Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Can't Get Off the Merry-Go-Round! (Can I?)

Last night on Twitter, as I contemplated a crazy move (trying to live off student loans this semester and quitting the full-time job so I could do real estate full time), one of the people I follow tweeted something that stayed on my mind all night and is still bothering me. @happyblackwoman tweeted:

Our addiction to having so much stuff is what keeps some ppl chained to the job from hell. One feeds the other.

*sigh* She got me told in 140 characters or less.

I admit, I am one of those people who likes to have the latest and greatest whenever possible and relatively feasible. I love having a variety of clothes, shoes and accessories to chose from even if having so much does make it a chore to get dressed in the morning. I don't shop like some people I know, but at times, with certain things (lately it's been earrings), it can be slightly excessive. And I do tend to buy things not necessarily because I need them, but because they make me feel better. The rush of finding something (especially when it's a "great deal"), the glow they seem to have when I wear/use them for the first time, the inner pat-on-the-back I give myself when someone compliments something new... I love it. Even if I do sometimes cringe in retrospect at what I've spent.

That's me; I'm a Taurus, I like nice things. That's why I work this job I can't stand and want to walk out of every day don't particularly like, and try to sell real estate, and go to grad school: So I can buy a nice house and fill it with nice things and have a nice closet filled with nice clothes...

But will it make me happy?

That was the question the New York Times posed in their article about a couple who has decided to live a minimalist lifestyle. @happyblackwoman also referenced this article in her tweets. I was amazed that two people could whittle down their belongings to just 100 personal items. Insane! But they said they were... happy. I want to say I'm not so materialistic that I can't see this being possible... but I am. I am just that materialistic. How can you be so content with nearly nothing? I understand being happy and debt-free, as the article said they now were. Shoot, I'd be happy too if I could tell Sallie Mae and Nissan to kiss my butt. But still... I need stuff! Don't I?

If nothing else, it's an interesting concept that really has me thinking.... I'm not saying I can adopt that lifestyle or cut down my belongings to 100 things... But maybe I need to start truly evaluating what is necessary, and why I feel the need to have so much stuff. (I think I know part of the answer, but I don't even wanna delve into that... who knows how far down the rabbit hole goes?) I don't know.

In the meantime, @happyblackwoman's tweets are resonating with me:

Last month, I got rid of 50% of my clothes & I don't miss any of them. It was actually freeing not to have so many choices.

I'm actually happier with less stuff.

Every time I think about buying something now, I ask myself: is this going to add anything to my life? I buy a lot less than I used to.

When we buy new clothes, it's not b/c we really need another dress, but b/c we hope it will make us beautiful.

"People are finding that their homes are full of stuff, but their lives are littered w/unfulfilled promises."

Every time I get rid of something, I think of what else I'm making room for.

Related articles/posts:
Theology of Enough
How to Live with Just 100 Things

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