Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Book Review: "Scarcity"

Wow, do I have a lot of stuff. I’m not talking nice stuff, I’m talking about crap. The problem is I think it is multiplying.

About this time of year (every year), I’m stuck inside the house because the perma-cloud cover we enjoy in Illinois is locked in and I get a chance to look at it while I count the days until spring. I thought that I had thrown out much of my junk over the last few years, but as I was staring at the walls this winter, I barely made a dent.

In particular, I am noticing how much stuff I have bought for my kids. Much of it trying to sooth the pain of their parents going through a divorce, much of it to make me feel less guilty about them having to go through that as well, and much of it because I love to watch them smile. All not necessarily the best reasons to buy things. The problem is that they smile for about 4.2 days and then the stuff becomes stuff. (Cue the George Carlin skit – look it up on Google). I’ve become more committed to having experiences with my children and for myself this year and do without so much. I wish they had weed killer for stuff. Maybe that would help. 

I share this with you because I’ve been thinking a lot about how having too much causes me to enjoy things less because I keep looking for the buzz of a new pair of running shoes, a new sweatshirt, etc. Then, I get clear about the privilege I have to be able to get that stuff and it really hits home about what do I actually need to be happy and what is just a waste. Many people are not in the same position as I am and are far more happier than I am…with less to worry about. Stuff does not equal happy. Having more does not necessarily equal happy. Maybe, having less makes me appreciate what I have even more.

I’ve been reading a book titled “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” which has really brought it all home to me. Brought home the socio-economic privelege that I carry with me and how I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t bring you happiness. It gives you a quick fix. My good friend Kristin Skarie speaks about this often and is such a role model for trying to experience more with less. The book brings about a macro view of scarcity and what it means in the world. If you need a change in perspective regarding the perceived “need” vs. “want” then I would highly recommend you pick up the book. 

Even better, pick it up from the library and make sure you bring it back.


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