Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happiness comes in a box?

Warning: picturless post ahead!

Did you notice the question mark at the end of the title. I assure you it was quite deliberate. This title was always meant to be on the ever so slightly ironic side. I know full well that stuff cannot bring happiness, at least not the capital H lasting kind.
Just last week I blogged about my new glasses and the bitter sweet excitement they brought and I already had a post ready for today. It would have been all about our new cameras (yes, plural). But this is getting ridiculous.
Yesterday our PC broke down. Which would make this the third major thing to have broken down in the span of 5 days.
After replacing my glasses and our camera, which incidentally died on Friday, Mr. C and me came home yesterday to find the PC dead. This being the only computer in our household naturally left us in a state of total and utter panic.
I have just recently read a very profound post on the topic of stuff by the very ingenious and inimitable The Waves which really send my head spinning. Do we need stuff to make us happy, do we really identify who and what we are by owning certain things?
I won't pretend that I don't get a certain amount of pleasure from owning beautiful things, but I have always strived to maintain a firm grasp over my consuming habits. Things exist to make our lives more comfortable, they give us a certain amount of joy but they don't or shouldn't define who or what we are.
That said, I can assure you that I absolutely feel crippled without my PC. For one, I am writing this post at a public library, which is a source of great discomfort because I have people walking by, looking over my shoulder, etc.
I know full well that when it comes down to it, human beings need very little in terms of bare survival. In that aspect my need for sunglasses, cameras, computers,... can feel pretty ridiculous or even conceited. But I think bare survival has long ceased to be the primary goal of our existence.


  1. Awesome post! Your are so right, going over to read that article myself. I've always had issues with my stuff. I have to much stuff, stuff I don't need that I bought just to feel some need. When I go away on vacation, rarely, it causes me great anxiety to be away from my stuff! I have to bring stuff with me just to keep the edge off. Vicious cycle!

  2. I don't need a lot of things, but I do NEED my laptop. Being without it--and all the writing it contains--is like being without speech. Is this normal, or am I hopelessly addicted? If so, it sounds like I have good company. I hope you get your PC back up & running soon, Coffee.

  3. Ana, I too would feel quite lost without my laptop. Actually experienced it for a while just recently.
    I get stuff to fill an emotion. The emotion of being liked and cared for. The relief is only a brief one. Next day I can part with the stuff very easily, because it did not fill my real need.
    Decluttering is my psychological way of arranging room for what I really need.
    Oh my, life is complicated.
    I hope your PC will get fixed quickly

  4. Still at a public library and still keeping this brief :-( As things stand at the moment, I expect to be back in the 21st century by the end of the week.

    Mandy: I find vacation exhilarating because Mr. C and me are very much of a Robinson Crusoe disposition when it comes to vacation. We like to go camping and it's such a relief to be away from stuff :-) To some extent this imposed computerless period has been rejuvenating.

    Charlotte: I know exactly what you feel, there aren't a lot of things I need, but there are quite a few things I want. Separating one from the other for me is the key to a quality life.

    Mette: I think basically what I wrote to Charlotte applies to your comment as well. I don't for a second entertain the notion that my spending habits don't contain at least some trait of fulfilling some deeper psychological needs. That would have been ignorant and conceited to the extreme.
    As usual you are too hard on yourself.

  5. Trying to be positive here at least you are having a different experience at the one time trying to use one saw me running out of the library in shame!!!!!

    We have a saying nasty things always happen in 3s so hopefully you have run the course. Ida

  6. Isn't it scary how quickly we get used to certain things? I spent the last weekend (4 days in total) without access to a computer, and I have to admit that I felt at least some symptoms of withdrawal. After the first two days I suddenly felt liberated... and now I'm back to the addiction. Mette is right: life is complicated! I hope you get your PC working soon. And thanks for the mention! :)

  7. Ida: I'm so sorry to hear that. Though Slovenes are known for a lot of bad traits we are however, a nation who cherishes libraries immensely. Our local library far exceeds the expectations and I for one am a very grateful customer.

    The Waves: Addiction is a proper word indeed. I have learned a lot these past few days on how my daily productivity is affected by the numerous hours spent behind the PC and to that end I am thinking of establishing a computer free day once a week. As for the mention, I was quite intent on commenting on your brilliant post and then due to the current events it evolved into a post of its own.

  8. I am lost without my laptop, I honestly feel a bit empty if i don't have it for a day - a bit sad.

  9. Bourbon and Pearls: I wouldn't call it sad. I have an unusual attachment to most of my things and bursting in tears when one of them is damaged or permanently ruined is a common occurrence. On the other hand, I sometimes pull "a sand mandala" and purge my apartment of cherished things. I guess that's my attempt to balance it out. Very Fight club-esque ;-)