Whether we realize it or not, we consume a lot. I’m not just talking about food, but rather media and retail — we live in a “more we have the better off we are” society. I am slowly learning that it’s not necessarily the case and that I’ve tried to not consume in excess like I used to in many ways.
Growing up, I loved getting the Sears Whishlist catalog and basically covering entire pages in red circles because I wanted a lot. Of course I wanted whatever toy, clothing, cassette tape (CD?) that was popular because I thought that my friends would like coming to my house if I had these really awesome things or I would look really good if I had that poofy paint shirt (seriously). But now, I find more pleasure in purging and donating things to people who need it. I don’t look at catalogs or Ads for big-box stores anymore, because there is simply nothing I need/want.
On Tuesday, the announcement of the Darren Wilson indictment happened and the media was everywhere. Since giving up my cable, I didn’t feel the full effect of whatever press conference was on the big cable news networks. I had to rely on my Twitter timeline to see what was actually happening/being said. As information was being tweeted in copious amounts, I had to shut things down. Being thrown a lot of information at once was like running into a store on Black Friday: all of the things that you have to grab without even thinking of why you buy it. Social Media consumption doesn’t allow me time for critical thought: why are people reacting this way, how does this effect me (or how doesn’t think effect me), what is the real issue, what can I do to help? I did not want to be someone who was sucked into the mass media consumption.
Lately I’ve been trying to figure out ways to consume less. I’ve been selective about which social media platforms to engage with (adios Facebook, Instagram) and how I select to spend my money (necessities and practical items). I’ve also been thinking of ways to give to those who do not have much as I do, which is where I want to do more. I’ve already began getting rid of clothes and larger items that I just don’t need. I challenge those who participate in mass consumption to do something good. If you’re going to wait 2 hours in line for a $10 toaster — why not also buy a toy for a child who may not get anything? If you’re going to the grocery store to purchase things for a holiday dinner — why not spend an extra $5 on canned goods for a local food bank? There is so much we can do to make a difference, and so with the holiday season upon us, let’s see what kind of difference we can make in someone else’s life.
To figure out how to get started on simplifying your life/get rid of the mass consumption, I encourage you to read “Things are simple. People are not” by my good pal Michael Goodman.