Wednesday 31 August 2011

In search of Instant Gratification

Image Credit

 The last few weeks have seen me do a lot of pondering about the world we now live in now and how the west has become obsessed. Obsessed with ownership, with money, with things, with wants, with greed and you know what? It is making me feel a bit sick really.

Sick because I feel as if I get sucked into the madness every so often.  When my parents were kids if something new was required for the home and it cost a bit, then everyone scrimped and saved for a few months (or even years) and then they bought the new item.  No credit and certainly no instant gratification.  Hard work led to a great sense of achievement when the new sofa or bed arrived and I expect it was enjoyed and cherished much more as it was really worked for.

Nowadays something breaks and we go out and immediately buy a replacement, not because we have a ton of money but because that is the way things are done now. You use a credit card, some people then transfer that balance to another with a zero interest rate or you get a loan.  There is nearly always an means to get some money fairly easily as long as you have some equity. That is unless you have a very sensible husband like I do and boy am I glad of his traditional values and caution.

Very recently, well actually about 4 months ago now our front door broke and luckily it is sound in that we can lock it and be secure.  It opens from the inside but from the outside it is dead and this means we are having to use our back door now.  My instant reaction was that we had to get it fixed immediately and I made an appointment with a door supplier.  Things didn't progress and now here we are months down the line and I am so glad. We do not have the money to buy a new door and it is really not important in the scheme of things. How crazy that I even considered spending £900 we do not have to fix a problem which presents just a minor inconvenience.

What I have found is that these kind of inconveniences, of not having everything perfect, of having to wait while we earn the money before we spend it are teaching me an important lesson.  They are helping me to be real, to be fallible, to be humble and to be grateful for all that I have.

Many, many people have lots more than me. Yes I would love to change our dark oak 80's kitchen, we need a new bed for JJ, carpets for upstairs and of course a new front door. My bathroom needs re-grouting and the downstairs toilet needs a coat of paint but so what?  We have a wonderful warm house, a bedroom each, enough food to feed us all, schooling for the kids, jobs for dh and I and that makes us incredibly rich.  Richer than much of the world.

Isn't it good to stop once in a while and to take stock of the richness that is already in your life? I hope I can keep this humility that I have found in the last few months.

Am I alone in this?  Or do others agree that society just has too many wants and demands nowadays? Sometimes I do wonder if I have just gone a bit bah humbug.

I see I'm not alone as Cass has written about 50 ways to save money.

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