There are a few items that I’ve bought this year that really make me happy, and they have some common attributes. Firstly, they’re readily available, often sold and they’re always in stock in stores. Secondly, they’re extremely high quality, often (but not always) made by older companies that have been making the item almost the same way for many years, decades even. Thirdly, they’re a joy to use, and are really well designed. Lastly, and most importantly, they’re inexpensive.
Let me rant for a little about how much I love these few recent additions to my worldly baggage.
I think if you are in this world, you have to keep a few things around you for the sake of making your life easy. There’s no need to live out of a backpack if you have a place to stay every night; why make it hard for yourself? That said, there is real true wisdom in the Buddhist tradition of having few things, not coveting gold and riches, having simple clothes, and not obsessing about your appearance. It means you are unattached and not clinging onto physical items and treasures that can be taken away from you, causing you suffering and mental anguish. So, in this light, I have decided to hold only a few possessions and require that those possessions that I do hold are really well appreciated, loved even, but that they also be able to be easily replaced, so that I am not so attached to them. That’s the plan, anyway!
For many college students like me, coffee is a new habit that they have picked up after moving out for the first time, out of the watchful and protective supervision of the parents. So, I’m trying to establish what kind of coffee drinker that I am. So far, I have discovered that I am a real snob when it comes to quality. I can’t accept the crappy coffee from McDonalds. I need to have it freshly brewed, from freshly ground quality beans. Now, being a college student, you can see the problem that I immediately ran into. I’m poor. So, I cannot afford a daily trip to the expensive barista around the corner, for a $6 coffee. What to do? I want expensive coffee, and I want it for cheap? So of course, I buy bags of expensive coffee beans (bulk purchase is cheaper compared to individual coffees!) and use them up slowly, over a long time. But now my beans go stale, since the opened bag doesn’t completely seal. What to do now? Here is the item of my dreams: a stainless steel coffee canister. It’s high-quality, well made, keeps the beans fresh, I use it every day, and it’s readily available. Checks in all the right boxes.
I just love my fjallraven kanken backpack. The company has been making the same backpack for decades, using the same simple, but well-designed style. I bought the backpack for university, but I find myself using it every day, to carry my laptop, books, and laptop charger around. I’m not too worried about it falling apart, because it’s made of tough canvas, and because the company was founded in the 1960s, so they have a long history of making the same thing. I’m happy to shell out the money for a quality product that will last a long time.
I love my towel. I’m not even sure where I got it, but it’s the perfect size, has beautiful colors, and is a joy to use. The towel is extremely well made. I’m a sucker for great design in the details of an everyday object. I love how the towel has subtle stripes, a beautiful border, a hidden pocket, and a loop for hanging the towel. I use the towel all the time, not just for the gym, when I’m on the beach, or when I’m showering. I love the towel so much, I’ve decided to buy the same towel for my grandparents as well. I’m going to get it monogrammed with their initials.
Swiss Army Knife
I was given a Swiss Army knife when I was twelve years old, as a birthday present. I remember being extremely excited about it, because I had always been fascinated by the idea of a multi-tool. The knife was a Victorinox Swiss Army one, with a red handle. I have been carrying that knife with me ever since, just about every day, and have always been extremely happy with it. The knife has lasted me for nearly ten years, and is still going strong.
These are just a few things that I’m really happy to have! I hope you see something that you love in your travels too, (COVID-permitting) and that you are able to find it and to pay for the joy of using it.