It occurs to me that people must consider my life is difficult since our monthly spending, without the mortgage, is about $2100/month. Some people believe spending more money makes people happier. This has been proven to be a false statement by various studies. Yet I still get people looking at me like I’m crazy. The fact is I’m working on demanding more from my life and happen to spend less because of it.
I don’t believe that consumerism has ever made anyone truly happy including the rich. They might have more options and experiences available to them, but ultimately they suffer from the same issue of the rest of us. Our society is fantastic on making products. If you want a new phone, no problem, pick from twenty of them. If you want a new house, pick out a floor plan and they will even paint it to the theme you pick out. Heck you don’t even need much money since interest rates are so low you can always borrow it. The problem is wants are unlimited. You can pour money at your wants forever and never be satisfied for all that long. Now that is a bit of a problem: how can you really be truly happy if you are never satisfied?
So screw consumerism, I want more from my life that just wants. I instead to work on filling my needs and demand more from my life than filling just wants. But aren’t needs just food, water, shelter? No, actually the work by Manfred Max-Neef on fundamental humans needs lists them as:
- identity and
Holy crap that’s a lot more than food, water and shelter?!? Yet all of those are still ‘needs’ not ‘wants’. You need affection and understanding. You need to create and have some freedom. These aren’t optional things in life, without them you can never be truly happy since you haven’t even looked after your ‘needs’. No wonder we hide in the distractions of movies, TV, sports and other fantasy worlds at night. We buy new things to make us feel better for a while to help us forget that hole inside of us. We talk of anything and everything but what we really need.
We don’t tell each other than we are lonely and we need affection. We don’t tell each other you feel lost and you need understanding. We don’t tell each other we feel so chained to our debts and stuff that we are almost crying out for a little freedom. And we don’t talk about how utterly confused we are all about our lives and that we are desperately seeking some of kind of identity and will even take what little we can get from a job we hate. Then in the quiet of our mind we ask: what’s wrong with me? The answer is simple: nothing is wrong with you. You living in a society that’s got it all backwards by focusing on wants rather than needs.
So I am demanding more from my life than wants. I’m focused on my needs. I get affection from spending time with my family. I hang with friends to get understanding. I serve on my school board to get participation. I work 80% of the time to have leisure. I write this blog and work on my book to get creation. I get my identity as a husband, father, and friend so I don’t have to get it from my job. Then I’m working towards early retirement to have more freedom in the future.
The result of all that is I’m happy most of time. Much happier than a lot of people I know and the byproduct of my life is spending money on wants isn’t all that appealing to me. Really when you focus on what you need you don’t feel the same pull to buy stuff or even have the time to spend looking at marketing. Also you don’t have that hole inside of you that you are trying to fill up, since you are already full.
So are you ready to demand more of your life and get want you need? What fundamental need are you not looking after?