Over the past 15 years, D and I graduated from university, entered the workforce, got married, had kids, bought a house... and so "real life" began. As the years passed, we saw our purchasing power increase, and with it the amount and value of things we owned.
During that same period, our parents, now in their fifties and sixties, were beginning to either get rid of their belongings or replace them with more luxurious options (as their purchasing power was also increasing toward the end of their career).
Meanwhile, our grandparents, in their eighties and nineties, moved into assisted living residences and could not keep all their belongings - guess who "inherited" most of it.
The consequence? We ended up with a lot of stuff. I was pretty happy about it. But the truth is, it was too much stuff for our own good.
In my mid-thirties, I gradually realized that all that stuff was weighing me down. I appreciated some of it, but definitely not all. I also realized that acquiring new stuff only had a very ephemeral positive effect on my mood, followed by a more enduring negative effect on the clutter in the house. I also realized that each dollar I spent shopping was a dollar I could not use for more rewarding activities such as travelling. Finally, I realized that I was not so comfortable with the idea of contributing to the inevitable pollution that comes with the manufacturing, transportation and, later on, disposal of goods.
And so, gradually, the shift occurred. I hopped off the consumerist bandwagon just when it was beginning to get really interesting. Having money to buy things was no longer a sufficient reason to buy such things. I decreased my consumption to the point of deciding to buy nothing new for a year (this year). Already owning things was also no longer a sufficient reason to keep them. I started getting rid of stuff. Finally, I made other lifestyle changes with the hope of minimizing both our footprint and potential health issues.
I did not completely renounce the freedom, comfort and pleasure that comes with money and nice things, but I became more mindful of my relationship to the the material sphere.
How has that all felt? Pretty darn good, if you want to know.
WEEK 19 IN REVIEW
None that I can think of. Isn't that wonderful?
Donations (good riddance)
More clothes. More books. More kitchenware.
Observations and cogitations
In the category "I don't know where my money is going", eating out wins hands down. As an acquaintance of mine recently remarked: if you've been cutting down on your spending but still have the nagging feeling that a big chunk of your paycheck disappears in a pipeline, look into your consumption of food and drinks outside of the house. You could be surprised!
Speaking of food and drinks, our kitchen is beginning to look pretty minimal. Lots of counter top space has magically appeared. Another perk of minimalism for sure!
Your turn to share about your struggles and victories of the week! What did you resist? Did you donate or get rid of anything? Did you face any challenge? Please comment below! And...
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