Slave to your Stuff
Why do people work so hard for stuff? I used to work with a guy who lived in a huge house on a big chunk of land. And he lived there all by himself!
This guy worked extremely hard to pay for all of this stuff. So much so that he never had time to spend at this place. However when he was there, and awake, which was only a couple hours a day on weekdays, he was either mowing the lawn or working in the garden or getting rid of weeds or shovelling snow or fixing up the house or cleaning the house. I don’t think this poor man had ten minutes together to sit and relax and enjoy his life.
Every time I asked him how his weekend was he would rattle off a long list of chores he had to finish around the house. And believe me he never had a happy, fulfilled look on his face whenever he was relating the long list of chores.
When I knew this man we were both working at highly stressful jobs that we hated. With the money that he was pouring into his stuff he could have owned a one or two bedroom place on a small piece of land free and clear. He could have retired long ago. He could have travelled or pursued other interests. He could have done a million and one other things.
Instead he was a slave to his stuff. And he was a slave to his stuff to the detriment of every other aspect of his life. This was a very sweet and thoughtful guy who would have been a wonderful husband. In the land of the terminal asshole where I worked, he was one of the very rare good guys. But he was a bachelor because he didn’t take the time for a social life. He had an unhealthy amount of weight on him and looked like a heart attack might be in his future because he didn’t take the time to exercise regularly and eat properly. His home was a beautiful showcase but he didn’t do anything to look after the guy who was living there.
If this guy was an anomaly that would be one thing but this guy is the norm. There are millions and millions of other people just like him.
So why do they do it?
My theory is that they are heavily influenced by familial and societal pressures that are hammered into people’s brains from the second they are born. You know the song – come on everybody sing along – the song about how more is better and how what you have isn’t good enough, about how you need newer and bigger and MORE stuff than you have right now. Can’t you hear that song playing over and over in your head? Well don’t worry. If you can’t hear it, just turn on the tv for five seconds, you’ll hear it right away. Or open a newspaper. Or turn on the radio. That song is playing 24/7. And it’s playing just for you.
Now you have a choice to make. Are you going to dance to that tune? Or not?