Do you ever just get sick of your bad habits? Like, the habits that you usually enjoy but know are bad for you?
I’m feeling that way with all my unconscious consumption habit. Clothes, mostly. I suffer from the ‘never enough stuff syndrome’ that is so rampid in our society. When I think about all the clothes I acquire in the course of a year, and how much of it I don’t actually need, it makes my stomach turn. I really do need for nothing.
I have enough already.
There’s not much good that comes from having too much stuff… It’s harmful for the environment. Inevitably all this excess stuff will wind up in a landfill where it will just sit, taking up space, for longer than my lifetime. Although I donate most of my unwanted goods, I really have no idea where all those items wind up once they’ve left my hands. Do they end up in new homes where they are treasured by their new owners? Or maybe sit unsold in a thrift store before eventually getting discarded? Perhaps they wind up in another home with an abundance of stuff before eventually being sent off to the dump. Who knows where it all goes? The point is, I don’t and that’s what makes it so irresponsible.
This kind of consumption also sets a bad example for my kids. They’re now young people who are beginning to suffer from “too much stuff,” too. It seems we can’t go anywhere without them asking me to buy them something they don’t need. When I say no, it turns into a conflict and there is usually a lot of whining, maybe some tears shed. But who can blame them? It’s how they’ve been conditioned. Do all kids want more stuff or just the ones who already have a lot? I’m guessing the latter.
But really, the worst of the whole predicament, is just that it feels bad. The rush of ‘newness’ is shortlived and inevitably followed by the bitter aftertaste of regret (unless it’s a truly treasured or useful item).
With all of this in mind, I am making a commitment this month to stop the leak and start navigating a path toward more conscious consumption. Right now, today, I have EVERYTHING I NEED.
It won’t be easy, and I know the urge will strike to acquire more crap (it always does with me). But instead of succombing to the temptation, I will ask myself these three questions:
- Do I already own it? If this is a duplicate of an already treasured item that I own, and I am just looking to double up, then it’s a hard no.
- Do I need it? Is this an item that I truly need in my life to serve a purpose or just something that I am looking to fill a desire with. And here’s the thing, the only thing I actually will NEED to buy this month is groceries – everything else is fluff.
- Can I afford it? Plain and simple.
With these questions asked and answered, the only items I should be purchasing are necessities and food. Everything else is a superfluous luxury. I am hoping that this will provide me with a sense of cleansing and maybe even a little spiritual growth. I mean, if I’m not filling up that insatiable void with stuff, I might just fill it the nectar of the universe and all its divine offerings.
Just like as it was in my drinking days, there never seems to be enough of what I don’t need. The differentiator is that my alcoholism would have probably killed me had I not sought help. I don’t anticipate this particular consumption problem killing me but it can definitely cause me pain. Because if I am using consumption, any kind of consumption, to make me feel happier or more content the odds of it working just aren’t in my favour.
If I am being honest right now, I’d have to say this is bringing up some fear in me. I’m reminded of a saying I’ve heard over the years about, “I am either afraid of losing something I have or of not getting something I want.” I’m paraphrasing but basically it all comes down to wants. Fear crops up when I think I might lose something, maybe it’s something I have, or maybe it’s something I want, but it’s rooted in desire. And so much of what I desire is rooted in materialism. So, if I can reframe that and realize I have everything I need and fill that fear with faith and gratitude, chances are all those consumable desires will shrink and leave me feeling abundant.
I’m feeling as though this mindless materialism is no longer serving me. Like, it’s as if for a long time it kind of did make me feel better and now it just doesn’t. I’m ready to feel lighter and more awakened. My worth is not based on what I am wearing or items I own.
A month of mindfulness and gratitude lies ahead of me. I am so ready to tackle this goal and feel lighter and more centred at the end.
4 thoughts on “Enough Already”
All of this is VERY real for (most) of us! The ‘need’ factor never seems to sway my decision to a NO. I wish It would… Please allow me, next time we meet, to educate you on the glory of Value Village! I worked there for 5.5 years and Chris has been there for 9! You will feel A LOT better after our chat. I promise you. We have a date Sunday 😉
Always love reading your stuff Ali!
Griff and I JUST had a similar chat about buying less of what we want and more of what we actually need to survive as a family. It can be a challenge to stay on track with Griff working at Costco, walking past all the great deals day to day, but there was a time when we were just happy to have what we had and I truly felt less anxious. Embarrassing as it may be to admit, I literally had Griff return two packs of socks he bought for himself because he already has 60 pairs, no joke, I counted them. I think it’s clear who’s the launderer in our home. When he returned them, a coworker giggled because they were only $6 a pack. Well, cheap or not, they still take up room, we don’t need them, and $12 is better spent on things like food, gas, kids field trips. So, the struggle is very real but it’s good to acknowledge it at all and do what you, what we all can to lighten the load.
Best of luck to you in your spiritual journey of self enrichment 🙏
When it comes to clothes I use the replacement rule. If I buy 3 new things I need to donate 3 old things. I have a friend who would do this with her kids. After every birthday and Christmas they needed to donate old toys in order to keep the new toys.
I’m in the process of moving and I have learned I have way too much stuff. I have bins of items that I haven’t looked at or used since I moved into my house 14 years ago. Time to let go. While I was doing it I found it somewhat stressful but once it was gone I felt better. Those 51 coffee mugs that I collected when I travelled will be much appreciated by the people at Siloam Mission.