With a recent trip to Palo Alto, and Atherton, two very affluent communities in the Silicon Valley, money has been on my mind. I also went to a bike shop, and while dallying around, found out that it costs about 1000 dollars for each pound you want to shave off of your mountain bike. If you are counting, that is the same as two cups of water, or a relatively normal size shit. Let's just let that sink in, pun intended.
With the advent of ever more algorithmic and personalized advertising, we have to be ever more vigilant to be conscientious in our consuming. Do you really need that new jacket? Pair of skis? Bike? And you will certainly have to answer these questions with web popups now containing items you actually want.
How can we make our buying decisions in a way that actually address the issues of the environment, happiness, and the vague notion of "need" that we have as a consumer culture? A general rule that I have used is, if you have wanted it for more than six months, it is worth purchasing, but I am finding that doesn't actually moderate desire as I would have hoped. At any time in your life you are always thinking about little improvements that you can make in each arena in your life, so you end up "wanting" the next best thing in every part of your life.
Perhaps we need a more sophisticated or philosophically robust way of evaluating our next purchase. Currently I am undergoing a month of not purchasing anything new(with the exception of school supplies, repairs, and safety equipment). I am hoping that this either just continues on indefinitely(that the buy buy buy mentality dissipates slightly), or that I come to some realization that will give me tools in making these decisions in the future.
I believe that you should be thankful if you don't earn enough money to be careless. Money is a privilege, it is an honor, it is ridiculous the options and lifestyles that we live, and each thing we consider buying should be a reminder of how spectacular our lives are. I am continually blown away by the fact that we drive cars, that we can "recreate", and beyond that, that we feel entitled to these things. What an absurd time and place that we live in, when other countries are being torn apart by ruthless dictators, or natural disasters, or anything that disrupts the safety and general well being of people on a moment to moment basis.
We have been sold that the next is the best, and we need it to perform at our highest level. But how much does a pound really get you? Does our Fear Of Missing Out(FOMO) prevent us from having gratitude for the fact that we live in a time where we have more access to high adrenaline than ever before, that equipment and knowledge now allow us to run 80 foot waterfalls, drop 30 foot gaps, ski huge lines and cliffs, or bike a hundred miles with little more than a few years experience. Instead of thinking about the next thing, think about how amazing it is that we can do all these things, learn how to repair your gear, make solid investments on good, safe gear, and wear it until you can love it no more. That is real adventure, that is living as an independent, happy spirit. Fly on.