Choosing a life of intentional scarcity in an abandoned lot, one man trades the grind for the simple, unassuming life in an astonishing defiance of societal norms and ambition.
Unbelievably, the newest mascot for the dispiriting ‘give-up’ mentality rampant in some sectors of society is a 29-year-old man, who has swapped a conventional life for a tent in a desolate parking lot, in China.
Li Shu decided back in 2018 to exit the working world of Sichuan Province and opted instead to drift through life in his rented apartment. Evidently, it didn’t take him long to see the error of his ways when he found his funds depleting rapidly due to his lack of income. Instead of putting his nose to the grindstone and finding a way to earn a living, he chose to cut his daily budget down to a meager 10 yuan (approximately $1.5).
When the drain on his savings continued unabated due to rent and living expenses, Li opted for an even more drastic measure. He sold most of his possessions, invested in a 400 yuan ($57) tent, and decided to extend his lackadaisical lifestyle amidst the rubble of an abandoned parking lot. Now, 200 days into this alternative lifestyle, he has expressed no intentions of resuming a conventional life.
For most, Li’s lifestyle is incomprehensible and far removed from anything resembling a dignified existence. His second-hand tent serves as his primary shelter, and his meals consist primarily of budget-friendly options like noodles and dumplings. His amenities are sparse, with a rudimentary stove and a lengthy journey required to secure water and electricity to charge his phone. Yet, Li remains committed to this life of chosen deprivation, stubbornly maintaining that it brings him a sense of tranquility.
He’s unapologetic about his choice, stating, “When you abandon life’s unfulfilling pursuits, a sense of peace slowly takes over, and you adapt to the changed circumstances. It’s relaxing.”
Li has made it clear that he’s not incapable of finding employment. His friends have repeatedly attempted to secure him a more comfortable living situation and even offered him monetary aid to start a small business. Yet, Li remains committed to his frugal and austere lifestyle, insisting that the simplicity and relaxation it affords are invaluable to him.
A modest notice on the side of Li’s tent politely requests passers-by to respect his property and apologizes in case he causes any inconvenience. Despite the humble living conditions, he asserts that he can relocate if necessary.
Li’s unconventional lifestyle choice casts a spotlight on China’s escalating “lying down” trend, seemingly an adverse reaction to the nation’s competitive work culture. Alarmingly, this trend of minimal effort and relinquishing ambitions is gaining popularity among the young, who are opting for subsistence over striving for financial stability and professional growth.