Thursday, July 24, 2014

Obsession with Newness or Reluctance for Second Hand Stuff

I don't know why that is, but it seems like in the society we live in, everything we own 'd better be new! We constantly feel the need to buy more things, that are more performant, more trendy, cooler, prettier, or just simply newer... Of course, this trend has a name, consumerism, but that doesn't help understand how we got to finding it the right way to live. Oh, now I know that many people will feel like they're not even close to adhering to this consumerist ideology, but that someone in their siblings or surrounding does, and they'll probably even make some digusted face showing their disapproval. But the thing is, we're all concerned by this shift of mentality because it is a pattern of this modern era. Even if you don't (or pretend you don't) follow trends as to clothes or food or games or cars or whatever, I firmly believe that you'll probably still be quite up-to-date as to your electronic things, be it your phone, computer, tablet, TV, etc.

So, let's just pretend for a second that we don't have a problem with this new consumerist attitude and believe that it is ONLY (please note that I wrote it in capital letters for ou not to miss it, as a way of saying that I am not a total banisher of modernity either!) a good thing, does it necessarily mean that old stuff or just not that new stuff, should go to the trash alltogether? Obviously, my answer is no, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this article. But how do you feel about that? If we take the time to look at our elders we instantly see how much they cherish their things, how happily they say they've had this or that for how many years. How does it make you feel, bad? Because that's actually what made me think about second hand things, and more generally about old things that we have and cherish so much... I think it is a wonderful pattern that elders have, one that I truly love. I loved it so much I started looking at my own things that I had in my closet or my desk to see what I had in store, only to realize I kept many objects just because they were mine, and because I wanted them to remain mine, but never actually using them! How silly of me, isn't it? I'm sure you have the same thing happening at your place too though... But that isn't the way elders do it, they only keep some of all the things they had during their life, and only that which has some purpose, be it because they use it, or because it reminds them of something or someone. So, why keep these things? Just to call them my own? Why do we even feel that way with objects that clearly don't really mean something special to us?

Then, I tried to sell many things I thought I didn't need anymore, and most of it went away, but a bunch of other things didn't sell at all. Only then did I think of giving my clothes and objects to a charity, to finally realize that there were many types of charities taking these objects. There were those who took them to send them to countries in need, mostly in Africa, those who took the objects to restore them and sell them at super low prices, and then again, those who took things and gave them to the needy ones in my own country. And you what? It felt GREAT! And for so many reasons! Because I was helping someone, because the things I loved enough to buy, were given a second life in the hands of others who I hoped would treat them well, and then because I felt like I could also buy stuff from other people at a low price and still be very content with it! And since that aha moment, I keep going to thrift stores or second hand markets, be it to buy pieces or sell some myself. I think it's a very simple and economic way to recycle things, and to keep changing the things that you own into new ones (for you), even though they're not really new since they used to belong to someone else. Why should it be shameful to recycle clothes and objects, when it is so appreciated to recycle the trash? And anyway, is it not thus trendy to buy second hand stuff and sell our own if it allows you to keep having new things (for you), and throw away you own old ones? Isn't that what consumerism was meant to be, except the recycling part, obviously? Once you get rid of the first sense of (ridiculous) shame, you'll see that it is so much fun!

If you're still not convinced, I piled up 3 websites that you might want to check for more encouragement:

And just for fun, here's Macklemore's song to win you over!

Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!

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