Live a Simple Life in a Complicated World

2021 has started for 10 days and I finally got a chance to reflect what I have experienced and witnessed in 2020. The past year is a year full of extreme events, thoughts, feelings, and chaos —— but also a perfect time to embrace a simple life with inner peace. I think probably everyone can name one or two suffering moments in their life, and ten or twenty in their 2020, but for those who have found ease in the pain, order in the chaos, sympathy in the hatred, 2020 is a Sadhana, a spiritual practice fruiting valuable reflections of oneself and beyond.

There are two valuable things I’ve learned in the past year, and I’m sure it will bring long-lasting benefits to the rest of my life (as long as I don’t forget them):

No.1. Live a simple life

For the first half of 2020, I worked remoted from China and waited patiently for the day when COVID is over and I finally can return to New York. For six months, I stayed at my parents’ place, only possessing a suitcase filled with essential living stuffs including a few pieces of clothes, a computer, a phone and a kindle. My plan was to grab the suitcase and rush to the airport as soon as I get the visa approval. No surprise, my return to the US was postponed again and again due to the worsening of the pandemic and Trump’s mentality. Eventually, I decided to find a job in China. By then, I was a bit amused to realize that I’ve lived like a minimalist for half a year. I barely remembered what belongings I’ve still kept in my New York apartment. Wow, it’s a eureka moment for me: I lived just fine without all my “important” belongings collected in the past 7 years. I used to feel empty when I kept buying stuffs; now I feel filled when I get rid of all of them and own so few stuffs. 

Simplicity has also become a key word for my social life. Virtual hangout is so awkward that only real friendship can overcome this dreadful awkwardness and spark some fun. I guess it’s not necessarily a bad thing to lose contact with some acquaintances and to know better than ever which friends are committed to share her/his world-class boring quarantine routines constantly to make sure your boring life less boring.

No. 2. Live in the moment

I hate to sound like a lifestyle guru but I can’t think out of a better line than “live in the moment”. I always feel lucky to be surrounded by so many brilliant minds, but unfortunately many insecure overachievers are also blessed with imposter syndrome and severe depression. For a physical disease, you don’t feel it, but it might still exist in your body. However, for mental feelings like depression and anxiety, if you don’t feel it, then you just don’t have it. Living in the moment helps you focus on what is happening right now, instead of regretting for what has happened and worrying about what might happen. It’s a cliche slogan when you hear it again and again, but a powerful spell when you really get it.

2020 is a year flooded with negative emotions, which makes it a perfect time to practice “living in the moment”. One is either buried beneath the waves of sorrow, anger, shock, and hatred; or manage to live in the moment and appreciate the small things in your life. Thank god, me and my family finally reached the later stage after a lot of ups and downs.

Will 2021 be a better year? I don’t know, but it doesn’t stop me from looking forward to it.

YQ CHEN in Jan 2021

2 thoughts on “Live a Simple Life in a Complicated World

  1. 一个偶然看到了你的blog,用 “live in the moment” 来总结2020说得再好不过了。
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wishing you a great 2021.


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