Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe

Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe

By Lamya Cruz

Lately I have been finding satisfaction in buying things. More than usual, because of the best excuse—we are in the depths of holiday season. Black Friday has just come and gone but the feeling of it still lingers incessantly. Discount season is in full blossom and somehow cannot be ignored for too long. The satisfaction I get from saving and spending is beyond me. When my phone buzzes because I have just received a confirmation email that my item(s) have either gone through or shipped is ironically priceless—and although I do my best not to overdo it, sometimes I feel engrossed by it. So, then I must wonder: who is really in control here? You, or your ego dressed up as your psyche, telling you that if you don’t have this or that then you are critically futile? And why does the feeling make me feel so uneasy after it’s all said and done?

I often pride myself at being a rather fruitful shopper. I usually know what I want, how it works, why it works, etc. I don’t usually steer too far from that logic, because I prefer it. I like things all laid out, but every now and then I will play fast and loose if I have a good enough feeling about something. However, I never want to feel too overwhelmed by choices, because they can get very overwhelming and very expensive very quickly. The things that I don’t anticipate getting at times can often affect the flow and mood overall and that aspect I loathe.

But I would be incredibly dishonest if I didn’t say that I felt the pressure to get certain things in fear that I would be missing out on a certain experience or an opportunity. It’s like you must weigh all your options in a lot of what you buy, and you honestly have to think about whether this is pertinent to your prosperity or not.

Shopping for a lot of people can either be a leisure pursuit or dependency. “FOMO” is an acronym that was popularized by author and Harvard MBA Patrick J. McGinnis back in 2004 that is short for “the fear of missing out.” Whenever I feel myself getting something just for the sake of getting something, I must reevaluate why that is. Am I doing it for me or is it pure FOMO? As author Mark Manson once put it in the article “THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE INSTAGRAM”:

“FOMO is becoming a big issue with our generation for the simple fact that our generation has the most options and choices to choose from. This has been famously called “The Paradox of Choice” and it’s pretty much why the more amazing things get, the less happy we all become.”

There is this idealism that more is better. We often get vexed about being out of the loop with culture, trends all relating to that of buying things (and we do like buying things over here, so don’t get me wrong). But at what cost? We all want to feel like we are a part of something just like everyone else, but this feeling to feel “a part of a whole,” can make us feel suppressed and underwhelmed at times.

The feeling of dissatisfaction can be real, as I’m sure we all have experienced at one time or another with a purchase, and not because it wasn’t what we wanted, or the quality was horrendous but because we were just over it already. It was what I like to call a, “on a high purchase.” We knew we didn’t need it, but we bought it anyway because why not?

The truth is shopping isn’t the enemy. Nor is shopping on a whim from time to time. It is the idea behind the shopping that matters. If you feel hungover after doing it then simply reevaluate why that is and mend it if possible. The concept is to be fully conscious of said purchases, so that way we can have little to no regrets.

In the past year I can honestly say that this has been the case with me and my purchasing habits. Not perfect but that’s not the goal. Although, I am still in the early phases of doing better, I honestly don’t have too many recent buyers’ remorse. One of my favorite mottos are, “you can always return it.”  

I do have loads of respect for the concept of minimalism. The ideology that you do not belong to your belongings and your belongings do not belong to you—could be mediated on and honestly should be.