photo via Pinterest.
"The less I needed, the better I felt."
I have long identified myself as "a marketing major's dream come true." I am SO that girl who sees a celebrity wearing something and immediately goes to find a version of it online. If something is shiny- I look. I fall for EVERYTHING. I actually stopped buying flashier magazines because I finally realized how badly I was being duped into buying things that didn't really work. It hasn't only been the fashion aspect; when it comes to beauty products I'm a super sucker. There is a simple recipe for great skin, hair, and nails, and it does NOT stem from using the latest berry extract from some new desert flower. My sister went to a dermatologist who told her something that made more sense than anything I've ever heard, which I'll paraphrase as, "I'll lose a lot of my business by admitting this- but drinking water is the greatest beauty trick on Earth. I can tell if a woman is drinking enough water as soon as she walks in the door." Considering that our bodies are made up of nearly 90% water- it seems so obvious. But the consumer-driven marketplace pushes us to believe that we need a medicine cabinet full of ingredients that we can't pronounce in order to preserve ourselves. It's crazy, manipulative, and sort of sad. But you know what? I fall for it, 9 out of 10 times. I'm ashamed to admit that I've spent so much money on stuff that was such a waste. Worst of all, in the end it's been my tried-and-true stuff that I return to. I've purchased a $50 face wash, only to discover that my $7 Neutrogena stuff makes my skin look ten times better. And no ocean-moisturizer has compared to some of the Garnier products that I've used.
It's really tough for me to keep my inner-consumer at bay. I always feel like I have this weird need to buy the next big thing. Most recently- I had to get rid of one of my store credit cards to avoid using it to online shop when I'm bored. It was that compulsive. I would see a jacket somewhere, and go to this website to find a similar one (because they have EVERYTHING). And I'll admit it: it makes me sad that I don't have product A, B, or C. But I also should admit that buying that stuff in the first place was an unhealthy addiction. I would literally get this whole, "This is so wrong!" high from spending money that I knew I ought to be saving, and I'd hit that "Submit" button with a strange combination of self-loathing and excitement. It IS sad, and embarrassing ... but true. It's taking practice to see something I like and not seek it out for purchase right away. Part of me gets really sad to not be getting shiny packages in the mail. But an even bigger part of me feels SO good when I see my statements with a consistently low-to-zero balance on them.
There's a quote from Fight Club that says, "the things you own end up owning you," and that couldn't be more true. We don't need all of these THINGS. We need to have less- to 'need' less- in order to be more happy. When we can lose that dependency on ownership in order to make us feel complete, we can finally be satisfied with what we already have. It's not about getting things to make us happy, it's about being happy with what we already have. Anything past what comes easy is a gift, a bonus. I am not advocating that we stop pushing ourselves to achieve or advance, only that we first accept a fulfillment with our lives as they exist and not assume that more=better. There is a peace in simplicity that dwarfs the joy you feel by owning a bunch of "things."
Don't seek out completion from the future...live for today, for this moment is The Complete.