You Aren’t Possessions, Status or Employment

Dec
10
2012

If you are like me, you read the title of this post and said “of course we are not possessions, status, or employment”.  It should be a no brainer, of course, but it isn’t.  And now, as I reflect on many years of my life, I am ashamed to say that I am guilty of feeling at times that I have seen myself as all of these things.

I have viewed my identity as my job for most of my life.  Luckily,  a musician is a great identity in many ways, but it is not everything.

My material wealth has made me feel better about myself at times.  I have owned material possessions that other people have not.  Meaningless stuff.

It has not been until the last month that I have felt like I can make half of my salary and still feel as important as I do now.  I’m ashamed to have even written that, but hey….it’s true.

You see, these thoughts can dominate your life if you are not careful.  Our society is shouting at us every day that it is true; buy this and you will feel like that. The feeling never lasts, and there is always something else that comes up.

Defining ourselves is not easy, but the ways mentioned above are a bad way to start.

I spent so many years wanting more stuff than I had before. More money, more gadgets, better house, better clothes, nicer car, more stuff.

I’m not going to lie and say that I only need the bare necessities in life.  Remember that we only do this once, so we may as well have some nice things.

But for the first time, I feel as if I don’t need to work as much; that I may actually enjoy working less and spending time with my family.  That I can pick and choose what I want to spend my life energy doing, since I’m not working to pay a bank for the lifestyle inflation that I created by over-consuming.

To think this all started with simply getting out of debt and selling a lot of my stuff.

I cannot emphasize enough: If you begin the process of throwing off the chains of consumerism, you will be amazed how much “space” (both physical and emotional) is created in your life.  Other things begin to flow into this space besides the desire to consume (buy) things.

It is truly a beautiful thing.  I hope you join me.

 

Comments

  1. You nicely illustrate an interesting point: radical shifts in perceptions regarding material wealth and status (or any radical shift in perception for that matter) tends to be born out of some form of crisis. You mention how debt, and your pursuit to be free of it, permanently altered your attitudes to materialism and consumerism.

    I think we’re lucky Tony, the same was true for me. I think it is a stroke of sheer good fortune to experience an event of such magnitude that it alters your view of the world so markedly.

    We are the in the minority though…most never have that jolt, or worse, they don’t learn from it.

    • Lucky indeed, Gareth.

      Personally, I had to hit a “wall” before coming to my senses. A bad economy plus maxed out credit cards were the right recipe for the “jolt” you speak of.

      Thanks for the post. I look forward to checking out your blog!

  2. “I cannot emphasize enough: If you begin the process of throwing off the chains of consumerism, you will be amazed how much “space” (both physical and emotional) is created in your life. Other things begin to flow into this space besides the desire to consume (buy) things.”

    Totally true! I too have been caught up worrying about about the stuff you talk about. It is such a relief when you let it go. Your thinking actually changes. Example: Every time I see someone driving an expensive car, I feel sorry for that person instead of jealous. I know they have a steep payment that will keep them from their true dreams (which they may not even be aware of).
    Mr. 1500 recently posted…Thursday Rant: The $260 Lunch Bag; Has Society gone Mad?!?My Profile

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