people to gather new story ideas, when they don’t appear in my subconscious as part of an almost involuntary exploration through learning more about characters, and have the mental fortitude to write about them at length. Writing about freeing up these distractions might seem repetitive, but I’m nearly at 1000 words for this evening and I’m writing this sentence at 11:47PM.
In 7 hours and 12 minutes, my 900th essay will publish here on Better Zombie.
That’s almost 40 essays ago – from this essay’s publication. I couldn’t have written that much – over 600,000 words – without dedicating my time away from doing other things that, in hindsight, I’d rather not do at all.
I can still play videogames; I just need to release the ones that “faint.”
|Sources: My personal experiences, and maybe those Ben Saint Nuzlocke gaming experiences.|
|Inspirations: This essay was initially going to be more neutral, but as I went, I leaned into the Nuzlocke analogy hard. It might be a little confusing because of my fatigue, and I needed to rewrite the paragraph toward the middle where I tied the concepts together, but I’m pleased with the results. The original title was going to be “Clearing Out Nicely,” which didn’t match the tone.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: The best shot I could get of the empty racks.|
|Written On: July 9th [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: July 9th [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|