Ways We Are Not ‘At Home’ 2: Buying Rather than Being

Sure, there are nice things out there.
We all probably have some things we dream of having. And even if it isn’t things we are dreaming of so much as experiences, money seems equally as necessary for that, too.

Beyond the essentials, however, we don’t really need much in order to live well, and we don’t need to be able to buy in order to live better, so much as we need to be.

Sonnstein-Trail-Closeup
I have a particular problem with the notion of “not buying things but experiences” as good gear can help be a lot more active and for a lot longer than a fast-bought “adventure”. It just depends on whether you use it that way or not, so you can consider the cost-per-use.

This misunderstanding may easily be the most problematic way we are not truly at home in our lives, for it is simultaneously the easiest to break, and the hardest.

It is so very easy to break because all it takes is for us to decide we have enough, get up, and get going.

We just need to explore more, of our surroundings, of life, of the world, and we can discover more.

It works both physically, by moving and getting fitter and developing new physical skills and capabilities. And it works psychologically, by exploring new landscapes out there or of the mind, learning and studying and putting the knowledge gained to use.
Both interact with and positively contribute to each other…

But it is also the hardest to break.

All those easy things that we could do and that would make us be more and live better are just too many things to easily decide what to try and find what will really satisfy – and they all require that we ourselves take our lives and learning in our hands, even as the potential result seems unclear and may be a long time away.

The next great experience, meanwhile, seems just the swipe of a credit card away, and with guaranteed immediate results, and the next new product that promises to be so much better than the one that came before, and promises to make our life so much better, also just awaits (and gets pushed on us with a lot of promising marketing)…

It is the most noticeable – once you stop to think about it, anyways – how strongly we get immersed into the customer’s approach to life if you look at all the great and anti-materialist advice columns that tell you to “Buy Experiences, Not Things!”
True, there is a lot to be said for experiences and for putting “experientialism” over consumerism – but a consumerist anti-materialism (that may not even be against a true materialism but itself an expression only of a shopper’s attitude to a cheap life that makes life itself cheap) isn’t *it*, either.

To get around this, two approaches may be recommendable:

One, keep a diary. Write down what product has lured you, what you expect and why you want it, and if you end up getting it, also note when it frustrates you and doesn’t turn out quite that good. It may help the next time you’re tempted to change your life by shopping.

Also write down what you’ve done beyond shopping and what that has done for you. Chances are, especially with the effect of memory coming in, experiences turn out even better.

Above all, however, make a habit of active living. Preferably, not just a shopping habit but one of things you do for yourself and to make your life more interesting.

Go for walks, try out new things in the kitchen, see more, stop and smell the roses – or plant some…

And what's your take?