In addition to consuming information via Facebook, we have become overt consumers in the traditional sense. Recently, I have been going through a personal struggle with a compulsion that doesn’t seem like a ‘real problem’. You begin college with this idea in mind of how much you need to call yourself successful. It’s usually very minimal because, well, you’re a college kid and you don’t have much. At that point in our lives, we are only renting a space (no mortgage), working part time, content to use crappy cell phones and drive a crappy car. We were proud of the fact that these were the first things we bought for ourselves. Slowly, after we begin our careers, we reach the point we had dreamed of and move past it. In my case, I didn’t even see it happen. Something else is happening simultaneously, which is spending more when you make more. This is a concept we are all familiar with and is nothing unusual to hear. What’s surprising is that it doesn’t happen the way you think. You don’t notice it. This is because we don’t walk into stores to buy things anymore. This is because we log onto Amazon Pantry to order coffee and shower rings, but quickly spend $200 when we throw a new coffee maker and shower curtains into the mix. Six mouse clicks, 10 minutes. And that money is gone. But you get back to doing what you were doing a few minutes before and quickly forget. Then a few days later – someone delivers presents to you! Almost like you didn’t have pay at all.
There are other things, too. For me, it’s also Starbucks. I started to get a coffee every morning on my way home – it’s the last stop after I drop my kids off and before I go home to work. It began as a quick break in my routine to feel like my own personal and to get my morning jolt. Then I started getting a breakfast sandwich as well, because I am so busy getting the kids dressed and fed when we get up I forget to eat. Then I discovered the Starbucks Rewards program. Well, why wouldn’t I want rewards!? This would be wonderful, except it requires money on your account and a minumum of $10 to be added at a time. Now that I was getting a coffee AND a sandwhich, that required me to put $10 on every day to use the Rewards program.
Amazon Prime, Starbucks, Target, Netflix, Spotify, Stitch Fix, Restaurants, iTunes Subscriptions, Timshel, Movie Tickets, ThirdLove, Xbox Live, HelloFresh, Etsy….
This is all to say that I’ve started making changes. I wish I could say I had this very obvious revelation on my own, but I didn’t. I started a documentary on Netflix one day: “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things”. To be honest, when I flashed past the main title, I thought I was going to be watching a doc about minimal design. It turned out to be very different and pleasantly unexpected. I was struck and pulled in by the beginning lines:
“So much of our life is lived in a fog of automatic, habitual behavior. We spend so much time on the hunt. But nothing ever quite does it for us and we get so wrapped up in the hunt that it kind of makes us … miserable” – Dan Harris
I would definitely recommend watching this to anyone out there feeling similarly… trapped. Who has ever felt personally victimized by