Life vs. Stuff

“At the end of this short journey, you’ll look back and remember your experiences, the people you loved and who loved you back, the things you did and didn’t do. Not the stuff you had.” From Love Life, Not Stuff

I just finished reading this article up at Zen Habits and how timely it is! I’ve found myself wanting to spruce up the apartment – new plants for the porch, new wall treatment and art for the bedroom – and my wardrobe lately. At first I chalked it up to a change in the weather and an embrace of summer sunshine. But as I look closer, I think wanting the new ‘stuff’ comes from a desire for a change in lifestyle.

I want new plants and art because I want to surround myself with nature and beauty. But the most gratifying solution, the instant fix, comes from refurnishing my surroundings, instead of changing my life. How strange it is to realize this consumer impulses. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, since I work in advertising and live eyes deep into a culture that supports retail therapy. Still, I’m disturbed by this impulse.

I can just go read a book outside, instead of watching TV indoors. I can make art instead of buying it, and tap into my own creativity. I can create my surroundings without spending money. And, more importantly, as this article points out, is it really what is outside of me that I long to change?

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