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The Spare Life

March 11, 2013

The older I get the less enamored with stuff I am, though I was never a big consumer or a hoarder.

This guy has gone to an extreme that I aspire to, and would be perfectly comfortable with (psst, please don’t tell my wife):

I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did….

We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.

There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.

For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.

Read the whole thing and see if you don’t start thinking of all the things you could do without–despite the endless and persistent insistence of the marketers and companies whose livelihoods depend on convincing you otherwise. So far, they have been extraordinarily effective at creating a world in which more is better, and growing a global consumer culture that is poisonous to the planet, to our pocketbooks and lifestyles, and to healthy relationships and society (the values are all wrong).

And once you have come to grips with the idea that you could be happy with one-tenth of the things you are told you need to be happy, imagine what the world would be like if everyone had that same epiphany. Revolution. Enlightenment. Salvation.

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