18 March 2013

Shopping ≠ Living

I wish I had weighed the bag of pens I brought to the office this morning. I have to guess it's around 5 pounds of pens. 5 pounds of pens! Seriously. I brought them to office to get them out of my apartment, so that they'll be used by someone, and not simply be wasted sitting in a container in the closet of my home. I've neurotically bought pens like crazy for the past five years, and now I'm stopping myself. I know which pens I need to write in my journals, and I do not need to buy any more pens until those run out of ink (which, given the number of pens I've kept, is still a while in the future).

I'm dealing with my neuroses. Since moving into my home over five years ago, I've acted like I need MORE  and BETTER  stuff all the time. I've turned shopping into a recreational activity, almost physical in endurance. (I'm the only person I know who will happily WALK from Montgomery Mall to the shopping centers on Rockville Pike, often with stuff in my bag already.) I manically search for books, pens, underwear, socks, etc., like these items will save my life, or at least plug a few empty holes.

I used to say that my life has been about the search for the perfect notebook, the perfect pen and the perfect bag. But really, life cannot be about shopping. Shopping is a part of life in a consumer culture, but I cannot let it be such a big part of life. When human beings were hunter-gatherers, hunting and gathering were what shopping is now. But even as hunter-gatherers, hunting and gathering were only to facilitate life, not be the purpose of life. Even if one were very good at it.

The point is, I've let my life turn into an endless cycle of shopping, and that's not a very good idea. So, to start with, I've brought in these pens to give away. And I'm rethinking how I plan to spend my weekends. Furthermore, I have been looking at myself more closely, to determine what neuroses I need to deal with, and how to replace them with better thoughts and actions.

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