Last week was all kinds of drab, drizzly, and cold. So I promptly turned into a fantastically lazy + melancholy version of myself. I did all sorts of stuff, like:
- avoid working out
- avoid washing my hair
- avoid putting on real clothes
- avoid staying awake
- avoid social interactions
- avoid vegetables
After a few days of this, I wasn’t feeling too happy with my choices. And when I’m unhappy with my choices, something happens — I just wanna buy things!!
I’ve recognized this little pattern in my life, and over the past few months I’ve been watching it closely, trying to find the root.
And I saw something:
Over the course of my life, consumeristic culture has been quietly feeding my brain this idea:
You want to change your life? You need to buy something for that.
For example, last week:
I wished I was better about working out. So I wanted to buy cute workout clothes.
… Instead of just getting up right then and going for a jog around the neighborhood. Which would have been real progress — and free.
And I wished I was more outdoorsy and adventurous. So I wanted to buy a camper and renovate it with a modern, minimal, all white and wood interior.
… Instead of just getting up right then, bundling up, and hiking around a new park. Again, real progress — also free.
And I wished I was a better friend — AKA I wanted to be someone who brought people together and hosted fun gatherings. So I wanted buy a welcoming home out in the country.
… Instead of just inviting a few friends over to our apartment to watch Downton Abbey. Progress — free — you get the idea.
I had to ask myself: Am I actually living the life I want to live? Or am I just buying things that represent that life?
And I had to ask myself: Am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes in order to start things, you do need to buy something. Or sometimes, you just want to make fun purchases. And that’s okay. We’re all on our own journey.
The important thing is to simply notice … with no judgement … when progress is attached to a purchase. Kind of like practicing meditation.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each thought as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops. – via Gaiam LIfe’s “Meditation 101”
Once you’re aware, consumeristic culture isn’t in control anymore — you’re in control, and you can choose what’s right for you.
And that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
What do you think? Have you ever felt this way, too?
Sweater: Nordstrom Rack (similar here)
Pants: old from J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Bag: old from Madewell (similar here)