We live in a time when we can have almost anything we want, any time we want, and even delivered to our doorstep if we choose. Buying and consuming things is so damn easy, and we do a lot of it. It feels good – we get that rush of endorphins when we purchase something, or when the latest courier package arrives at the door. But there’s a sting in the tail of our over-consumption…
There’s the somewhat obvious environmental impact – the fact that everything we buy has moved through a complicated supply chain of people, resources, energy, and transportation. What we consume is not just what we see, it’s the embedded impact of everything that went into making it before it arrived in our hands.
Consuming too much is not great for the wellbeing of the planet, but in a weird twist of irony, it’s also not that great for our own personal wellbeing. We’re working longer and harder, and going into high levels of personal debt to pay for our growing consumption, and feeling the age old pressure to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. And then there is the time and energy that goes into owning the ‘stuff’ that we buy. The more things that we own, the more we have to look after, maintain, sort out, tidy-up, feel overwhelmed by…
My journey to living lightly is all about questioning how and what I consume. A massive part of this has been breaking up with that constant quest for ‘more’ and to instead lean into the idea of ‘enoughness’. To be more conscious of what ‘enough’ looks like to me and my family and to slow our consumption in a way that honours that.
- Pause: One of the simplest and most powerful shifts I’ve made to slow my consumption, is to take a micro-pause before I buy something. A moment where I just ask myself if I really need or want what I’m about to buy. Sometimes I do really want or need it, and that’s totally fine, but often I don’t. Taking that small pause to gain some perspective, always helps me to make a more conscious choice.
- Feeling the love: Instead of feeling pressured to keep up with the latest trend, I spend my energy falling in love with the things that I already have. Being more conscious and selective of what I am buying means that I have less, and tend to really value and appreciate the things that I do have.
- Share: Instead of feeling like I should own everything I need or want – I love being able to share. Whether it’s lending a dress to a friend for a special event, borrowing a power drill from a tool library, joining a toy library, or sharing just about anything on a platform like www.mutu.co.nz – I love that sharing things means they get used more and we need fewer things in our own homes.
- Why: I still sometimes feel a pang of jealousy when my friends buy something new, or I see advertising for the latest whatever. But I’ve found being really grounded in my ‘why’ makes it easier to navigate that sense of comparison. I know what ‘enough’ is for me, and I know that slowing my consumption simplifies life, saves me time and money and reduces my impact. I also know that being comfortable in my enough, helps give me clarity on the important things in life.
The philosophy of enoughness is such a simple way to become more mindful of what we’re buying and consuming. A simple mindset that can slow our consumption in a way that’s better for our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet.