Consumerism and the Culture it creates

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. Today I felt I’ll rather share something out of my usual genre, and just speak a little more freely about certain things I see around me. Living in the west has its ups and downs, and one of the “ups” is that you are around a lot of things that could improve your standard of living. This can be seen in the ease with which technology is available and how interaction with the newest inventions can drastically change our lives.

Now we live in times where you can literally stay indoors all day for as long as you want without even having to go outside for anything.  With home jobs, many people run their own businesses from home or even work from home for big cooperations. So, unlike a decade or two back, one can easily make a living right from the comfort of one’s home. Once finance is taken care of, I guess food is the next reason to step out. There are many restaurants and food outlets that will deliver to your doorstep and they are just a few clicks away. You don’t want to eat fast food? Ok, you can do your grocery shopping online now or even have people do it for you and deliver to your house. Exercise? Many new age apartments have a gym, and working out at home is something that is also trending especially for those who are “stay at home” moms.

Furthermore, with the growth of social media, even romance or “love” is possible right from the palm of your hands and just a few clicks away. The question is where am I going to with all these? There is no doubt that, we have come a long way and a lot of things have been done to improve our lives and make living easier. At least that is what I’ll like to think. The sticky part to all these wonderful innovations is when we become a slave to these “improvements”. Last night I was at one of the biggest Malls in the States here and going from one shop to another, I couldn’t help but notice the “hunger” that has been planted in the masses and how much they strive to acquire all the new stuff that has promises to make them better and happier. Don’t get me wrong, having good clothes on and looking good and decent is a necessity, however, struggling to buy a designer outfit just because it makes you appear rich and aristocratic, is just plain ignorance.

Celebrities of our day and age may have also contributed to the epidemic of consumerism. They post pictures of themselves “living” a lifestyle which doesn’t truly reflect their daily life and get millions of people who look up to them confused. Now people feel that in order to be “successful”, you have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, wear certain brands, drive certain cars, hang out with certain people etc. Up till this point, I would have still been okay with this type of paradigm if the masses who try to imbibe it could actually afford it. We have people driving cars that are not paid for, living in large houses with huge mortgages, struggling paycheck to paycheck all to impress others. The sad irony is that people are trying to impress people they don’t even know, with stuff bought using money they don’t have.

The results? A nation in debt and people who are unsatisfied with life. One would think that with the amount of stuff people have in Western countries that they would be happier, but on the contrary not so much. I use social media to connect with family, loved ones and acquaintances that matter in my life, and also as a casual form of distraction when I need to. There was a time when social media was just that; a medium to socialize. Not anymore I guess, as today it has become a platform for business, advertising, networking, bullying, self-aggrandizement etc. It is easy to misconstrue genuine expressions sometimes as being “salty” or jealous because we live in a time that truth is either seeing as “shaming” or “offensive”. People have the utmost right to share whatever they feel they want to share about their personal life on social media, be it their finances, love life etc.

If one feels like in order to feel validated they have to share their checks online each time they get it, then fine. The question is to what gain is that? I guess we all also have the option of ignoring whatever we feel is not helping us grow by not even commenting on this kind of pics etc. Instagram today, is just another “den” of these lions. Almost every other picture is an “Instagram famous person” trying to tell you they are happy and making money. Truth be told, remember the last time you had a good laugh at a really good joke among friends, in that time and space, did you remember to pause, stop, record the joke and you laughing and then share it? I doubt. This is because, when one is truly enjoying a moment that is beautiful and genuinely fulfilling, you are too absorbed in it to remember to document it. We can pretend that we are fine and happy, and try to make others think so too and even get them to believe our lies. What we cannot do is believe our own lies, because sooner or later we will snap out of it and reality sets right back in.

In the last few years, we have had a number of celebrities who were found dead from suicide, and one would wonder why they took their own life considering how much money, fame, prestige, and things they had. Many of us would have traded places with some of these celebrities in a heartbeat were we asked to do so. Long story short, we all need money to do basic stuff. Having ones finance in order is essential to living a comfortable life, at least. Consumerism and over accumulation is, however, a disease that has become viral now. It is okay to be content with what we have, it is okay to desire more as long as we can actually afford it and it adds value to our lives.

I hope this points someone in the right direction. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

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