I’m only passing through

by Jessica Dang
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View from my apartment

Two months into 2016, and I’ve made a lot of progress since quitting my corporate job. I have started my own business, which is going well, and have moved into a new home. It’s much brighter, and more spacious than the last one. The photo above is the beautiful view from the balcony.

Surrounded by a few bags and boxes, realising it’s is everything I own in the world, I’m reminded of a story about a wise man:

A travelling man visits a wise man’s house.

“Where is your furniture?” he asks the wise man.
“Where is yours?” the wise man replies.
“Mine? But I’m only passing through.”
“So am I,” the wise man said, “So am I.”

I’m only passing through

As always, minimalism has served me well. I don’t own as little as I did back when I used to travel a lot, but I still only have what I need. My expenditures are minimal, so I can pretty much afford to live wherever I want, living on my passive income and freelance work.

More importantly than just being easy to move house, minimalism has helped me keep my focus on the things that matter most to me—growing my business, my training (my next marathon is this April), and building a life with my partner. We don’t care about designer clothes, perfume brands or trying to get a good deal on a company car. In the end, none of these things will matter compared to what we’ve accomplished as people.

Moving again has reinforced what I’ve learned about the value of things—that is, they don’t really have value. Apart from loved ones (and sometimes not even them) you can’t physically touch the truly important things in life. You can’t buy it, borrow it, or exchange it for much else. They only matter to you, and that’s what makes them matter the most. 

I want to live my best life. I can do that by being grateful for everyday miracles, because I’ll only have them for a short while. And so do you. Some might think it’s a little sad, but it makes me happy to remember: we’re only passing through.

The winner from last month’s post for my copy of Living on Purpose: Straight Answers to Universal Questions is Josh (@joshisaurus). Please contact me via email/comments and I will post the book to you. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, there will be more giveaways soon.

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  • Merry King

    I really, really enjoyed this post. Made me think some things that needed to be thought. But then again, Jessica, just about all of your posts do that! I’ll be bookmarking this one.

    Congrats to Josh for winning the giveaway! 😀


  • The tale you related (about living without furniture) is told of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, if I recall correctly. He is also known as the Chofetz Chaim, based on the title of his magnum opus.

  • Live is just impermanence and a miracle that deserves to be appreciate it by us everyday, every single moment. Congratulations for the success of your new project and your new home. My best wishes.