As I was flipping through my first issue of Conde Nast Traveler (thanks American Airlines miles!), I was inspired to write about something that has nothing to do with my having a disability. I wrote a post a while back about Living on One Dollar, an extremely touching and thought-provoking documentary on Netflix. The older I get, the less attached I am with things…stuff. But I feel like watching that documentary was a really big turning point for me. My relationship with “stuff” really changed. I get rid of clothes more than I buy them. I keep a much more stringent budget so I can save money or donate it rather than spend it willy nilly on the latest online sale.
But getting back to Conde Nast…in between some great articles on travel they have some rather ridiculous columns/pages on things…sunglasses, bags, shoes. I understand how those can intertwine with travel but the things they advertise aren’t in 90% of the population’s budget. A $2000 Chanel bag is the “best” purse for airplane travel? $700 Louis Vuitton sunglasses are the latest trend in travel wear? I was so obsessed with brands and labels in college because every around me was. I just wanted to fit in and have an expensive purse or wear a pair of 7 jeans. Now I just don’t get it. There’s absolutely no need to spend that much money on things. Sure you don’t want to buy the $5 sunglasses at the cart in the mall because you need to protect your eyes but newsflash for you, that Chanel purse is made in the same place with likely the same materials as one at Target.
We live in a consumerist and capitalistic society…I get it. Our economy is basically driven by the amount of “stuff” we buy. I just wish we could all see there’s so much more to life than stuff. It’s natural to want to have nice things. To have a comfortable life. But all this overpriced superfluous stuff is just so unnecessary. It’s just a status symbol to say to the world “look how well I’m doing” or worse, “I’m doing so much better than you”. It’s using something external to try and validate something internal. Cause let’s be honest, if you didn’t really care about the label, you would buy that Target purse instead (I know, there’s brand loyalty too and blah blah blah).
And our culture totally encourages this idea that we need more “stuff”. More clothes, the newest car, the newest phone, some stupid smart watch. None of that will make you happy. Yeah sure maybe you’ll get some satisfaction for a day, maybe even weeks but then that fades and if you don’t feel happy with all of the internal “stuff”: your self worth, your inner peacefulness and happiness, no amount of Louis Vuitton sunglasses and Chanel purses are going to fix that or improve those things. Personally, when I die, I would much rather do so knowing I had at least a little bit of inner peace and happiness. That I had good memories with those I loved rather than a lot of expensive purses or sunglasses.
I know I sound very judgmental and on this particular topic and I freely admit I am. There’s just so much more to life than stuff and it makes me sad how much our society and so many of us (even me at times) put so much emphasis on meaningless things instead of meaningful experiences and memories. Life is short. Make the most of it…without that Chanel bag.