Wine gets better with years. Man gains wisdom with age. Leather exudes character with time. Raw denim looks better with wear.
When it comes to gadget though, we are always casting an eye for the latest releases. They are met with anticipation, hype and excitement. Our current gadgets will be relegated to the trade-in bins or left sitting at one side of the drawer. Many will be neglected till the next time we do our spring cleaning.
We have an urge to own the latest products, because with each release it pushes our existing products down the ladder. With the current short product cycle of gadgets, it’s more often a want, rather than a need that pulls consumers to make their next purchase. New in marketing terms, is always better. You may be holding to the phone, inspecting the hairline scratches and minor cosmetic shortcomings. Maybe it’s a good reason, or excuse, to change to a new one.
Take the case of your smartphone. Do you put it in a casing? Probably you have a screen protector as well. The social norm dictates that we must protect the beautiful objects. We treat these fine objects with care and caution and have them all wrapped up.
But stop by, think through it for a moment. Are you over protective of your gadgets, especially your smartphone? A phone is a tool, something to supplement our needs. When you stop thinking about it as an object of admiration, you stop being worried about it getting scratched or damaged. You just use it as it’s supposed to be used. No casing, no screen protector. Naked.
I thought of the post by Shawn Blanc, where his phone got scratched when he was with his son aboard the plane. It depicts the everyday scenario we are facing. Either we protect the lovely things or we risk exposing them to damages. It’s a dedicate tradeoff. Once the realization sinks in, you accept the fact that it will never be the same as before.
The concept of new, however, is relative. Once we remove the product from the original packaging, the seal would be broken. The more we use it, the more the product is deviating away from the mint condition. That’s not to say we shouldn’t take care of our products. The idea is to never be obsessed over them. Just use your iPhone and camera and the likes as you normally would.
Our choice of tool is an expression of our personality, beliefs and style. There is a sense of liberty and freedom that comes with not caring too much about the state of hardware. Things could get unexpectedly interesting, like the case of an iPhone and a camera that have been subjected to prolong usage.
Things can be designed to age gracefully with time. I absolutely adore raw denim and how they aged and fade. I’m fascinated by how they will turn out after repeated wears and not knowing what to expect is part of the fun. I have spilled coffee and chilli sauce over it. The jean has also been stained with muds from cycling trips, sand from the beach and many other adventures. But I have gotten past the stage where I scrutinise every little detail. Because all these things reflect my journey, because they grow together with me. It’s part of my story.
Understand that imperfections are part and parcel of our life. Don’t be the type that jump at the slightest opportunity to upgrade or change your belongings just because of some minor defects.
It takes a personal encounter to come to terms with such feeling. Knowing that no beauty is everlasting and nothing lasts forever, we should just stay in the moment and be grateful of the things we have.