21 May 2020

I read a fantastic article recently. It's dated 2017, but is just as applicable now as it ever has been, and it really resonated with me.

Without re-hashing the same points (or at least, trying not to) there's a beauty here that is oft overlooked by the masses, and it's something that I'm really keen to follow up with people: have you done enough to be happy, or is that thing you want for someone else's happiness?

A case in point: I still live in the first house we bought as eager 20-something first-time buyers. Common logic seems to dictate that I shouldn't, that we should have moved out by now and started climbing the property ladder. "It's only a fairly generic 3-bed, don't you want more?" I hear.

No, actually, I don't. There's sentimental value here - it's the home I brought the boys home from hospital to, it's all they've ever known, etc - but more than that, it's almost paid for. We'll be mortgage free in the very near future. Do we really want to start again somewhere else, wrap ourselves up again in payments that we've freed ourselves from, for the sake of saying we've bought somewhere bigger, or newer? It would certainly be somewhere that costs more than our current home - why do all that, when what we have is enough? Or, from a different angle; maybe we feel like we've paid enough mortgage payments?

This is obviously one daft and self-centred example, but this kind of thinking is everywhere (capitalism at its finest, I guess) - don't settle for that 12 month old phone, buy the latest; don't drive an older car, get a newer model; it's all around us. But it's important to me that people retain the ability to think critically and ask the important questions - "do I really need this?" is one, but a deeper one is probably "who is this really for?"... if you're justifying life decisions based upon some form of status symbol, deciding that you need something because you feel pressured by society at large to have that thing, then you should really be honest with yourself, take a step back and think - have you actually achieved enough that you're happy with yourself?

Of course, I'm not saying that people shouldn't strive to achieve, of course not: but it's important that when you achieve what you want that you remain focussed on the fact that it's for you - no detractors can take away your sense of achievement unless you allow them to, and likewise if you are content with your lot in life, that is not a crime. There's enough people who are crippled by debt, or who have a poor sense of self and resulting mental health, you don't need to add to it for the sake of chasing "more". Take a look at what you have and decide if, actually, you've got enough.

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