Today we shall have a look at the age old argument… consumerism: is it good or bad?
Consumerism is something that the western world has struggled with for generations. It is the internal struggle of ‘do I really need it? I already have so many things and look at this person over here who has nothing! How can I justify more things?’ But the honest fact is, we all buy things that we don’t necessarily need and as much as we might feel guilty later, consumerism is inevitable. So why waste time feeling guilty over something you can’t really prevent? The way I look at it, consumerism originates from an inner desire to have something different in our lives and is actually a form of therapy in the modern world.
Recently I came to the realisation that I haven’t really bought anything all year apart from food and coffee. Upon realising this, I suddenly felt this urge to go buy something. Anything. Just something that isn’t food or coffee. This happened.
Just a quick plug for that candle: oh my gosh this is actually the greatest thing that has ever existed. It’s a woodwick candle, which means it crackles while it burns, and it smells amazing. The crackling from the candle is actually quite helpful when studying or working because ambient noise has been proven to help with creativity and concentration. So for all my studying friends out there, go invest in one of these little guys, for the benefit of your education.
So anyway, I bought these things and I felt happier. I know that sounds ridiculously shallow and like I’m some form of shopaholic who is trying to justify her buying habits to the rest of the world but just stick with me here.
Now my life is pretty hectic and it is far from boring. I love uni, I love wandering through the city and hanging out at cafes and doing all sorts of fun little things that a lot of other people don’t get the time to do. But even for me, life feels a bit average sometimes. We all get caught up in this continuous cycle of day-to-day existence, during which nothing really ever changes. This is something that we as a society struggle with. We grow up with all of these expectations to live an exciting life, full of travel and adventure. As kids, we dream about being astronauts and living in Antarctica amongst the penguins… but then we get slapped in the face with life and all of these hopes fade in the vortex of time.
I find that my consumerist ways most frequently kick into gear when life is feeling particularly dull and I think a lot of you would probably agree. We get sick of our houses looking the same day in and day out, so we suddenly decide to redecorate everything and afterwards we feel happier. We get bored with wearing those same clothes that we’ve had for years so purge our wardrobes and start again, afterwards feeling more confident. We get sick of our boring desk at work, with those same boring pens, so spend too much money on colourful highlighters and markers that we will most likely never use but that brighten up our desk just a little bit.
Although some people see consumerism as a bad thing, I think it is actually necessary. With a busy life, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and do the recommended yoga exercises, thinking deep and spiritual thoughts whilst breathing the fresh air of the local rainforest in which we have strategically placed ourselves for the most calming yoga experience possible. But we do have time to go out and buy something just a little bit fun, that will make us smile, that brings some colour into our day and gives something fresh in our life, even if it is just for a little while.
Colour and variety is good for us, and if consumerism helps us get that, then maybe consumerism isn’t all that bad. Maybe it is actually something that is necessary in the modern world, as a form of therapy and a channel for inspiration. I’m not suggesting we all go out and stock up on ridiculous numbers of unnecessary items, but there is no use in making your life even more dull than it has to be just because of the negative connotations of consumerism. Embrace the colour variety of new things. The effect will be just a little bit brilliant, trust me.
Stay happy and surround yourself in colour