The first resolution I intend to keep to, is to 'own less, love more'. I've touched on this subject quite a lot in the last ten months & I think it's a really important subject. In our modern western society, we constantly get fed the message of CONSUME! Whether it's through the magazines we read, or the television shows we watch, even down to the Instagram snaps we find ourselves liking, there is a persistent subliminal message, that what we have is not enough.
If you think of all the things you once hoped for & how it made you feel to finally acquire them, how many of those things do you now take for granted? How many sit forgotten about in dusty drawers, or in boxes crammed under beds, or left, stagnating at the back of a wardrobe. You see, we have so much & yet, how many of us still feel as though we need more.
It's important when you get to this stage, to take a step back, really take in what you have. Think realistically about the things you find yourself wanting. Do you really need them? Probably not. Take some time to make space, really go through your possessions. Uncover some hidden treasures you forgot you had. Finally throw out that ill-fitting pair of jeans you've had lingering around for years. Cleanse yourself of the excess. The less you have, the higher your appreciation will be.
Having sold almost everything I own, down to the contents of my wardrobe, I am left with just three boxes & two suitcases of possessions, which include; my favourite books, DVDs, a seemingly large amount of paperwork, my collection of nicknacks, my photos, a small box packed with sentimental clippings, from cards, to gig tickets & the like, a few clothes I couldn't bare to part with & my dad's ashes. That's it. Although painful to part with at first, I soon came to realise, that for the most part, there were so many things I had, that it turned out, I could so easily live without.
There's always the old adage, 'you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.' Those words have never rung more true than now. I didn't know what I had, because I had so much of what I wanted, that I never appreciated anything. Then, suddenly, it was gone & I've spent the past ten months, pining over a fair few things; my beloved pink Smeg fridge, my beautiful ivory wrought iron bed, in fact, just my home in general really. Two years spent painting, wallpapering, hanging pictures & lights, filling every nook & cranny with personal pieces, investing my time & my emotion into creating a home, a refuge.
Ultimately though, if there's no appreciation, there's no love & without love, there really is nothing. It's been a heartbreaking separation, but, ultimately, in the end, it's been strangely healing too. Now, I'm more mindful when spending my money on things. I take the time to really think about what I'm buying. "Do I need this?" "No." "So, do I love it?!" If it's a yes, then I buy it, if it's a no, then it's just another thing I don't need to be carting about with me on the road.
I really don't need more than one pair of black sandals. I really don't need more than one scarf & I definitely don't need three watch options. In fact, it turns out, there's quite a lot of things I don't actually need! Which is why I now go by the 90/10 rule; 90% need, 10% want. If you put your needs first & they're met, then a little treat of something you don't need, but that you'll love & appreciate is perfectly acceptable. At the end of the day, how many people spend forty or more hours a week at work, earning a salary, only to waste that money on things they don't need. Things that will be bought at whim & forgotten about in days. Things that ultimately aren't bringing them any real happiness.
It's such a waste. If we really thought more about what we need, then we'd start to appreciate more so the things we buy, that we simply just want. Things would become more of a treat, rather than a simple expectation, brought on by the "we earned it, we'll spend it" mentality. Maybe we'd realise that what we actually need is far less than we thought. Perhaps we'd start to want less too, as a result. Then, maybe, just maybe, we'd see that we don't need to constantly be striving to earn more. Maybe we'd choose to work less & spend more of our time doing something we actually enjoy! Well, it could happen!
Many years ago, I remember I got a promotion at work & with it a pay increase. Suddenly I became wholly preoccupied with how I was going to spend this extra money. Then a friend said to me; "The more you earn, the more things you'll find to spend it on." It was so true & it really made me think. When we let ourselves get carried away, obsessing about all the things we think we want, we could honestly never earn enough. Because now it might be that new designer bag, but next week it might be the sports car & after that, well, you'll be onto yachts. When will enough really be enough?
For me, now, it's about separating desire & maybe a little social pressure, from what it is I truly need. Once you can see the difference, you really do start to appreciate the little things more & more. Tomorrow, I am going into the city centre on a mission to purchase a new electric toothbrush. It's such a simple thing, yet, I know I will be gleeful getting it out of the packaging & using it for the first time. It is both a want & a need. A useful treat, if you will. Had I have been so giddy over an electrical appliance ten months ago (don't let your mind wander there…), I doubt it.
N.B. All photos accompanying my Happiness Project posts will be taken from one of my Pinterest boards, which hosts all the images that make me happy. Feel free to check it out in the meantime, for more happy snaps.
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