I caught the last thirty minutes of Oprah today. The topic was consuming less. It got me thinking about the things I’ve changed in my life lately. We’ve stuck to our list at the grocery store lately and tried not to buy things we know we don’t need. I got tired of throwing out food when it went bad so I try not to buy too much. Our weekly trips to our favorite discount store has ended with less in the cart lately. Last week we went there and hardly bought anything at all. If we didn’t need it; we didn’t buy it.
So what’s the difference between want and need? I know in the U.S. our needs and wants are easily confused. I’m really trying to ask myself this question before I buy something. My son thinks he needs more Lego’s. When in all actuallity he doen’t need anything but maybe some more clothes that actually fit (he’s 5 and keeps getting taller). To people in other countries their needs are food and shelter; clean water and medicine. Growing up I wasn’t raised getting everything that I wanted; my parents struggled just like most middle class America; some years were better than others. As I got older I really appreciated the things I had. I’m not sure when the change was made but at some point in my early adult years (20-something) I changed. I was making money; I was working in retail; and I thought I needed everything. Once I got married the trend continued; I needed a new house, a new car, new furniture, yadda, yadda, yadda. It got worse when I had my son; I feel like if I can provide for him that I should give him everything that he wants (within reason). Like I said, he’s now 5 and needs nothing. He’s not totally spoiled but he is very fortunate and has lots of stuff. More than any child needs. The funny thing is that if you asked him all he really wants is for us to spend time with him; playing with him. It doesn’t matter what we are doing or what we are playing with he just wants our time.
That brings me back to the title of this post; IS LESS REALLY MORE? If we buy less will we have more happiness? Will we be a closer family? And can this change benefit the environment? If we consume less we will have less waste. Less waste equals less of an impact on the environment.
This is a great concept but will we really be able to change our patterns? Will we actually buy less stuff? Can we really do more and buy less? It’s not something that will change overnight and we will never be perfect. But I hope that we can at least make an effort. I’ll keep you posted on our progress but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Can you be happy with less? What are some of your wants and needs? Leave me a comment; I’d love to hear from you.
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Crafty Green Poet says
I buy very little and most of what i do buy is second hand. I’ve made a huge effort to cut down my levels of consumption and with the exception of second hand books I really don’t buy much. And yes overall I probably am happier for it, though environmental angst doesget to me a lot, but that would only be worse if I was consuming more.