When I look around me, I see educated and very intelligent sick people. The disease they suffer from is affluenza, a serious addiction to buying . . . stuff. Stuff they do not need or even really want, but stuff they feel compelled to buy. At first glance, you would say they are healthy and happy and wise about their spending, but they spend a lot of time saying: “I’ve just bought this!” and, “I got this on sale!” and, “I’m so excited about my new this!” Usually they are also very good at justifying their need for this new stuff.
It is obvious that many of us are suffering from some degree of addictive consumerism. The tv commercials, and ads on the internet, in magazines, and on billboards are so very seductive that, for most of us, it can be hard to resist. It takes great effort to not take out the credit card and then bring home more stuff.
The problem with giving in to this impulse is that it’s bad for our mental, emotional, and financial health, to say nothing of our living spaces and the environment. One of my biggest challenges is resisting stuff that is actually not at all expensive, and in fact, often free. But it is still stuff that I could end up accumulating and storing and dealing with! And this accumulation makes me anxious.
So I’ve started to do something about it. I’ve tried very hard and I’m making lots of progress. In fact, I could say that I’m almost there. I mostly have enough!
Enough. Such a beautiful word — and one that gives me great satisfaction when I say it. More and more, I’m not even tempted to buy. And it’s not because I’m cheap, or poor, or massively in debt. I’m none of the above. I’m just reaching the healthy stage where I can say, “No thank you. I have enough.” What a liberating, happy and powerful feeling! The temptation to buy is gone and I am effortlessly in charge.
How I admire minimalists! I’m not there yet, but it is a goal. I’m starting a new habit: getting more stuff out of my life. It may not be good for the economy, but it is very good for me.
How about you? Do you support a growing economy by buying stuff? Do you suffer from consumerism? Or are you, too, learning to say, “No thank you. I have enough.”