Thursday, 23 November 2017

DSTSS - Less is more

93. Give up the idea that more is better

The first Don't Sweat the Small Stuff book was released in 1997 and the author who has since passed away, started chapter 93 by saying that we are living in the most affluent culture the world has ever seen and that America was using half of the world's resources in a country where the population was around 6% of the world's total.  I am shit at math, but the proportions seem a little bit wonky to me.

Why am I quoting that?  Well I guess it's to do with perspective. We consume at an alarming rate and 20 years on from when this book was published, it's become an unstoppable beast and our consumption is not slowing down.
Imagine what would be written about our obsession with fast everything if this book was being written in 2017 - fast fashion, fast technology, fast farming, fast fucking.....this guy would be sweating the big fast stuff. How would he even recommend that we begin to be happy with and enjoy what we have? And does our ongoing consumption really make us happy?

There seems to be this myth that material wealth is linked to our happiness and yet we put ourself into financial and emotional debt because we think that all the things we need are going to somehow make us feel better.

I have over my time accumulated a lot of "stuff". This is a woman with a storage pod of things waiting till the day comes when I can put it all somewhere - how crazy. That stuff isn't making me happy, it's costing me $120 bucks a month just sitting gathering dust.  That's nearly $3000 I have paid over the past 2 years to keep for "one day".  That is a fucking reality check right here, right now, cause I am not a "one day" kind of person.  I am a right now kinda person. Sorting that shit out is going on my to do list, cause $120 bucks a month is money I could use for more purposeful things. This storage war episode is about to be over!

I've also had shopping obsession 101 where my desire to buy stuff was definitely filling a void in my life (note storage box stash), but as I went on my journey of self discovery I became more aware of my emotional wealth and my relationship with material wealth changed. I would think hard about whether I really need the purchase I was about to make. It became more about quality over quantity (with the exception of my very big love of clothing that I upcycle, recycle, reuse, remodel and restyle and re-wear over and over again) because going and buying stuff for the sake of it isn't really exciting for me. I'm not anti shopping but it doesn't give me the rush that is usually associated with it.  I guess I think about where the money can be spent differently now.

It's totally okay to want things to make our life better and more comfortable and as part of starting my single Melbourne life there was definitely things I needed - partly because a lot of my possessions were destroyed in the storm that helped pave my way here and because separated lives mean separating possessions so my consumer needs were very real and necessary.  Thankfully the urge to go beyond what was essential has been contained and even if money was no object, I'd still be wondering whether my purchases were necessary and going to add value to my life.

As someone who has spent a good part of my life evolving and questioning and finding my inner peace, I am letting my love of self take the place of love of stuff. It's amazing how when you feel satisfied within yourself, that your appreciation and satisfaction of what you have allows you to have a sense of contentment without feeling like you are missing out on anything.

The next part of my journey is going to be about letting go of some of the stuff I have, to free me up even more and keep me focussed on what really matters.......keeping my life fresh - not cluttered and continuing to appreciate the human not the material factor.  
Don't worry mum, I am not renouncing all my wordly possessions to live the life of a female sadhu, I couldn't live without my data allowance.

Note to self: Less is really more, except for when it comes to happiness for you and those around you.  Spend up big on that stuff.

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