I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was a kid, my number one fantasy went like this: I wake up, and my parents tell me we have to go to Toys R Us to “run an errand.” When we get there, all the employees are standing around and smiling at me. My parents then inform me that I have exactly fifteen minutes to fill a huge shopping cart with everything my little heart desires. Everyone cheers and claps as I race down the aisles, filling the cart with toy chemistry sets, video games, maybe a Barbie styling head because they always kind of fascinated/creeped me out, etc.
You can probably guess that this never happened. Not even close. We couldn’t afford any excess and my dad is the type of person who keeps a pair of pants until it splits down the rear. And then his pants would get sewn and transformed into shorts. This overarching policy applied to everyone in our household, so I had many shorts that had previously been pants.
So when I became a working adult and got my first corporate job at a law firm and my first paycheck, I splurged on myself: shoes, clothes, trips, gadgets, you name it. And after years of stuffing myself silly on materialism, I finally grew sick of the bloating. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened gradually, where after another shopping spree, I’d feel disgusted with myself. This feeling of disgust kept getting stronger and stronger, and the only relief I found was when I returned the items and got a refund.
Then it became clear: it was time to shed the excess.
It was time to stop allowing ads and my surroundings to push me into consuming, when I already had enough.
I began to search online for people who also wanted to live in a way so that they weren’t burdened with stuff, and landed on several great websites. The most helpful websites I came across were becomingminimalist.com and mrmoneymustache.com. They gave testimony after testimony of people who were much happier after they learned to see these advertisements (aka false messages) for what they really were: a way to get you to part with your well-earned money, a way to get you to focus on meaningless consumerism and to detract you from your true passions and talents, a way to breed envy among friends and acquaintances so that the consumer machine would keep chugging along.
Wouldn’t it be great to be free from materialistic urges? Join me in future segments where I’ll discuss practical steps. And one day, together, we’ll get rid of piles of stuff and be FREE! Yeah!
I leave you with a hilarious clip of Jerry Seinfeld talking about STUFF: