Being Happy With What You Have


Lately, I've been thinking about how we as humans are creatures of consumption. We begin our day wanting and lusting after things, experiences and people. Some which can be perceived as totally achievable but some that are way out of our league. That one person you follow on Instagram with a perfect flat lay of things you could only buy after saving for years. Pins of impeccably staged Scandinavian homes on Pinterest. Beauty bloggers with flawless smiles casually talking about their favourite makeup products for the month. Some things are aggravating for our urban minds. A positive side to being creatures of consumption is that you're extremely driven. But to what extent? Once you've achieved a personal goal, there's always going to be new ones. Money, time and effort spent all our lives getting closer to that goal. All in the hopes of being happy but are we content in the moment?

There are times when you're attracted to something. Things that you don't necessarily need but somehow want to because it makes you happy. Segue to my story. I wouldn't call myself a shopaholic since I'm not wallowing in credit card debt or tend to shop every time there's a sale in one of my favourite stores online or in person. Recovering shopaholic is more apt.

When you're a teenager, new to the college but still want to fit in with everyone, you do what you can. One of those aspects were clothes. Just wearing the hip converse or that funky leather bracelet would instantly catapult you to obscene levels of popularity and likeability amongst your peers. Or so I thought. Well, I would thrive on shopping at sales, street shopping and second hand stores. All because of the incredible deals. That satisfaction when someone would gleam over my new crop top and the look of wonder when I exclaimed "It was from this street stall" and the eventual look of scorn when I'd mention the cost. I thrived on that feeling which made me shop more. Buying more stuff for cheap even if I had no space in my closet. My mother would frown every time she'd see me come home with big bags filled with clothes. She finally gave up.

Fast forward to me moving to New Zealand and I was faced with the dilemma of packing all my belonging into two suitcases. Forty kgs was a joke because I knew that would be the weight of my extensive collection of shoes! I wasn't spending a lot of money, I was spending money on things I didn't need because they were cheap. Of course, it wasn't an a-ha moment for me. It took time to realise that I had to buy things I need and quit buying things that were frankly garbage. I came across articles where people actually lived minimalistic lives. People who remixed wardrobe basics for all seasons. Investing in key pieces that would last for years instead of 4 of similar looking jeans that cost $10 each. And so I began purging my closet.

First, I got rid of things I didn't wear for years. Sold them off or donated to charities. I managed to cut my closet in half and packed my belongings into bags that weighed below limit! But I wasn't finished. I got rid of things that were sub par. Bare necessities was my mantra. Purging can be addictive. The idea of living with less has been crossing my mind lately. Multi-functionality of things is quite alluring. I inevitably found ways to wear the same clothes in different ways. That dress can totally go well with a top underneath in summer. Tights, sweater and a cardigan over the same dress in winter! I began to invest in basics and almost never splurge on my shoestring budget. I wouldn't say I shop as much as I did before, I do like to go to thrift stores and charity shops but I'm very picky about the things I buy. I guess that's a part of growing up or should I say #adulting. Additionally, I've begun selling stuff that I don't need online to make space for better quality clothes and accessories that I'll actually wear! While skimming through the racks of a fast fashion retail store on the high- street with my friend, I found myself bored and disillusioned by the sales rack. I've learnt that buying things for the sake of buying will make you happy, sure but that happiness is fleeting. Experiences, surrounding yourself with loved ones. those are the things that matter the most. As long as I go into my closet and pick out just what I need, I will be finally content with my belongings.

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Maira Gall