Ditching the Joneses

March 21, 2011 § Leave a Comment

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I never wanted to keep up with the Joneses.  I wanted the Joneses to eat my dust.

“Suck it, Joneses!” was my battle cry when throwing wide the doors at Nordstrom, Restoration Hardware and Williams-Sonoma. Thousands of dollars I spent making sure I had the better furniture, better jewelry, better everything. Because, you know, having better stuff makes you a better person.


The reality is that in our flurry of consumerism, in our breathless “need” for just the right look or latest discovery, in our willingness to max out cards that we’ll be paying off until our eternal dirt nap, only one truth will ever prevail:

The Joneses are so busy being Joneses that they don’t give a Funyun* about what you’re doing anyway.

The need, the want, the belief that what we wear or what we own matters to other people… It didn’t. It doesn’t. It never will.

What matters is that you fully and completely become yourself. And you are not your cashmere sweater, suede couch, All-Clad pans or your [insert your personal consumer fetish here].

But the process of letting go hasn’t been easy. When you spend over 30 years attaching your self-worth to how things LOOK as opposed to how things ARE, it’s a long road to get yourself back. You have to take the time to understand what parts of you are real and what are your own illusions (delusions)?

Letting go of my attachment to material possessions doesn’t mean that I walk around in an moth-eaten sweater and never brush my hair (even though this is a perfectly acceptable look in Northern California). But it has allowed me to give away nearly 75% of the unworn items in my closet, to eliminate the need for chemically questionable, costly and time-consuming trips to the hairdresser (see Live Free or Dye in a later post), and to focus my attention and hard-earned money on purchases that truly enhance my LIFE rather than my IMAGE.

So to the Joneses out there: I apologize for using you as an excuse to contribute to a culture of rampant, unchecked consumerism. I’m sorry I diminished you to a shallow representation of greed, competition and malice when in truth you are people with all the magical complexities that make each one of us a unique reflection of the universe’s perfect image, not just credit card cowboys with ninja-fast signatures. I’m deeply ashamed that… Wait, what? You weren’t paying attention to me anyway? Oh. Okay. Cool. Nevermind then.

Are you ready to ditch the Joneses in your life? What purchases have you made recently that are image-based instead of life-based? Is there any delusion about yourself that you’re ready to let go?

*Type A Minimalist does not endorse the eating of Funyuns.

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