Friday, October 15, 2010

The American Dream - buying without regard

In my very first post I talked about The New York Times article that got me thinking about simplifying.  One point brought up in the article was about 'conspicuous consumerism--buying without regard.'  Apparently this was a huge thing in the 90's with the breakout of Starbucks and an increase in credit card use.  This is a method of buying for visualized luxury, showing society you are 'up with the times.'

Since I was really young during that time I don't quite remember the roaring nineties of buy whatever you want.  My first thought was "I don't do that, I don't care about what other people think of me, let alone my possessions."  And then I took a quick look of my surroundings.  The first thing that popped into my mind was our current residence.  My better half and myself are currently renting a pretty big old house.  While our reasoning seemed valid at the time (too many belongings, extra room for visitors, a backyard for the puppy) it seems in hind-sight we were trying to keep up with the Joneses.  Especially me.  If I were honest with myself, my thoughts were there was no way I could go back to an apartment.  I am a professional!  We must have room for visitors and be able to show I can be a good hostess.  I need my own bathroom.  I have tons of stuff and I am NOT taking the puppy on a leash out in the rain.....
The puppy
After that initial first look I shamefully covered my face with a pillow and went to sleep.  I am hanging my head as I post this confession this morning.  I've realized maybe I am further interwoven into the society of consumerism than I wanted to admit at first.  But I have renewed strength with the dawn.  This is the whole reason for the journey, right?  Working through my past of consumerism and starting a new chapter.  Boy is this going to be a long journey....

Squelching my pride,


Anonymous said...

On consumerism and the 90s conspicuous consumption, you should check out the book "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster" by by Dana Thomas. It was written pre-recession, but it talks a lot about the drive to display wealth, and how we all fall into it.
Another good one: "I Want That: How We All Became Shoppers" by Thomas Hine. This may be out of print, but it should be findable on or through the library.

Simplifying in the South said...

Thanks! I just added those two books to my list of things to read. I appreciate the suggestions.

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