The Intricate Connection between Materialism and Balanced Living

The Intricate Connection between Materialism and Balanced Living

If you ask anyone that knows me really well, they will likely tell you that I am one of the hardest people to shop for. My own husband bemoans every single birthday, anniversary and holiday season about all the time he spends trying to come up with a present that I won’t immediately want to take back. While I am extremely grateful for the gesture behind every single present, the reality is that there are few, if any things I ever actually want.

No, I don’t live a minimalist Marie Kondo-esque lifestyle or have a policy of getting rid of an item if I buy a new one of the same kind (hence why I have 4-5 oven mittens at the very least). I simply don’t do stuff with a few exceptions. Books are one thing that I routinely do purchase for myself if my local library doesn’t happen to already have a copy. That’s pretty much it. I am much more comfortable with buying items for my home or spending money on experiences than picking out something at the store for myself.

I wasn’t always so averse to material possessions. In my early twenties when designer purses were suddenly much more accessible to the general population, I would routinely go on Ebay and buy them. Most of them are still in a box in the garage from when we moved to our new home a few years ago. While there is a partial frugal element to the equation of why I don’t like owning things, I have absolutely no issue with buying things for other people, and in the rare instances when I do go to a store, I am much more likely to buy something for someone else than for myself.

In this regard, I pretty much live the complete opposite of how I grew up. I went shopping with my mom at least once a week; her favorite pastime still is going to thrift stores and trying to find that one, unique item that no one else has. I have shared before how much I dislike shopping but besides my general reluctance to spend my precious free time walking around the mall, I realize that my commitment to simple, balanced living is a major contributor to my lack of want of material things.

When you work as I do on multiple projects while remaining committed to striking as much of a balance as possible in terms of self-care and time with family, the idea of acquiring more things that require an effort on my part to maintain is a lot less appealing. I could buy a cute pair of shoes, or invest the $40 in an hour long massage after the end of a long workweek. My mission is to create as little work as possible while cultivating the most joy and buying trinkets that have to be dusted or more clothes that have to be laundered just doesn’t align with my overall vision in life.

I’m not advocating you give away your possessions and start caring around your most precious 10 items in a backpack. I am very fortunate to have a home, a vehicle, a desk at work that is currently filled with little knick knacks from recent trips and more than just a few coffee mugs. But if you do find yourself constantly browsing Amazon or trying to fit another pair of jeans into an already over-stuffed closet that might just be a symptom of a bigger lack of focus as to how you truly want to live your life. Committing to living intentionally rather than simply running on auto-pilot can be difficult at first, but once it becomes second nature, it can be one of the best choices you ever make.

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