The other day as I was going through my small but completely functional wardrobe, I thought: "I have nothing to wear!"
That's right. Whilst combing through my entire collection of clothing, admittedly a relatively modest collection, I had the audacity to pity myself and my incapacity to put together an outfit that I was happy with. Looking back at it (no innuendo intended), I can see how absurd that thought was. But it is a thought that crosses the minds of many women (and men) world over, everyday. Even those with closets the size of my entire apartment.
It got me thinking about our obsession with excess. And how deeply entrenched in our culture and collective psyche is the idea that we not only must have more. But we must have it in grotesque overabundance. And we must have it now. The idea that functionality, practicality and NECESSITY no longer governs much of our decisions as consumers but rather, we are operating on auto-pilot, accumulating impulsively and thoughtlessly in order to appease our insatiable appetite for more.
The devolution of our society into debauchery and gluttony is evident in our dwindling consciousness of and our unsustainable demand for...well, everything. We wander shopping malls and browse online retailers without any real intent but hoping to find something that will bring that sweet rush of novelty, if only fleetingly. We must have our closets overflowing with unworn, cheaply made clothes. We must live in sprawling mansions to facilitate our ever-expanding collection of "stuff". And somehow amidst all of our stuff we can never seem to find what we need.
Our need for more is now compounded by the fact that we are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses. Or the Kardashians. Or Youtube and Instagram influencers whose eager followers wait with baited breath for their perfectly edited showcase of 'must have' items that seemingly elevates them from regular folk like us to '#goals'. And really, who doesn't want to be 'goals'?
Now, this certainly isn't an attempt to point a finger. Rest assured, I am part of the problem. But I will freely and willingly admit that there is a problem. And I think that a huge part of the problem is that we perceive excess and success in the same way. Not only do we want to be successful, we want to have the conspicuous excess to prove it.
So, what then is the solution? On my part, anyway. Will I stop shopping at Zara? Probably not. But I can certainly be more conscious of how much I am influenced to think that I need to have more. And when I do choose to act as a consumer, I can do so conscientiously, choosing quality over quantity. Even if it means waiting a bit longer and spending a bit more. It means redefining my idea of how much do I really need to make my life as comfortable as I want it to be. Ultimately, it means redefining what success means to me and it means not trying to keep up with anyone.
I think that's a good place to start. What do you think?