Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 1, 2012
It started with some noises: swish, thud and then a cry of pain. Then I had a crying pre-schooler in my face saying between tears “He hit me!” To which his older brother replied “Because he hit me first.” I then comforted the crying one and then both gave them ‘the talk‘ on hitting…again. For most parents with two or more kids this is a familiar scene, heck, even if you don’t have kids most people have seen a similar clip at some point.
Yet strangely enough adults do a similar behaviour all the time and there is no talk. It starts with one person buying something new and ‘cool’. They talk about it at work and show it off. Then other people start buying the same thing, yet no one says “I bought it, because he did it first.”
Pardon? Really folks, just because someone doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean the behaviour isn’t just a pathetic sounding as when kids do it. What are you mindless worker bee following orders or a grown person with your own mind?
I occasionally wonder if consumerism shouldn’t be classified as a disease since those who are infected tend to spread it around to others. Then occasionally someone seeks treatment by cutting up their credit cards, using cash in jars and paying down their consumer debt. For at a while, until they hear about a friend’s trip to Cuba, then they break down and put a few plane tickets on the credit card and get infected again.
Yet in the end, I suppose I just really don’t feel that pressure like others to spend to their level. Does that make me immune to consumerism? Or am I just nuts? Perhaps, honestly, a little of both.
I think major difference between me and other people is I’ve seen the long term results of people living those lifestyles and it isn’t anywhere I want to be in life. I can project the results of my choices now into the future so I understand the full cost of my actions. Yes, I could eat a donut every day and a coffee for breakfast, yet I don’t want to be fat and have less money for my other goals in life. I refuse to live in the extreme poverty to just save more and at the same time I won’t spend all that I earn (or perhaps more realistic more than that). I’ve found my own little hilltop of enough, and I’m not particularly interested in climbing someone else spending hill or mountain.
Does that make me right? Hell no, it makes me comfortable with my choices in life. Being ‘right‘ assumes there is a specific answer on what is the right way to live. There is no ‘right‘ way, just your way. So don’t be sucked into “He did it first”, instead be “I did it” and accept responsibility for your choices. After all being accountable only to your own head is somewhat refreshing in a world of consumerism.