Consumerism ADD. An illness that is medicated with retail therapy.
How many times have you bought something, thinking it’s the “fix” (for something, anything), only to have it sit in corner and gather dust while you run off and buy something else? Examples:
- Exercise equipment
- Kitchen gadgets
- New food diet plan items
- Shoes, clothes, accessories.
Where is the line between buying what enhances our lives and accumulating to fill a hole in ourselves? It’s a very personal question.
Where do you stand on the ever volleyed topic, do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you?
Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff is a good starting point to open your thinking to some new ideas about the “stuff” you are accumulating. “From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”
(if the video doesn’t load for you just click here )
Okay, so we have addressed the sustainable and social part What about the part of us that use our purchases to:
- Feel better about ourselves? (if this set off a bell for you, when you are done here, check out Judge Not -Observe Only)
- Convince others our lives are better than we really think they are?
- Drug ourselves with a buying rush (predictably culminating with a “consumer crash”)?
I remember a conversation a about 13 years ago with my friend Luanna, when I told her “I have to really keep myself in check and not do a crazy impulse buy in stores like Walmart, Target, Kohls. I can easily fill the cart with a couple of hundred dollars of great deals, and must haves. New pot holders, gadgets, towels, etc.”. She asked me if I grew up in a Union household, because it was something similar to what she experienced. She called it “feast or famine”. When the money was there, you bought! That is how she witnessed things in her family. Spot on. That conversation locked in and put the floodlights on an undercurrent I wasn’t aware off. One of those moments I refer to as PIVOT POINT. Understanding of something new and a new path opens. To Pivot or not is still the choice.
Fairly recently I was aware of that crazy buying person re-emerging. I had worked hard to be conscious and aware of what prompted my buying. Something set off a chain of events, and I found myself being swept up in the raging rapids of “get this, get that, buy it, get it, you need it, Will needs it, Joshua needs it. Better get it now”. Fortunately I said “Whooaaaaa…let’s rope this in!”, and am back in some stiller waters. My only way of staying here is to commit to “feeling” my purchases out (my ego always wants something new, my truer self is considerably less needy). Another good tool is the three-day rule. Wait three days before buying (“but what about the great coupon/sale/deal! I am gong to lose out!” says the panicking buyer me. “Cool your jets three days” says the conscious me – “you didn’t even know you wanted this until two minutes ago!”)
We just crossed the line to Summer Solstice, so I am committing my summer to “inviting the Light” to shine on my Consumerism ADD so I can call out the dusty bunny remnants of any old thinking. Stay tuned for an update at Fall Equinox.