If I have one ever-present material weakness—and I think a lot of minimalists struggle with at least one—it’s the persistent desire to purchase backpacks and messenger bags.
If I’m in a shop that carries them, I’ll eventually find my way over to the display and evaluate them. I can’t help myself; I’m drawn to shopping for new backpacks and messenger bags like some women are drawn to perusing new purses even though they have a dozen or more already.
I’ve worked to understand this need, want, OK… let’s call it what it is…a compulsion that I clearly have to find the perfect backpack or messenger bag. Like any form of materialism, it’s linked to my desire for control.
As humans, we are addicted to control. As one who leans toward living as a Practical Buddhist, I know that I don’t have control over anything. I tend to say yes to life, but when I confuse life with retail sales, I can falter and say “OMG, YES!”
For example, the perfectly functional backpack I bought a few months back for my everyday carry to and from the office, the Brooklyn, part of the Reaction line from Kenneth Cole (pictured on the right) works perfectly and I’ve even used it for a weekend’s worth of travel items without a problem.
So why did I purchase a Timbuktu Alchemist messenger bag (pictured below) at Therapy—Karen’s favorite little shop in Campbell, California—when I clearly didn’t need it?
Maybe the 40% off the usual $100 price tag had something to do with it? Maybe I succumbed to the false belief that this one bag would make all my backpack and messenger bag woes disappear?
Yes, and yes, but the real reason that I purchased the bag had to do with succumbing to materialism.
When faced with a time-limited deep discount, most any desire can take on the role of a deeply felt, even visceral need that we can rationalize.”
I admit it. I was weak. I failed the litmus test of the minimalist ethos. Am I an utter failure as a minimalist?
Not really, I’m just human and I gave way to the ingrained culture of materialism that I’ve been immersed in for 61 years.
I’ll do better next time.
We can all do better next time
When we realize that we’ve purchased something nonessential, it’s really not a big deal. I think anyone who chooses the Live More With Less lifestyle also understands that we all make stupid purchases from time to time.
It doesn’t mean we’re a failure and destined to be drummed out of the minimalist militia; It just means we’re human and we can vow to do better next time.