#079 ✰ 15 years moving
that's our background
I do, we do wish you a
🌱flourishing new year!🌳 thrive with intentionality and keep learning 1% every day, you’ll be a genius at whatever it is you’re learning by the end of the year (like +37% genius, kinda worth it) 👉 saying it loud to myself
Meet us in Paris on Thursday, 18th Jan: few spots left
Join us for this second episode of a rather intimate Objet’s gathering. Simple set of rules: we all come with an object we really love, sit around a table, sip a cocktail and share our stories. That’s how we meet. Fancy that?
15 years of moving… and our objects
Let me tell you a story.
Early October 2009, at age 21, I packed a suitcase my size, loaded it with the maximum allowed weight (at the time I didn’t expect to find shampoo at destination so my suitcase was utterly non optimised) and took off to Singapore for what became the first day of the rest of my life.
A couple months before, Kev and I had decided we would spend our gap year overseas no matter what. We were still enrolled in our respective schools, and while all our friends had already secured their yearlong internship in prestigious firms in Paris, during that summer 2009, I began selling basic prêt-à-porter in a boutique in Cannes, French Riviera, and so did Kev, at LVMH brand Céline. Meanwhile we kept hunting that dreamed internship. The job title, company, mission didn’t really matter to be honest. We had so much to learn. We just wanted to get out of France and our comfort zone. And while I was not certain where to put Singapore on a map at the time, I applied for that role and chased the lady anyway. It worked out. Kev got a great opportunity in Brussels and off he went before joining me in South East Asia a few months later.
So yeah, we have moved, in and out, many times. 18 times from that first shared flat in Singapore to our current flat in Lyon, not counting the many airbnb’s, youth hostel rooms and friends’ sofa squats in between. Our path crossed Max’s in 2014 and we kept moving, together. He was all in for the adventure. What a chance to keep building that way.
OK but wait. We have not lived out of a suitcase for 15 years. We have carried along when possible, bought, accumulated, donated, lost, given away, sold, transported, [x repeat] a bunch of stuff. We have loved and have parted way with a lot of objects. We have purchased a fair amount of useless things that quickly became burdens. I think we have developed a certain expertise at getting our hands on the Minimum Viable Products needed in a kitchen / room / bathroom, at packing the useful, at getting second hand deals -in & out-, at feeling great at ‘home’ in record times.
Without verbalising it at the time, we did train the ‘stuff shock’ muscle, a lot. And asputs it in this incredibly amazing must-read article from 2011: “with each shock, your stuff gets smarter”.
You have to put more thinking into every act of ownership. This thinking doesn’t just add value inside your head. It adds value outside your head, to the stuff itself. Your stuff gets smarter. (…) Some people like to think of this as conscious living, but that’s unnecessarily mystical for me. I prefer to think of it as smart stuff. If you learn to peel vegetables with a knife and eliminate a separate peeler, your knife got smarter.
It isn’t the quantity of stuff in your life that matters. What matters is how smart the stuff is and whether it is smart in service of your needs.
In 2016, given the way our life was designed, an idea popped in. How to surround ourselves with smart objects? How to keep track of all this back and forth (NB: approx 2m3 of objects did stay at our parents during these years)? How to save and record the unique memories behind the beloved, cherished objects that we’d plan on keeping for life? So we started playing with a first version of a web app… and kept moving on with our lives.
But dealing with objects kept coming back, it was just… there. Naturally, we had to pay attention, to become intentional. Or we would just lose our minds, overwhelmed. Ending up paying a container for each move or simply never move again.
Deep down, emptying a flat or moving in a new one, we went through recurring roller coasters of - in appearance contradictory - triggers:
our thirst for freedom and adventure
our need to feel at home / cosy - rather sooner than later
our passion for hunting treasures
our love for craft and for stories like no others
our fear of wasting money / being manipulated
our attraction for good deals and sales
our fear of losing track
Moving thousands of miles away each time x moving regularly, embracing the unknown, we have had countless occurrences to train the muscle. We were never on a road trip, nor moving in permanently from home to home. We were somewhere in between.
So the other day, beginning a new year, I sat down with Max and Kev and we asked ourselves these two questions:
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How have we changed?
we see each purchasing decision as an opportunity to question our lifestyle and the person we want to be
we are at peace with our decision-making process and seldom regret a purchase. When we do, we know we had a rationale and so the question becomes “OK what have I learnt?” “Where did I get fooled?”
we regularly part ways with objects that don’t fit our current lifestyle and it’s become less and less difficult to do so over time
we rarely compulse buy and a deal is no trigger - or so we try!
we stay away from trends as much as we can. Trends hurt real bad
we have passed on the information to our family who now does its best to hold from ‘well intentioned’ gifts
What have we learnt?
improve your judgment > trust yourself > make mistakes > improve your judgment > … You’re a learning machine, we all are. If we decide to keep training
being preached a doctrine sucks. Any -ism basically
on that note, there is no such thing like the perfect number
most of the things we accumulate come from lies we tell ourselves
ex: “I desperately need this fancy coffee machine”
keep being ready for a move, it provides a healthy, peaceful mindset towards ownership.. and shortens the todo list when the move does happen!
wait a bit. wait a lot. it’s tasty
ex: getting my hands on my Garmin watch has been a hell of a funny journey
chose your burden, learn to say no
ex: my grandma passed away a couple years ago and I just kept a handful of objects that remind me of her. I am at peace I did not hold onto the rest
borrowing and lending are often tiresome but regularly rewarding
ex: the past two Xmas, we were short of a couple chairs and a table and well, it became the opportunity to meet with our neighbours beyond the usual ‘hey what’s up?’
How about you? What have you learnt from your -potentially very different- lifestyle? Share with us in the comment your learnings for a more intentional life with objects.
Cool reads and more
Honestly, this one. Make it the one read from us this week. Enjoy.
your stuff is actually a complex system of interacting parts that embodies a lot of your thinking.
(….) When it comes to stuff unfortunately, though there is a complex machine behind the UX, there are no experts. If you want more control, you will need to become that expert.
If you choose not to become an expert, your stuff will stagger through life like a zombie, as an unexamined set of externalized mental models, gathering entropy and crud, until it becomes so poorly adapted to your actual life that it seizes up. At that point, you step back stunned, pondering the revelation that your life is a mess.
Wait, who are you again?
Objet is the french word for 'object' and should be pronounced 'ob-jeh‘. In this journal, we explore the intersection of desire, taste, joy, meaning and culture. If you’d like to embark on a journey with us, make sure to
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Good vibes et bisous.
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