In this step, Day 5, The Minimalist directs us to evaluate all the things in our lives. Moving beyond what is essential on to developing a discerning judgment on the things that occupy our life. This may be quite a timely post right after a holiday that is highly commercialized, huh?
This stage wants us to understand several concepts. Acquiring things cost us money. Maintaining things cost us money. Using things take our time. Keeping things bring us added stress.
I read an article a few months ago that identified how the social normative teaches us early on to become consumers. Sometimes, I think it becomes our quest to buy things so we can experience happiness. Yet, this quest to obtain all these “gotta haves” is insatiable. And during which our focus gets turned to the outside. It becomes all about the appearance — what we have — what we look like; instead of focusing on being a beneficial person and making the world a better place.
Believe me; I get caught in this too. In fact, I am probably deep-seated in it. This has been difficult for me break the behavior. Just to relate a recent experience. There was a white elephant present game over the Christmas holiday, I “stole” a gnome from someone (Sorry, Janet). Certainly, it was part of the game, but really? Yep. Definitely, the gnome was adorable. Of course, it would look even more adorable in my garden. But really, is a gnome in my possession really necessary? Would it really make my life more complete? Would it make ME more valid?
My favorite author, Henry David Thoreau, wrote, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” In acquiring possessions, it’s not the money spent, it’s the time given. So, before bringing something new into our life; we really need to be discerning on defining what value this “thing” brings.
So, this new year, here are 5 criteria that I am going to start using before I add new items in my life.
- Do I really need this?
- How will it add to my life?
- What am I giving up to make this purchase and/or bring it home?
- Will this help me meet my goals?
- Am I buying this to validate who I am?
I am going to try this year to be more discerning in the things that occupy my life and focus more on becoming a better person — realizing that happiness is a choice in the journey and not found in the things I have acquired along the way.
“…make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
What are your thoughts? Do you have challenges with “things”? Do they get in your way of making a difference?