Better Living Through More Stuff

While I don’t usually perpetuate the notion that the more stuff you have, the better your life is, I am about to make some exceptions.

For example. I have to go camping this summer. I hate camping. However, I have recently purchased an army cot that will put me about 18 bloody inches above the cold, wet earth of Tofino. That makes me happy.

Here’s another; I am a photographer, have been for a long time. You can check out some of my stuff at www.jacflash.com or www.jacflash.com/portfolio. One of the reasons I no longer make my living as a phototographer is because my equipment is out-dated. I own a Nikon D1. It’s the first, ever digital slr camera. In it’s day the D1 was the be all and end all of digital photography. Today however, it can be out-shot by your phone!

Needless to say, it’s time for a new camera.

Which leads us back to the discussion about more stuff having a direct correlation to happiness. Guess what? My new D90 makes me positively giddy! So much so that I have bogarted the 11 year old’s camera cards (of course the D1 and the D90 do NOT share card sizes. Lens? Yes. Cards? No.)

My theory is that the D90 will now make me more money which I can use to…you guessed it, buy more STUFF.

Yay stuff!!!!

Oh, and my skis. They create a large welling up of happiness in me too. They go fast. They make me feel, I dunno…what’s the word???? Young? Fun? Fast? Out of control? All of the above.

What else?

Well, I like to make photobooks with Photoworks. That’s stuff right? Sure looks like stuff when it’s spread out all over the dining room table.

Then there’s my iphone and my Macbook Pro and my 38″ tv (not “compensating for something” sized, just normal sized).

I’m not sayin’ that all this stuff is the reason I’m happy but I do think that it contributes to my ability to not covet what others have….mostly cuz I have it all too.

I do, however, have a line in the sand.

For instance, I don’t like stupid stuff. I won’t own a salad spinner (how lazy is that that you can’t rinse your lettuce by ¬†yourself) or an electric toothbrush. I don’t have electronic picture frames or one of those things that starts your car before you get in it.

There’s a ban on cheap, plastic products from China in our home.

I have a pretty hard and fast rule about stuff. If it doesn’t contribute to long-term happiness then it’s a no go. If it takes away from our set goals (like a trip to Europe) it’s also not allowed.

It’s with these things in mind that I teach the miniatures to respect the stuff they have and to think hard about the stuff they want.

A really good exercise is to stand in front of your closet and look at your stuff. Choose and outfit you remember buying. (it’s best if it was a spur of the moment buy) then look at it and determine if owning it has made you significantly happier in your life. (or did you think about other uses for the money?)

I like stuff as much as the next person but I’ve finally learned to make sure that the stuff I covet will contribute to the sum of my own happiness in the long term.


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