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Sunday, August 16, 2015


 (c) 2015 Kimberly D Miller

Calm down...I don't mean that you should strip and take your clothes off for I am referring, in the physical realm only to strip your life of "things" and in the emotional realm, to strip yourself of anything that isn't beneficial in your here and now.

One of the things I had to do to move out of my old life and into my new, was to sell off practically everything I house, all of the stuff in my house including all of the antiques I had spent years collecting, clothes, tools, and anything else that wasn't nailed down in order to obtain enough money for this giant change I needed to effectuate.  For me, especially at the time, this was SO hard to do because I needed my things, at least that is what I told myself because I spent so many years collecting them all and making sure my house was all I wanted it to be and that I was surrounded by "stuff" that made me happy. When I finally arrived at my new destination I was amazed by how light I felt and I realized it was because I didn't have all of that stuff weighing me down anymore.  I actually didn't even realize it was weighing me down until I didn't have it in my life anymore.  Now I am quite the opposite...I live a very minimalistic life (as much as an artist can).  I now know that what is important in life is not the car, the house, the stuff in the house and the is the experiences we have, the adventures, the excitements, the trips, the friendships, the laughter, the love and the joy. The same goes for anything you hold onto on an emotional level because anything that isn't in the here and the now, isn't important anymore.

I realized one day that I spent a lot of my life filling my emotional voids with things that I could buy.  For me, depression equaled a shopping trip for a quick pick-me-up, but also one that didn't last for long. Usually the thing that I bought to make me feel better would do so for about a day and then I felt guilty and torn apart by buyer's remorse, so-to-speak. I would shop even when I didn't have the money to shop and that lead to credit cards I didn't need and overcharging and over-spending to the point that I could not pay my bills and would end up in huge financial distress.

I recently found an article on a blog entitled, "Financially Free Now," and it addressed this subject quite nicely.  I have inserted it below for you to read:

“Increases in material possessions may well be accompanied by a decrease in happiness. This phenomenon, termed the ‘hedonic treadmill’, says that as possessions increase, so do people’s expectations. Over time, people become less sensitized towards their possessions and require even more new possessions just to sustain the same level of happiness as before”. The quote made me think for a moment and made me interested in reading the article.
Due to mass media and advertisements, people are made to believe that their well-being and self-worth are defined by what they wear, drive and use. Therefore, consumers go after the latest gadget and things that they do not really need in their lives. They think that acquiring these items will bring them happiness. However, research has debunked this proposition by demonstrating that neither the ability to acquire nor the actual acquisition of material goods brings about sustainable increase in happiness. Instead, buying more material goods, requires even more new possessions to maintain the same level of happiness as before. This reminds me of the usage of drugs or alcohols. The more you take, the more you need to consume the next time to sustain the previous levels of “feeling good”. In gaming terms, you have “upped your level”.
So what generates sustainable happiness in us? Research has shown that experiences far outweigh material goods in generating happiness. Such experiences can be going for a spa, going to the concert, going on a holiday and dining in a chic restaurant. The reason for this is that experiences are more central to one’s identity than material goods. Such experiences also have greater social value than acquisition of material goods. Attending a concert, for example, allows interactions with other people whereas material acquisition does not. Most material possessions like buying a watch, clothes or handbags necessarily benefits only the individual without much social interaction.
NUS Business School had studied material and experiential purchases in Singapore. Consistent with past research, they observed that people were happier with experiences rather than the material goods they bought."

I still go antiquing and I still love it, but now I do more looking than I do buying and while I love to go to the mall to window shop, I generally walk out with just an ice cream cone, if that. 

Do yourself a favor and live life for life itself...go places that make you happy, spend time with people you enjoy...including yourself, and laugh until you pee your pants for these are the things that matter. 

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