The things that remain / Ode to the smartphone

smart-phoneAlways am I writing posts about how we should minimize our material possessions; how we should toss all the things in our lives that add no value to it. There are many that would argue that this is a very ……. negative theme to build a lifestyle around; ya know, “A lifestyle focused on the stuff you get rid of” is a POV many have about this life. It doesn’t sound exactly uplifting or exciting. I understand, I really do. But please understand, this philosophy is a foundation to allow us more time and less distraction so that we can focus on the things that do add value to our lives.

I suppose I could write about all the things in our lives that remain. The problem with that, is that the things that remain are the things that add value to our lives, and one persons values are going to be wildly different than the next persons. So one persons possessions are going to be different than another’s just for that reason. In truth, I can only speak about the things that add value to my life. Or, I can write about the things I have observed add value to most (or many) peoples lives. And hopefully in reading about it, we can come to appreciate those things even more. So this will be the first of many posts where I pay respect to the wonderful things I have noticed many of us minimalists have deemed valuable enough to keep.

The first and most important of these things is the wonderful multi-tool known as the smartphone. This particular tool is uniquely designed for minimalists just because it is such a versatile tool all rolled up in a small package. It is the Swiss Army Knife of modern America.

I recall once telling a co-worker of mine that I was a minimalist, and they said (with some degree of sarcasm): “If you’re a minimalist, than why would you need a fancy pansy smartphone” (I get this stuff from people a lot). To them I replied “I have this versatile phone just because I’m a minimalist.” I went on to explain to them exactly what I am going to explain right now.

Thanks to owning a smartphone (from here on in going to be called a “mobile”), I no longer have to own or carry a:

  1. Calendar
  2. GPS
  3. Notepad
  4. Camera
  5. Mobile music device (MP3 player, iPod)
  6. Flashlight
  7. Watch
  8. Coupon
  9. Ticket
  10. Book (novels and such)
  11. Laptop Computer
  12. Pedometer
  13. Photo album
  14. Calculator
  15. Compass

And these are just the things that I value. In all likelihood, whatever we value …….. they have an app for that. Download the apps that add value, delete the ones that don’t (digital minimalism). Easy peachy. With a mobile, one can run an entire small business.

The mobile is in fact the one device responsible for ushering in the age of the modern minimalist; the pinnacle in a series of technological developments in the past couple decades (at least) that have allowed us to live smaller while still staying current to the times.