Since we are still away, the following is a guest post from Tony at We Only Do This Once. Tony’s a trombone player who has performed with major symphony orchestra, on Broadway in NYC, and in recordings and movie soundtracks. He blogs about simplifying your life through downsizing and becoming financially fit.
If you are like me, you read the title of this post and said “of course we are not possessions, status, or employment”. It should be a no brainer, of course, but it isn’t. And now, as I reflect on many years of my life, I am ashamed to say that I am guilty of feeling at times that I have seen myself as all of these things.
I have viewed my identity as my job for most of my life. Luckily, a musician is a great identity in many ways, but it is not everything.
My material wealth has made me feel better about myself at times. I have owned material possessions that other people have not. Meaningless stuff.
It has not been until the last month that I have felt like I can make half of my salary and still feel as important as I do now. I’m ashamed to have even written that, but hey….it’s true.
You see, these thoughts can dominate your life if you are not careful. Our society is shouting at us every day that it is true; buy this and you will feel like that. The feeling never lasts, and there is always something else that comes up.
Defining ourselves is not easy, but the ways mentioned above are a bad way to start.
I spent so many years wanting more stuff than I had before. More money, more gadgets, better house, better clothes, nicer car, more stuff. To say that I only need the bare necessities in life would be a lie. We need nice things to enjoy, even if they are simply aesthetic.
Concentrating on Other Things
But for the past year, I have felt that I don’t need to work as much; that I may actually enjoy working less and spending time with my family. I can pick and choose what I want to spend my life energy doing, since I’m not working to pay a bank for the lifestyle inflation that I created by over-consuming.
To think this all started with simply getting out of debt and selling a lot of my stuff.
This is what I write about all the time. If you begin the process of throwing off the chains of consumerism, you will be amazed how much “space” (both physical and emotional) is created in your life. Other things begin to flow into this space besides the desire to consume (buy) things. It is truly a beautiful thing. Join me in only spending your life energy and hard earned money on worthwhile things. Save the rest!