Can You Leave It Alone?

Whenever you delete an app, sell a prized possession, or throw away your gear for some activity, you’re initiating a test: Can you live without it? How strongly has the habit been ingrained?

Withdrawal symptoms are real, even for the simple things. The last time I left home, I decided to not bring my Nintendo Switch. Every now and then, I do wish I could play. Overall, however, it’s not so bad. There’s plenty to do. I can watch movies. I can read. It’s a good exercise.

Can you still leave the Matrix? Can you leave it alone? According to HD Thoreau, this is the true definition of wealth: Not money or property, but control of our attention. “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone,” he wrote.

If my Switch is 400 kilometers away, but I think about it night and day, I haven’t really left it, have I? I have dropped the item, but I refuse to leave it alone. That’s why, every now and then, we must leave the people, possessions, and activities we love – if only temporarily – for if we can no longer let go of things, we have lost a lot more than just an item or even a friend.

What’s something that might have started growing a little too close to home? Try dropping it. See how it feels to leave it alone. I’m sure you can pick it up again later, and it won’t have any scratches.