Ever since I can remember I’ve lusted after material items. When I was little, I wanted a pony. When I got a little older, it was video games. In high school, clothing was my obsession. There’s always something. Lately, I’ve come to loathe the fact that I want things. Buying them never makes me that happy, or it does, but only for a short period of time, then it’s on to something else to lust after.
I’ve done a lot of reflection in the last few months about wanting things. When I first graduated from school, I had this vision of what my life was going to be like, there were a lot of things in it. There was a detached, three/four bedroom house. There was a stylish interior with newer gadgets and a closet full of nice clothing. There was a nice backyard with gardens. There was a car, or two. They were new.
I wanted these things. I wanted these things in my life, and became really frustrated when I graduated from University and realized that these things not only weren’t attainable right away, but might never be attainable. Initially, coming to terms with this was very frustrating, and a huge let down. In fact, it’s part of what spurred me to start this blog in the first place.
Since coming to terms with the fact that I might not ever have the things I dreamed of having, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on why I wanted those things in the first place. What purpose did they serve? Why did I feel a relentless pull towards having them? How were they going to bring me joy and happiness in my life time?
The answer for many, many of the things that I so desperately wanted, is that they probably wouldn’t have.
I’ve Stopped Wanting a Big House
I always wanted fully detached house with a backyard. That was what I’d grown up with, there aren’t town houses or condos in my town, so it’s all I had been exposed to. Now that I’ve realized that in most cities, such luxuries aren’t an option, I’ve thought about whether or not a detached home is something I need.
The answer is no.
I don’t have kids, and don’t plan on adding to my family any time soon. If I do, I don’t plan on having more than one child, maybe two. Maybe. So why the heck would I need a three or four bedroom house? The truth is I don’t. I don’t need it, and lately, I haven’t been wanting it either.
The same goes for everything that’s involved with owning a large property. I hate cleaning, especially bathrooms. The idea of having not one but two bathrooms and many bedrooms to clean is suddenly not appealing. I hate shoveling drive ways, I don’t like to garden, and I find keeping the outside our my current 400 sq. ft. house in good shape to be a huge pain in the butt. Why did I want a backyard again? Well, I have a dog, and I love that she has a place to run around. Other then that though, I could take or leave private outdoor space. I love being outside, but I don’t need a big backyard to have that.
I’ve Stopped Wanting a Nice Car
I always wanted a nice car. That was something that I’d pictured having “as an adult” as well. I made an astonishing revelation once I moved out to the country and started driving regularly. I hate driving. I hate commuting, I hate being isolated inside a vehicle and unable to experience things the way I can when walking to my destination. I hate the expense that comes with a car, I hate having to take it in for maintenance, and I hate that no matter what I do, the interior of my car always seems to be dirty. To think, I wanted two of these things?
I Still Want Some Things
While a big house and fancy car are no longer on my “want” list, I’m not a monk. I still want things. I do eventually want to own property one day. I want to be able to stay in one place for awhile, and to modify the interior to my personal tastes. I think I would be an excellent DIYer. I don’t know if I’ll own a house some day, or a condo, but I know that I’m more concerned about the location of the property, and how it suits my needs, than the square footage of it.
I used to want things because that’s what I expected to have as an adult. It’s what I saw my parents have, it’s what I thought I deserved. I didn’t even stop to pause and consider whether or not I really wanted them, or whether or not I would enjoy them. The things I want now, I want because they will provide me with joy or utility in my life. I want a new computer because my current one is slow as a turtle. I want an updated wardrobe because some of my clothing is falling apart. I want to travel. What I don’t want is to waste my money on useless stuff because that’s what I’m “supposed to have” in my life.
Instead of focusing so much on what we want, we need to stop and think about why we want these things. Is it because you’ll really enjoy it or use it? Or is it because that’s what you are supposed to have, and buying things makes you happy?