I wanted to buy everything. Try all the products. Eat all the food. Have all the pretty things. I had a special voice inside whose job was to convince me that I needed more stuff. It gave me such a rush to spend money.
When I was bored, I’d spend. When I wasn’t feeling pretty, I’d buy. Every time I got money in my pocket, I’d already spent it in my mind.
The media conditioned me to buy things to stay relevant - to show my style, my fresh, my success. And I was completely sucked into the nonsense. There was so much distraction, so much clutter and too little meaning in my world; and my reverence for the simple things in life had fallen by the wayside. I needed to get away from the noise and simplify my life. I was tired of my actions being driven by the standards of excess and consumerism. I felt something pulling me to change lanes.
For years, I blindly spent myself into debt and stress because I didn't want to miss out. My youthful insistence on immediate gratification became my adult financial and emotional burden that carried over into other aspects of my life. My triggers were everywhere – television, social media, magazines, billboards, even just casual conversation when relaxing with friends. I knew I had to get to the root and figure out what was driving this anxious pursuit of more, more, more.
It was the fear of lack. A fear that told me there wasn’t enough to go around. Buying things was a vice that gave my ego tangible evidence that I was worthy. It calmed my anxiety about being left behind and being irrelevant.
In America, and particularly in the Black community, we chase shiny things just to show that we can have them. Even as children, we felt cooler and more accepted when we had the hottest new toys. Many of our families couldn't afford to give us the latest and greatest, so we overcompensate as adults. We buy cars we can't afford, clothes we may only wear once or twice and invest more of our earnings into our appearance than we do into building wealth. The idea of having less when we have the means (or not) for more, is entertained by few.
Having less stuff requires more individual character. As an alternative, most of us prefer to live through our representative characters. That representative character wants to be admired and respected, preferably in designer clothes. We live in a competitive society, where our possessions and our appearance are a big part of determining our status. So we often spend beyond our means and overindulge to maintain this representative and keep up with the insatiable, material world. As a result, we stay surrounded by trivialities and filled with a false sense of worth.
I grew tired of being surrounded by things, spending money on more things and never being satisfied. I realized I was trying to fill a hole that couldn’t be filled that way.
No, I didn’t stop craving things. I still like to shop and sometimes, especially during the holidays, I have to catch myself and recognize that old voice telling me I need things that I don’t. I pay more attention to what I already have now. I want my environment and my possessions to reflect meaning and purpose; because otherwise it’s just taking up space. I’ve dedicated myself to creating more and spending less. I don’t want to always be wanting. Not anymore.
So as the holidays wrap up and the New Year begins, don’t be stressed or feel pressured. You don’t have to do things the way you’ve always done them, especially if you know it will only lead to regret. Make a conscious effort to be thoughtful and creative about how you experience the holidays and take these thoughts with you into the New Year. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, and nothing you can buy can give you lasting peace and fulfillment. You already have everything you need; it’s just a matter of believing it and living it.
GG Renee is an independent author, a creativity coach, a feeler and an overthinker. She writes for the crazy beautiful complex free creative inspired love drunk woman who relishes her quiet time and believes in miracles. Blog // Twitter // Instagram