“Having deep relations with two people is more comfortable and (psychologically) healthier than having superficial relations with 10 people. Because you don’t say much and say only necessary things to a person you deeply trust, you don’t get to be talked about,” said the author Jang Sae-rom in her blog. She left most of her superficial friends after she moved from her hometown to Donghae in Gangwon Province.
“Because you’re left with people you’re comfortable with, you don’t have to waste your money to serve them at an expensive place and show off. You can better take care of your loved ones by saving money that would have been spent for meaningless frequent lunches with people.”
There is a growing number of people here practicing so-called “relationship detox,” which includes throwing away business cards stacked inside a drawer, deleting unnecessary and overlapping smartphone contacts and narrowing down friends on social media such as Facebook.
Shin Kwang-yeoung, a professor of sociology at Chung-Ang University, said such minimalists’ re-organizing their social relationships is part of the Korean society’s change toward individualistic and more self-centered lifestyles.
“Traditional social relationships tended to entail costs both in money and psychology. People now feel those costs as a big burden. This is reflected in family relations, too. People are scaling down wedding ceremonies and ancestral memorials,” Shin told The Korea Herald.
“You can call this either an individualization or a minimalism. But one clear phenomenon is that the broad social relations of the past are gradually weakening.”
Less obsessions with material things and less socializing give more room for freedom from all ideas and thoughts, according to another author Shin Mi-kyeong, who wrote a Korean book “Emptying Today, Too.”
“When I would gaze on the pure white wall (decorated with nothing), I literally don’t think about anything. I am really grateful for those kinds of ‘commas’ that visit me from time to time,” she said in the book.
Such minimalist lifestyles are also spreading to people seeking different ways to do conventional things, such as simpler workouts in their daily lives.
Kim Yung, a 30-year-old office worker who has been working out for the past 11 years, noted that he opted for working out at home rather than at a gym after realizing that doing so results in the same workout effect.
“I have both experiences -- working out at a gym and working out at home. Unless you don’t have a specific goal to enlarge your muscles to a certain degree by using different weights, exercising by yourself at brief moments before, after, or during work can definitely improve your health,” Kim said.
For cardio workouts to burn fat, he would walk at a park near his home on an empty stomach. For weight workouts to enhance muscles, he would carry around a workout band so he can exercise anywhere, even on a business trip overseas.
“For example, for bench press that you typically lie down on the bench and lift up the bar at a gym, you take the same pose by fixing the band against your back and push against the band. The right postures for the maximum effect of the exercise are all available on the Internet,” he said.
The simpler way to work out will bring the same benefit of exercising in keeping a more energetic and positive attitude on life in the long term, Kim said.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)