It’s said that people who spend their money on experiences rather than things are happiest, and that makes sense to me, for the most part. Excessive materialism isn’t as big a problem in our household as in some, mainly because we’re the type of people who’d much rather have a little more free time than make more money. (Ask my husband. He actually told his boss this.) You’ve seen the attitude we have toward material trappings in one of my previous posts, Home Needs Improvement. Still, there are times when the urge overtakes me, when I’ve seen a lot of cravable items while cruising Pinterest, and I really want to get out there and forage for shiny material goods in the retail jungle. I’ve been fighting this urge all week.
The trouble is, since I’ve developed this conscience lately and started examining the consequences of my actions more carefully, I want to avoid too much consumption and unnecessary acquisition of what the brilliant George Carlin called “shit.” I have plenty of shit already, and, while it may not be the newest, fanciest, best shit, it all serves its purpose pretty well. However, there’s a difference between shit that just adds to the pile and shit that enhances your life. My latest task is to get better at telling the difference before I bring the shit home. Before I buy something now–a houseplant, a kitchen gadget, yet another tube of almost the same shade of lipstick, whatever–I ask myself whether the item will truly make a positive difference in my daily life or that of my family.
Example: I want a new tea kettle. I don’t use it for tea; I use it for heating the water for my ritualistic brewing of, well, in my opinion, a nearly orgasmic cup of French-pressed coffee every morning. I want a modern, enameled one, bright red, to sit there and look lovely in its permanent perch on the back of the stove, brightening up our tiny, otherwise extremely basic kitchen. Now, the utilitarian kettle I have is fine (except that it dribbles a little when pouring, which pisses me off and therefore kind of puts a little damper on the splendor of my morning coffee ritual). I could get by with it for a long time instead of shelling out the forty or fifty bucks I imagine the kind I want is going to cost, and besides, going out and buying another new product when I don’t absolutely need one certainly isn’t the tree-hugging, eco-conscious thing to do….and I do consider myself a bit of a tree hugger.
….but I want one! Like this one:
It would make me smile every time I looked at it. It would temporarily daze (while not harming) two birds with one stone: form because of its sleek beauty, and function because of its…uh…function.
Therefore, when I ask myself what I’ve been trying to ask lately when hit with a sudden case of shiny-object lust, I have to answer YES, this thing I want would indeed make a difference in my life. The good news, though, is that the answer isn’t always yes and I’ve been loading up our little home with a lot less unnecessary shit lately.
It also helps that the weather sucks today, which makes me want to remain at home, preferably in loungewear, instead of venturing out for retail therapy. It’s supposed to rain all weekend and clear up next week, when I’m sure I’ll again be tempted to take a sunny drive to the nearest shopping mecca and have to remember that one big question before I slide that bank card. Meantime, I can put the old kettle in with the camping shit.