How often do you buy something? At least once a day, right. But I bet a lot more.
I know I used to: Coffee, gas, something from the drug store, lunch. I’m not judging. People need to get new clothes and all kinds of things, all the time. New toys for the quiver, new fine wines or gourmet foods – there are all kinds of things to spend money on. Even though I wasn’t big on having the newest electronic device, I still had to admit when my iPhone 4 started acting really slow. I bought the 5S and would have bought the
newest one if it weren’t so huge. It’s as big as a tablet! I’d need to buy a brand new, brand name handbag that matches at least some of my shoes to fit the darn thing in, it’s so big. Besides, the newest iPhone is nearly $1K. That’s a lot of coin for something that can break on a sidewalk.
We buy things all the time. Life has become expensive and there is so much to buy. Isn’t that why we’re working all the time? I had to afford everything that went into keeping up my life throughout the day, but the reality was that it was making me crazy. I have dubbed this the Constant Consumerism Craze. Do you suffer from this as well?
CCC didn’t happen back in the pioneering days, because it really wasn’t an option. People would have one change of clothes. Ma would clean ‘em with a washing board when they’re finally too dusty and dirty to stand. Or at least I think I learn while playing Oregon Trail or something in school. I hear televisions were only black and white at one time, and OMG! NO SMARTPHONE! How am I supposed to meet up with my friends so we can have
one of those delicious orange margaritas at Crawdaddy’s? Maybe that $1K is worth being so connected to people, if that’s really the way.
(PSA: Only have one of those orange margaritas. When you drink one, you think, “Wow, now that was a delicious drink that sure went down quickly. Yes, I think I will have another. Thank you!” When you have two of those orange margaritas, you think, “Yikes, what happened last night? Last thing I remember was ordering a second one of those delicious margaritas.” I hear Blasters at Pete’s Pub in the Abacos is the same way.)
Before I went sailing, I made a little extra cash with a friend who cleaned houses. She hired me to help with this really rad mansion owned by this lovely, uber-intelligent and wealthy couple. Their daughter was bringing friends home from college the upcoming weekend. The home’s architecture was extremely modern with an almost Baushaus-esque style, filled with original modern artwork. The black walls and stone floors were as dirty as my house was. I am not a big fan of cleaning, but this job was fascinating.
What really struck me about the place was the MASSIVE amount of possessions these
people had. Piles of belongings covered every counter and bookshelf, and there were a lot of counters and bookshelves in this 9,000-square-foot mansion. A 4×5’ pile of unwashed clothes filled a huge laundry room, and the dining room table was covered with what looked like gifts and unopened mail. They didn’t throw anything out, it seemed, but they also continued to consume. Food was going bad in the refrigerator, and storerooms were overflowing with items like baskets, art supplies and clothes that needed a button sewn or something. So much stuff. In three days, we tried to organize while cleaning, and we barely made a dent. It was the Constant Consumerism Craze to the extreme.
I’ve heard from a few of my friends that they have rooms in their homes that are overflowing with possessions. Many people I know have storage units. I’ve been in garages that are so stuffed with storing things that the homeowners were unable to park in them. CCC is an epidemic.
Constant consumption has been something I’ve been studying with a current, weird job I’m doing to make some extra cash. (What is your relationship with money? I’ll come back to that.) I’ve been writing these b.s. eBay buying guides. They are actually hilarious, assigned randomly so I am asked to craft helpful guides on all kinds of things one could buy on eBay: Bike rims, professional cameras, Nintendo video games, Shiatsu chair massagers, DVD writers, lunch containers, toaster ovens, wood carving tools, small drones, laptops for children, home humidifiers, crimpers, 3D modeling software, tablets, Star War memorabilia, Steelseries headsets, casual backpacks, shine-free foundation makeup … you get the idea.
Of the 900 products I’ve written about so far, I’d estimate I purchased 4 in my lifetime. I did buy some shine-free makeup at one time, but I never really wore it. So, if you receive
nothing else from this blog post, know that you cannot trust what you read on the Internet! Including this blog post!
For that eBay job, it’s all SRO, or search engine optimization. They are studying what people are searching for, and then I create guides to steer non-thinking consumers toward a product from a search. Which ends in a sale, I guess, if you’re easily led enough to read the ignorant things I write just to make a buck.
What doesn’t end in a sale? Gotta make the sale. Seal the deal. Exchange dolla dolla billz y’all!
Now, back to relationship with money. Most people think they can never have enough. That’s the crazy part of the craze! You think if you don’t work all the time, then you are going to fall behind on the upkeep of life and all the toys and fashions and high-priced wine and whatever other consumables fill your life. Isn’t that what life is all about, enjoying the finest things and living comfortably?
Isn’t that why I am writing those eBay buying guides and doing all the other freelance writing, editing and public relations work I’m doing now? I guess so. I purchased what I needed to live on a sailboat, but I sold and gave away a lot too. Not as much as that family whose mansion I helped clean really should, but a lot. Now I’m in a saving mode. I’m not entirely sure for what. I guess I’ve always been a little like that with money.
We are living in anchorages for free and eating mostly the stores that we had purchased in big box stores strategically before we left. I’m really only buying produce and alcohol,
and in limited quantities. Otherwise, I’ve pretty much stopped buying anything. I actually got annoyed when my boyfriend came back to the boat with three plastic food containers with flimsy snap-on lids. Even if they were free, the boat is too small for too much stuff.
What if you just stopped buying things as well? How long before you would really suffer? How long would it take before all your food in your cabinets gets eaten and all the clothes in your closet turn to rags from wearing them? Before everything that is purchased becomes completely unusable as the task it was purchased for. Toys and tools will break, while your shoes would get holes in them or come undone. Everything. That’s what happens when you die, eventually. My boyfriend found a used and dirty bilge pump in a pile of debris at the edge of his grandfather’s old property in the Bahamas. We needed one of those; he cleaned it and is using it now in the dinghy.
My point is, it would take a long time before suffering would really take place, especially if you plan and remain a self-sufficient being. I think a better focus of energy is back on one’s self directly, instead of bypassed through Constant Consumerism. There is no need to identify with belongings. We are not what we wear or eat. We are so much more complex and amazing than that. Money and possessions should not become a path toward happiness, because it never fully satisfies.