Sunday, January 10, 2010

Contentment

So I'm thinking a lot about Contentment lately. I've started - for like the 10th time - the Simple Abundance book. If you've never checked it out, it came out in the mid-90's, and features essays and 'assignments' each day on finding your authentic creativity and living a life of contentment and simplicity and allowing your true self to come through. I usually get lazy and stop around mid-february, but I'd like to actually complete it this year. I say that every year.

Anyway, I'm thinking a lot about what it takes to be content, and what I actually need vs. what I just want. Part of my new year's resolution-schmezolutions include saving more money and living off of half my income. I've got some messiness from the holidays to clean up, but even with that, I'm still doing a pretty good job of it so far - packing my lunch, and I've also perfected an iced-mocha that tastes just like the one from Starbucks - seriously - I use their espresso, which helps.

So I was feeling all proud of how happy and content I've been, and then yesterday I went to Target to return something. I wasn't planning on shopping. I've been planning on taking the $100 I usually spend at Target and putting it into my South-Africa-Trip-Fund. But then I decided to look at the new spring bags, and suddenly all 38 bags I have hanging around my room felt drab, ugly, and old. (By the way, my hubby and I each have separate rooms since we're only children - we sleep in the bedroom, which doubles as his room and is decorated with baseball bobble-heads, tons of baseball caps, Bob Marley posters, etc; and I work in the office, which also has my clothes, piano, and elliptical machine inside). Suddenly I was desperate to buy a bag. I felt like I needed a bag. I felt like all my bags are crap.

And I realized that's how Target makes its living. Target (and all retail outlets besides, maybe, grocery stores) makes its living making me think that my bags are crap, so I need to buy new bags. And I decided to stop going in to Target so often. It just makes me feel unsatisfied with what I have. There's some stuff I need to get there, but I don't have to go in every week, that's for sure.

So now I'm making a list of the things I really need and the things I want. I need: air, food, water, music, things to read, companionship, baths, rest, and love. Those are the things I really need. Like, life just wouldn't work without it. And I have all them. So really, anything at Target is just gravy.