I'm not sure exactly when I realised that so much in life revolves around consuming, but since this realisation occurred to me, its a dilemma I simply cannot resolve.
As someone who worries a great deal about the future of the planet, I know that much of the trouble we find ourselves in has to do with our relentless consumption of goods. Producing anything requires precious resources. Like many, I was horrified to discover that creating a single pair of jeans uses thousands of litres of water. I have bought more pairs of jeans in my lifetime than I care to admit.
It gets worse because I make my living through marketing. Which means I spend a lot of time crafting communication for the purpose of selling things to people, either a product or a service.
And with the money I earn -- I consume more. I confess: I'm someone who enjoys a bit of 'retail therapy' as a leisure activity. New clothes, shoes, DVDs, books, etc etc. Big stuff too; I dream about buying cars all the time. I've come to realise that simply buying something -- whether it's a kitchen doodad or a new hat -- gives me pleasure.
And after a lifetime of consuming, I now have so much clothing, for one, that I couldn't possibly wear it all out. Admittedly, some of these I've owned for a great many years, but still... I own so many shoes I actually forget to wear them! I could get away with three pairs but I have triple that number... or more. I don't know -- I forget!
And this craziness has only gotten weirder with the onset of Covid-19. Now that I'm self-employed and working from home, I need these things even less. I barely leave the house, so why do I need so many shoes? I could live in flip-flops and nobody would care. Well, perhaps my wife would... on our occasional trip to a restaurant.
How has it got to the point where so much of our life is spent earning money, only to endeavour at every turn to find ways to spend it? We know consumption is bad for our bank balances... and our planet. But we do it anyway.
It is a dilemma I would love to have the answer to. I would love to know the cure. Is it Eastern mysticism? Zen? Simple discipline? If so, I'm failing miserably at it. On so many occasions I've said to myself (especially after a shopping spree) that THIS is the last item of clothing I will buy.
Only to find myself once again roaming the endless corridors of some mall, just popping in to see what new goodies are on offer from Levi's or Vans (my favourite clothing brands).
Caught out once again by the relentless desire to consume!