Mindless purchasing and endless consumption with a side of convenience. The recipe for happiness according to the American way of life. Everything should be easily accessible and on our own terms, forgetting the impact it may have. All for our own selfish ambitions.
I have learned this through multiple trips out of the country: we are truly enthralled in our own happiness, and will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve it. The question about Americans and their actual happiness is a million dollar question for another day. But our “happiness” has led us to this:
Convenience and consumption.
I noticed a common theme on my trip to Thailand. We wanted things here, we wanted it now, and we wanted it on our own terms. If it wasn’t, we were unhappy and would blame everyone else without considering outside influences that might have impacted the situation. There was no “walk in their shoes” mentality. No thought in a perspective outside our own. I grew more and more upset about it, journaling my thoughts as I experienced it all.
It’s hard not to carry the convenience mentality when there are miles of fast food restaurants and convenience should be included on every pointless product that allows us to power through life at record speed. We learn this at a young age, in fact it’s probably instilled in us Americans from birth.
Text a friend and in 2 seconds you’ll be able to contact them. Need an answer to why the grass is green RIGHT NOW? Google it. You want food and you want it now? Done.
But what if it all went away? We know the answer to this question just from short term experiences. People go insane. We seek noise, chaos and constant movement. Impatient. Convenient seeking. Self pleasing.
Your food isn’t hot enough after 30 seconds of microwaving. UGH
You have to wait half an hour for food and your waitress wasn’t there within seconds the one time you actually needed her. UGH
Someone stopped in front of you and now you’re .6 seconds later to your destination than you would have been. UGH
You didn’t get the parking spot closest to the door so you have to walk an extra 10 feet. UGH
Without thinking, technological advances of this world have taken natural processes and made them “inconvenient” to most.
There’s a gadget for EVERYTHING. And trust me, I am plenty guilty of purchasing them myself sometimes. It wasn’t until I saw the true joy of the Thai people who had “nothing” in terms of American standards that I realized what our culture was doing wrong.
Relationships, Thai time, loving people and rich culture
Fast food, high speed internet, schedules and road rage.
I don’t know about you, but I think we can all agree that the we call learn something from the Thai’s regardless if you have been there or not. Inconvenience has had a way of controlling the way we live, without thinking of the adverse affects of it all.
Low quality products: while we may love our Amazon basics allowing us to purchase a charger for our iPhones for $2, have you ever stopped to think what affect that has on where that charger came from? Or the people that created that cheap piece of plastic? Or the impact it will make on our planet when we all have 30 chargers and toss them away when the newest version comes out?
High demands: The “I want it and I want it now” mentality. Just stop and think of how many times you or others around you get frustrated or upset at things you can’t control. Things that you expected to go one way, but for some reason you can’t possibly even fathom going wrong, did.
Unnecessary spending: “It was cheap so I bought it.” A flaw of mine is this. I am a bargain shopper and refuse to buy anything that is not on sale. Sometimes that leads to unnecessary spending, so I am working on it. Clothing, accessories, gadgets, food. MORE MORE MORE. Trends of products, clothing and tech going in and out of style.
These two themes in our culture have urged me to re-think the products I purchase and the companies to which I am giving my dollars to. I have found SO many companies I love, books that have changed my life and people who have impacted me along the way.
I have learned to find joy in everything I do, learning from mistakes and relying on God to guide my path. To reduce the selfishness that drives every move we make. This is not to make anyone feel bad about the things they are doing, but rather make you aware of the impact you have on the world we live in. I hope to start a conversation about the things I have noticed about our society and the efforts I have made to try distance myself from our selfish mentality.
These are the questions I began asking myself after my trip to Thailand and constant observation of our culture:
What are the factors that may have contributed to an experience that was unexpected and uncontrolled? How can I use my patience to understand the situation and be content regardless?
What kind of impact do the things I purchase have? Does it add value to my life as well as someone else’s? Is it the impact positive or negative?
Welcome to my journey of conscious living throwing out convenience, re-evaluating consumption and striving to live the way life was meant to be. Simple and joyful.
Love & Stuff,