I’d like to say this was in my younger years, but until fairly recently I bought loads of stuff because I thought I wanted it. Wasted thousands on tech purchases and waved any dismissive thoughts away with the reasoning that it was my only vice. Upgraded my phone, tablet, computer, and anything I could get my hands on almost constantly in a search for something better. When in fact it wasn’t better it was looking for, it was an answer.
The next model of iPhone was always the one that would fill what I was looking for. No? It must be the next one coming in a few months then, or maybe I needed an iPad to go with it. Whatever the feelings left after the hit of dopamine had subsided, it was explained away with buying something else.
That wasn’t what I was searching for though, I wanted something to fill another hole in myself. It didn’t matter what the hole was, but I filled it with buying tech. Simply because I thought it made me look cool on the internet. Although every upgrade offered me something, these things are not what I needed. What I, and load of people like me, needed was to get to the root of what I really wanted. What was I trying to mask and fill with buying things?
It wasn’t until discovering minimalism that I became aware fo the feelings I had. Like many people I talk to, the Netflix documentary introduced me to a way of looking at the more essential things in life. Thinking much harder about the things I choose to put in it. This isn’t an advert for minimalism, but the message given is a powerful one. The thing I needed was not a thing at all, and for different people it is different things — but one thing links us all, it’s not stuff we need.
These feelings haven’t gone away, I don’t think they ever will. They are still there, I bought every size of iPhone simply because I could, but how I deal with them is different. Being aware of feelings and the reasons behind them has been an important step in improving my overall happiness and seems to have curbed the never-ending search for fulfilment. Much simpler things make me content now, and when these pangs of purchases come I ride them out and think about what the root cause really is. It’s me.