In Pursuit of a HAPPY Life
"In our consumer culture, we always want the next best thing: the latest, the newest, the youngest. Failing that, we at least want more: more intensity, more variety, more stimulation. We seek instant gratification and are increasingly intolerant of any frustration. Nowhere are we encouraged to be satisfied with what we have, to think, This is good. This is enough."
— Esther Perel in her book ‘Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic’
We are taught that to succeed is to own stuff – and lots of it, clothes, cars, fancy watches, multiple homes, foreign trips, and whatnot. Subconsciously (and sometimes even consciously) we buy these things to brandish. flaunt ourselves and impress others. And while we are at it, they are doing the same.
We call out the brands for their unsustainable practices, but it's a sort of Catch-22-they do so to meet our insatiable needs. The consumers, in turn, continue to buy and dispose of these products to meet up with the impossible standards that these corporations have promoted as the “ideal life”.
And thus, the vicious cycle goes on and on.
However, with our houses overflowing with things we don’t need, our closets full of stuff we never wear, young people struggling with debts and rent, it's time we realized that no matter how much we get, it will never be enough. Moreover, commercialization and consumerism have had an undeniable impact on the planet. A study conducted by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimates that a truckload of textiles is wasted every second. Therefore as consumers, we need to rethink our culture of overconsumption to minimise the impact on the planet and on our wallets.
It is crucial to understand that buying more of what one doesn’t truly value or need might feel good in the short-term but that it is not in our communal best interest in the long-run. There is a lesson in the fact that today, it is easier than it has ever been to purchase and discard services but somehow, we have found it the hardest to live happy and depression free. We must realise that true happiness does not lie in swiping a credit card.