My parents are trying to reduce the amount of “stuff” they have, knowing they will soon want to move off their acreage into a smaller home in town. As I see how challenging this is, I can’t help but be aware of all the things I’ve accumulated, too.
Most Americans have a healthy supply of “stuff” . Having more than we need is not a bad thing; but having more than we can use, enjoy or appreciate? That may be the definition of wasteful.
Frequently, we will enrich our lives (or the lives of our children or others) more if we invest in experiences rather than in things. Experiences will never sit and gather dust in a closet; the memory and the learning will always be vital. In many cases the best gift is not another sweater or another household item, but instead an experience.
What kind of experience? There are so many options: a meal at a unique ethnic restaurant; attending a play; piano or guitar lessons; building something with others; a day at the museum. Experiences don’t need to cost money either: consider volunteering, offering to teach someone a skill; planning a regular walk with a neighbor or friend.
If the holiday season causes you to reflect on your priorities and you wish to focus your energy and resources where they will really matter, I encourage you to pay attention to how you balance experiences with things.
NOTE: I don’t want to suggest that experiences are right and things are wrong. All things are not wasteful, certainly; some are needed, some bring lasting enjoyment, and some (such as board games or building blocks) create beneficial experiences. Likewise, some experiences have little or no value. But if we are conscious of maintaining an appropriate balance between things and experiences, we’ll be more satisfied, and also less wasteful. ~Barb