Friday, 23 December 2016

Pete Yardley: Faddy Man

As Christmas Day 2016 rapidly approaches, with the frenzy of gift buying and wrapping consuming hours of my life at a time, the concept of consumerism has been brought to the forefront of my consciousness. Do we really need all of this stuff and in what way does it add to our lives?

We live in a society of over consumption. This trend can be easily observed in relation to the food that we eat, the use of technology and the endless products that we buy.

I've always loved buying myself little treats, whether it be clothes to make myself feel good on a night out, gadgets for work, the latest electronic device or anything else I can convince myself that I desperately need to enhance my life in some way. My fiancé often refers to me as being 'faddy' - a label we both laugh about but probably sums me up quite nicely. I get tempted by shiny new toys that promise fun, education or improved productivity. And yes, they often deliver, at least partly, on their intended function but only as long as I stay engaged before being distracted by something else that can be shipped by Amazon Prime with Same Day Delivery.

The sad thing is that I know I'm not alone. Over consumption takes many forms and doesn't take much searching for nowadays. Have you ever been in what is intended to be a social situation - maybe at a bar, café or restaurant - and noticed that 2 or more of your party are tapping away on your phones, checking email or automatically scrolling through Facebook? When I catch myself doing this I feel like an absolute idiot for wasting valuable time with my friends and often have a little word with myself.

But why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to constantly search for stimulation and short-lived happiness? Well, if I knew the exact answer to that I'd be living a much more fulfilled and rounded existence. However, it's clear to me that generally our lives are simply just too cluttered. We often hear of wealthy and professionally successful executives, celebrities or sports personalities with what we assume would be the finances to access immeasurable happiness, being actually very unhappy.

I'm coming round to thinking that simplicity and minimalism are things that I need to exercise more in my life. The world would be a better place if we all just appreciated what we already have without always searching for the next hit.


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