Monday, March 11, 2013

Stuff and Happiness

Occasionally I take a peek at the Twitter accounts of people I follow but don't see much of, to see what they've been up to. Not anything weird, but I look at my work Twitter stream a lot and not my own as much, so I miss things.

One of the things I can't believe I missed was this gem of a piece from Graham Hill, founder of TreeHugger.com (which I don't and probably won't read).

After finishing it, I tried really hard not to do anything rash like sell everything I own on craigslist, but the article hit home for me. I've never really kept a lot of stuff (well, not after college) but having recently moved, the temptation to acquire things has grown tremendously. For the past 3 years I'd been subleasing at friends' places  so maybe it was because I didn't have a lot of space, or a space that was truly my own that I never bought/kept stuff.

I'm finally in my own apartment and I'm acutely aware of the things I don't have, but "need."A TV. Game consoles and games. Towels, cleaning products, art for the walls, paint for the door, pants; I actually could really use some more pants.

But I don't really need any of these things (besides the pants, seriously). I have my phone and my macbook pro. I have electricity. A bed (it's in storage but it's mine). I don't even know why I have two toaster ovens. I know I don't need them. I have everything I need. More, actually.

And I've always been one of the happiest people I know.

It's weird that I keep having this urge to get more stuff. I didn't grow up like that. My Dad was always big on stressing the difference between a need and a want. A need is something you can't survive without. Food. Water. Shelter. A want is something that makes you think "hmm, that would be nice." Nice clothes. Nice lotions and body washes. Nice kitchen utensils. Nice stuff.

I think the timing was perfect for me to find this article and reiterate a truism that I have held dear since beginning school: I don't need that, but I'd like it.

I used to say it over and over and eventually I'd realize that whatever the thing was, it probably was more trouble than getting it was worth. Heck, even my macbook and phone aren't needs anymore, I have a nice computer at work. Even if I didn't, I'd still be able to go to the Library.

Resisting this urge to buy is going to take work (well not much, cause to buy stuff you should probably have money, but I digress) but I think it will help me in the long run, to continue to be my same sane, happy, thoughtful self.

Besides, stuff is for pizza crusts.