Spending Is Another Way To Connect To Other Human Beings
The hardest thing about trying a minimalist lifestyle and cutting back all elective spending was the feeling of loneliness.
Loneliness as in I could no longer share things in common with my colleagues and loneliness of not going into any store or coffee shop I wanted. Not buying the goods, clothes and electronics I had gotten used to, the goods and gym/online memberships which made me feel like I belonged.
In the past when I would listen to an ad it made me feel connected to others because I knew that whoever heard this could and maybe would go buy that said item just like I could. That was my connection. After my little transformation listening to ads made me feel strangely lonely because I no longer had that consumer spending bond with my fellow person.
I had to look around and find others like myself, such is the nature of social creatures, feeling lonely in an ocean of human beings merely because they didn’t share my view-point.
But I also gained insight into why I wanted to spend, why I wanted to shop and why I was dependent on the consumer experience. Not all in an evil or selfish sort of way. It was simply the connection that it afforded me. Damn, did I ever take that for granted.
Reminiscing over this experience, is that the connection I want to have with my fellow human? Should it be a material bond or a deeper connection that doesn’t come from shopping at the same store, seeing the same ad or possessing the same kind of objects? It should come from spending a lot of time with another person, getting to know them, discovering their flaws and their wonderful traits. It comes from learning from each other, laughing together and failing at something together or maybe accomplishing something together.
We were perhaps happier as kids because we were always playing with other little people, and yes we fought with them but we had so many more connections. Being able to forgive someone and just go right back to playing as if nothing happened… shit what happened to that? I miss it and I want it back, can’t nobody tell me it’s gone for good.
It will start by me being less critical, more accepting and by forgiving without any afterthought. It comes from me not identifying so strongly with what I look like, what I own, what I can afford and what title I have in my job.
Half of my friends get me and the other half think I’m just crazy the way I live my life. I wrote this post not to criticize anyone who spends money, shit I spend money, plenty of it. It’s just no secret that we live in a consumer driven society, understanding the reason why interest me. I won’t deny that consumer goods irk me a little because of how they are mass-produced with no regard for consequences on human life and the environment.
But I also see a few people around me who spend not selfishly but spend on others, that’s so inspiring. I used to think that money’s main purpose is to provide freedom, now I am realizing that money can also help build a tight social network, a little village as someone very dear to me puts it.