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The International Writers Magazine
: Modern Lives 81

No Mod Cons
James Ryder
Student risks sanity to enjoy 24 hours without possessions - shock

It took just over 6 hours for me to fail my challenge. Can I live 24 hours wiothout possessions!
I was, stupidly some might say, trying to prove was that modern man can't live without all the possessions which surround us.

My plan was very simple in its nature. 24 hours with no TV, no computer, no books and no mobile phone. To amuse myself I was allowed to my guitar, a pad of paper and a blue biro. I also banned myself from spending any money, just to make things more fun.

I woke just after 12, normally I would blindly grope around trying to find the remote for my cd player but today that was a no-no. If I wanted music I had to make it myself. Slowly I dragged myself from my bed and went to make a cup of tea. No point rushing these things. I have another 23 hours of this. Breakfast was a leisurely affair and I even did all the washing up!

It began to dawn on me that maybe I should have a chosen a day when I actually had something to do.
I seemed to have all my time flitting between tasks, my short attention span getting the best of me.
Here is an example of one hour:
1.05 played guitar until fingers hurt
1.11 had cigarette in garden and ate apple
1.34 considered alphabetacising my CD collection but realised that I couldn’t, as they are material possessions.
1.42 played more guitar and tried to write a song.
1.53 had another cup of tea and cigarette
2.05 felt niggling of a pee, didn’t actually need to go but did anyway for something to do.

As you would imagine this strict regime of do-nothing had an effect on my sanity. So the visits of my friends were a welcome change from talking to myself. I think with some better planning I should have just surrounded myself with people for the 24 hours, then the challenge would have been a doddle.

My visitors seemed to have some respect for what I was trying to prove, but also doubted exactly what I was to gain from it. It was their doubts and the eerie silence that eventually got to me.
At just after 6 o’clock the lure of sound became too much and the stereo went on. The disappointment of failure was drowned out by sweet music.

So what did I learn from this experiment. I learned that its actually a lot harder than I thought to live without these items in my life. I have never been that keen on technology and regularly air my mistrustful views of computers. In fact I didn’t miss the computer all that much, it was music and the inability to contact other people that was my downfall.

Maybe next time I will do it in a hut in the woods surrounded by 20 of my closest friends. Hmm sounds like a party...
© James Ryder December 2004
jimboryder at

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