The world has been going through so much change over the past 10-20 years. Through globalization, there are very few places that still retain the essence of the “good old” days. Western culture has permeated much of the Eastern world but there are still some places that have retained quite a bit of the Eastern charm.
Yogyakarta was one of those places.
I sensed it the moment we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and faced a small old building that they call their airport.
Inside the terminal there was the hustle and bustle of locals and very few Westerners. Things were old, worn, and had lots of character. Just the way I like it.
We hired a driver from the airport to drive us to our hotel. Our hotel was spectacular. It was an old Dutch mansion that was built in 1918. It was fully renovated but still held the essence of the old world. We had a gorgeous room overlooking the pool which was an amazing site to see.
The floors and bathroom were marble. The bed sheets were soft and the pillows perfect. It was like being in a palace.
But do you want to know what we appreciated most about the hotel? Not the lavish rooms, picturesque pool, the outstanding service, or the old world charm. Don’t get me wrong. We loved those things.
But the thing we appreciated the most was the shower.
I’m not talking about the beauty of the shower either. I am talking about the water pressure.
Eighty percent of our trip had been showers that were either unusable, freezing cold, or plagued with water dripping out at a pace that resembled a leaky faucet.
It is amazing how you begin to appreciate the little things when you know longer have them.
My life in Singapore was really good. I had a really good shower. The water pressure was excellent and I never had an issue with hot or cold water. Do you know what happens when you have a perfect shower?
You find other things to complain about. We always find things to complain about. That is just who we are as human beings.
We get comfortable with the luxuries in our life that we call “necessities.” But really, if you are part of the 1 percenters of the world, which you are if you are reading this, what we call necessities are really luxuries.
I was complaining to my friend about having to go a week using a bucket of water to bath with. He started laughing and said, “You call that roughing it. I call it how I grew up. That’s how I bathed my whole life growing up.”
It takes effort to look at our life and realize what are luxuries and what are necessities.
It takes an even bigger effort to practice conscious minimalism. Get rid of some of the stuff you don’t need anymore. Take a cold shower. Stay at substandard accommodations for a week or go camping. Minimalize the distractions in your life and learn to appreciate more.
Every time we increase the standard of living in our life, it becomes the new baseline.
The things we once appreciate we no longer do as we up our game. This way of living can be really exciting but you have to look out for the downside, and the downside can be really big.
We lose ourselves. We lose our happiness, joy for life, and our appreciation for the little things.
Life becomes about achieving more and having more and we lose our sense of self in the process.
I am not saying we should ever lose our drive for achievement or that having more is bad. I wholeheartedly believe we should look for the harmony of drive for achievement and appreciation and gratitude for the little things.
But just think about how much better your life would be if you had a deep sense of appreciation for a nice warm shower with good water pressure.