I Said Goodbye to Compulsive Consumerism
It’s not everyday that my mom gets me a present out of the blue. Of course, there are birthdays and holidays, but other than that, we try not to buy a lot of unnecessary things. Especially in the last year, I started looking at things differently. And I literally mean things. This simple shift in perspective has led me to say goodbye to compulsive consumerism.
This shift was subtle at first until it became impossible to avoid. This is because we hold it in our hands everyday. Odds are you’re holding it right now. And I think back to a world before we became attached to our phones.
Our childhoods when we would beg our mom to buy us a Cosmo Girl at the grocery store. Even a few years ago, we would still throw a magazine into our shopping cart and flip through People at our doctor’s office.
As technology evolves, I’ve realized that we don’t hold things anymore. When every piece of information is now available at our fingertips, these new advancements come with a loss of magic.
Think of your mom holding the gigantic Thomas Guide while your dad tries to navigate the route on your family vacation. Or your Grandma cutting out a newspaper article that she thinks you’ll like.
It’s a special experience to hold something valuable in our hands, and we choose where to assign that value. For me, a phone is just not the same as turning the pages of a book, or receiving a handwritten letter in the mail.
The warmth behind the things that we cherish just can’t be replicated when they represent our experiences. Of course I value technology, but I just don’t look back fondly and feel like my phone and I have been through so much.
So my Mom bought me a book entitled, “Read This if You Want to Be Instagram Famous.” This is because she honestly thinks I need help after watching my awkward Instagram Stories. But she described the whole experience of buying the book for me. She found a local shop next to her office, got helpful suggestions from the girls who worked there, and they beautifully hand-wrapped the gift.
Nothing will ever beat the experience of genuine human interaction. I share this because I feel strongly towards uncovering a purposeful life filled with meaningful experiences.
So next time you’re scrolling through Instagram feeling like you need to buy everything you see, take a moment. Think about how it feels to walk into a store filled with beautiful handmade things compared to pressing a button. When we choose to design a life filled with cherished memories, then we no longer become compulsive consumers. This subtle shift just might lead to more time enjoying the present moment.
(This post is part of the Things We Used To Do series to reflect on simpler times when we existed with less technology and more personal interaction.)
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