Reducing Dependence

A short piece of thought about reducing your dependency on things, even the smallest kinds. Dependency means you’re giving something power, and that means you’re giving away your freedom. Maybe the cost is worth it, and you don’t want to change. Maybe it’s iffy, and you’d rather have the freedom.

This thought was sparked by a small change I made months ago and barely notice now: I don’t use the mirror to put in or take out my contacts anymore.

That’s tiny, right?

Funnily enough, I remember a time when I could barely do it without a mirror. Going camping or places without a well-stocked, mirrored bathroom seemed like a big challenge to overcome (purely because my vision is absolutely horrid without my glasses or contacts).

So how did that change?

In my current apartment, there’s only one small mirror over the sink. Instead of the big mirror with another one on the side (behind which would be the medicine cabinet where my contacts are stored), it’s just one small mirror with the cabinet directly behind it.

Putting in and taking out my contacts was a pain; I’d have to take out one contact, open the cabinet/mirror awkwardly with one hand, and then do it again, but even more awkwardly because I had both contacts out and could barely see where to put my finger.

I decided I’d had enough, and from then on, attempted to never use the mirror while putting in or removing my contacts.

Why is this such a big deal, enough that it sparked a post?

Just the thought that it was something that seemed like a huge amount of trouble, but actually had benefits that outweighed the costs.

Inconveniencing myself for a short time has now given me protection from a larger inconvenience: if I go anyway where I won’t have easy and clean access to a mirror and storage space for my contact stuff.

The two points are: reducing dependence on what you can, in order to gain some freedom; and (obviously enough, I’m sure) a slight inconvenience in the short-term can provide medium- to long-term gains.

Examples that I can think of off the top of my head here:

  • getting a Kindle instead of having bookcases filled with books (as I did, and even still miss the feel of paper; it’s just so much more convenient)
  • having short hair for less maintenance and more convenience (probably more for men)
  • getting rid of some extraneous possessions like clothes to free up room and make for speedier, lighter moves
  • consolidating your hardware (kitchen tools, construction tools, car & bike tools) into high quality multipurpose (or special purpose) ones
  • biking more places (you get healthier, dealing with stupid drivers absolutely spikes your blood pressure, etc etc, your better health gives you more freedom)
  • learning to floss and brush your teeth thoroughly without looking in the mirror

And so on.

It’s a fair amount of low-medium effort for low-medium rewards. Not life-changing, but life-enhancing.

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