I moved house recently, which is fun and exciting but also rather tiring and draining. During the time-consuming and painful process of packing and relocating my things, I came to the realisation that I have accumulated a lot of stuff. A lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of books, stationary, jewellery and basically just a lot of meaningless crap.
Now, considering I am basically a gypsy, having officially moved seven times in the past five years (did I mention I like change?), in which each time I managed to significantly eliminate the quantity of useless junk I own, I have to admit that I’m kind of surprised, and frankly embarrassed, by the amount of unnecessary shit I have somehow still retained.
Seriously, the volume of virtually unused and (for the most part) unloved clothing that I found hiding away in my drawers or squished to the back of my closet was ridiculous. Yet for some reason I felt it necessary to keep hold of it all ‘just in case I wear it again’. Well, that ‘just in case’ moment never seemed to occur, and so this time I sucked it up and chucked it all straight into the good Sammy’s pile.
I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. I don’t really have that much stuff and I don’t buy things very often. Yet whilst packing up my life, I did feel a strange and unjustified connection to some of the things I have accumulated. An unwarranted attachment to books I had never read and necklaces I’d never worn. Each time another item was ditched in the bin or thrown towards the salvos collection, I felt some momentary grief. It stung a little bit. I was hesitant to part ways. Though not because I was mourning the loss of that pair of high waisted denim shorts. Nope. I felt sadness for all the money that had been wasted over superficial crap. All the money that I was basically just throwing away. All the money that could’ve been put towards better things.
Better things like travelling and experiences. Exploring and chasing adventures. Weekend road trips, spontaneous mid-week outings and dinners with friends. All the stuff that create lasting memories, not just collect dust in the back of a cupboard somewhere. That’s what I believe life is all about- collecting moments, not things.
It was money that could have helped feed a homeless man on the street or rescued a stray puppy or provided a water well for an entire village in a third-world country. Yet it was money just sitting in my wardrobe achieving nothing, providing no purpose, collecting dust.
It makes me angry. Both at myself and at society. Angry that I wasted so much money on useless possessions, but mostly angry that we live in a world where such a huge importance is placed on materialistic things. We are a society ruled by consumerism. We want our houses to resemble a photograph in an interior design magazine. We spend money on new outfits, only to wear them once. We are constantly upgrading to the newest technology when what we already have works perfectly fine.
Why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to dress up our lives in sparkles and glitter? Western society has put unrealistic expectations on us to always be, look and have the best of everything. Social media, with its #fitspo models, online clothing boutiques and sponsored posts is hugely to blame too. Instagram and Facebook encourage us to become fixated on appearance and possessions. Social media makes us become aware of products we didn’t even know about, yet suddenly we need them.
It’s easy to get sucked up in it all. Become victim to the way of the world. It surrounds us everywhere we go. It is constantly in our face – consciously and subconsciously. But I guess we each, as individuals need to decide what is more important to us? Stuff or unforgettable experiences? Having an amazing wardrobe or helping others?
Here’s some fuel for thought…
No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say, “She had a really expensive couch and great shoes.” Don’t make your life be about materialistic stuff.
That right there, sums it all up.
Love Elo xx