Full-Time Consumer to Aspiring Minimalist
For as long as I can remember I've been chasing material items for happiness. Many people struggle with material items and thinking those items will bring them happiness. Which they may, but temporarily. But don't get me wrong, I love a good sale. . . but is acquiring more things to store really happiness? This is my journey of being a full-fledged consumer to becoming a more mindful purchaser.
In my 20s, it was all about purchasing as much as I possibly could as a teacher assistant and pushing my credit cards to the limit. It got me in a lot of trouble. My Dad even bailed me out of some hefty credit card bills before he died. I still didn't learn my lesson because I continued to use my financial aid for school to feed my habit. It was bad. I thought that acquiring more goods and pretty things would make me happy and feel successful. All that I was left with were credit card receipts and pretty things that had lost their shine. And no happiness in sight.
As my salary increased, so did my purchases; expensive handbags, vacations, and paying for insignificant others' experiences. In my mid 20s, I began to read about Buddhism and I started to understand that we cause our own suffering. So whatever suffering I had in my life, was something I had created. Which I did. I created the lack. I was projecting the scarcity in my life not only in the area of wealth, but in quality romantic relationships. And the Universe responded by giving me more bills, debts, and deadbeat boyfriends.
The good thing is that I was never a hoarder. So, just as easily as the items came into my life, they left just the same. I've always donated gently used items to Good Will or the Salvation Army. Giving things away always made me feel good and it still does. So, at least I wasn't too attached to these material items. Which is another reason why we suffer; we cling too tightly to material things. I recently experienced letting go of all the carefully curated items for our home when we moved from Los Angeles to New Hampshire. We gave everything away and only brought what could fit into our NV200 Nissan van. Which was not much! Non-attachment was something I was working on previous to the move. We only kept things that were essential or had some kind of sentimental value.
I know the Best-Seller book by Marie Kondo and only keeping things that spark joy and people are going bananas over it. I own the book, but I have yet to read it. It's on my to-read list. Knowing that all of my favorite things that bring me joy are in my mother-in-law's basement in a tidy corner makes me quite happy. We haven't yet unpacked those boxes, but I already feel like a minimalist. I know I can do better, but for now... this is good enough.
From this point forward, I feel that whatever worldly goods I acquire will be specific, useful, and intentional. Yes, intentional. I think intentional is a good place to start.