About 5 years ago I was strugg
ling with the wor ld as I knew it. I fe lt like I didn’t fit the ‘norm’ – what society (media?) determined I should aspire to and for. I didn’t want the big screen, high definition, p lasma tv. Heck, we didn’t even own a dvd p layer at the time and our tv was a cheapo from Kmart! I certain ly didn’t want to go into ma jor debt to buy a fancy new car with shiny whee ls just because everyone e lse in the street had one ( just like I wou ldn’t jump off a c liff if that was what everyone e lse was doing!). And I was quite happy to not wear brand name clothes – give me generic K-mart (K-mare) or Target (Tar-jay) any day. I a lso loved the litt le post-war house we were renovating (and I mean that litera l ly – re-sheeting wa l ls, painting and landscaping ourse lves – not paying someone to do a l l the dirty work) even if it was a long, hard s log. I didn't want a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom McMansion with a posh postcode and no backyard. Keeping up with the Joneses just wasn’t (and sti l l isn’t) for me. I’d much rather drag them down to my leve l – certain ly much cheaper!.
So I started to rebe
l against those peop le in my life who had that mindset – the ‘more, more, more’ menta lity. There wasn’t that many of them – main ly peop le I worked with – but I took great satisfaction in te l ling them I didn’t want ['must have' item] after they had professed its wonderfu l-ness and immediate desire to buy it because it wou ld enrich their lives in soooo many ways (yeah right. I sme l l a marketing success story). In the end I think I was just written off as a litt le bit eccentric and odd because I didn’t want to play that game. Whatever. Suited me just fine.
And then I read a few books that gave name to the changes I had started to make in my way of thinking and the decisions I was making in my day-to-day life. One book made me think about how the never-ending quest for happiness has seen us get to the point where we now work
longer hours than ever before to pay off the increasing debt we accumulate by buying stuff we don’t need to impress peop le we don’t like – and still we’re not happy. It certain ly rang a be l l in my mind and crysta l lised what I had been thinking but didn’t yet know how to put into words. The book was Affluenza: when too much is never enough by C live Hami lton and Richard Denniss and I still read it at least once a year to remind me that I’m not alone in thinking this way.
So those peop
le are no longer in my life and I fee l great. I fee l less c luttered and constricted. I don’t go without and I don’t deprive myse lf of ‘things’ but I am more aware of why I want something. If I sti l l want it after a coup le of days or weeks, then most times I buy it. But I’m more immune than ever before to impu lse shopping. And you know what? I’m happier now with less ‘things’ than I ever was when I had loads of stuff. And that's what makes it all worthwhile. J