Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Culture of Excess

“The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness” ~ Friedrich Nietzche

We live in a culture of want want want, more more more. It seems as though we just cannot get enough. Homes these days have multiple laptops, iPads, and video game consoles. Our closets are stuffed full of clothes that we don’t wear. We upgrade to a newer car when our older one is just fine. Our garages are stuffed with junk that we will never use. Our refrigerators are full of food – half of which we barely touch.

This culture of excess seems to be the norm in Western Culture nowadays. But when is enough enough? I often wonder where this culture of consumerism, excess, and immediacy comes from. It’s as if we measure ourselves by our possessions, and that is so very sad.

I personally think that we have mixed up our needs with our wants.

I am going to begin asking myself, before any purchase, “Do I really need this?” I anticipate that the answer will be “no” most of the time. This is not to say that we should never buy things for ourselves. As working people we should reward ourselves now and then. I just think we place too much emphasis on our possessions, and not enough on the more meaningful things in life.

What are your thoughts? Do you think we have a problem with excess? 

146 comments:

  1. While I do like my gadgets and electronics, other 'stuff' isn't that important to me. Most of it just sits around and collects dust. (I guess that's why I like eBooks - they don't take up space.) Once in a while my wife and I go through and just get rid of stuff.
    And now that you mention it, we have three big screen televisions in our house. Not sure how that happened...

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    1. Wow Alex you should donate one of those to...your favorite Journaling Woman.

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  2. Good points made ... couldn't agree more ... having had nothing as a child, I tend to hoard things ... but also give many of my possessions away , and start fresh ... much like the Doukhabors, well maybe not as extreme ... but ...

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  3. Not many read Friedrich Nietzche in this day, but it's nice to see him quoted. You are correct IMO that we do live in an age of excess, at least for those that can afford it. Most of those things wouldn't do us any good in the ever-popular theme of apocalypse that we read about. I see many motorized toys for leisure activities and purses and fashion that cost a fortune for women. I have several cameras, but use at most two.

    More people write, yes, but most of us want to make something of it financially. Look at how many write 'how to write' books. We can't all be experts, students are needed too. How many of us have ebooks we will never read? There is an excess of books, since the internet made publishing more accessible. It almost appears we are on the downhill decadence slide. Some have too much of 'goods' and some have very little, in westernized countries and around the world. We are a consumer society.

    I wonder if the Romans and other empires pondered on such? What is important are relationships, family, and satisfaction in the work we do. There is much that could be said, but there are also many opinions on the matter. I put much of the blame on marketing which rules the roost at present, along with business interests. That's my nickel's worth on the matter, OE.

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  4. Great post! I always kid myself that i don't buy much, I have a very small closet by American standards, but the truth is, I donate loads which gives you an unrealistic view of what you have bought. I have banned myself (actually did it 12 years ago) from big box stores as you go in and spend whatever or stuff you can't remember what your bought (apologies for appalling grammer)

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  5. do I ever think we have a problem, we lost sight of reality somewhere along the way, but there is one thing for certain and that is no matter if you have lots and lots or next to nothing, we all take the same amount with us when we leave this life, rich and poor, death is a great equalizer!

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  6. Yes, we are a society of excess. I want what they have but more. We have downsized here. Our closets are not stuffed with tons of clothes. We wear them until they are worn out. We drive old cars although we each have a vehicle. Mine is an '02. I will drive it until I can't. We have one television set (that we hardly watch). We don't have excess anymore. We used to, but we downsized. We could still do more actually and are.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  7. On a less philosophical level, I'm asking myself those questions now, because we are trying to downsize for retirement. This isn't working for the dh, but I am really working on it. My childhood was simple, we lived on a military salary and that was very small. But I was happy, and never wanted for anything.

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  8. agree. except for too much blogging and my smart phone delivering emails/comments whenever i want, i live a fairly simple, quiet life. and i love that.

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  9. This is something that I think I'm quite good at controlling in my life. I think supporting second hand is one very nice way of working towards a healthier view on consuming. :)

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  10. Best of luck on your journey of letting go, and Happy Autumnal Equinox. Here's two cinnamon raisin hard rolls, just to get you kick-started.

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  11. We live in a society of excess. Want more, want newer, want the best, labels count more than the person wearing them. We are all guilty of this, to some degree. I know I am. It's a tidal wave that's swept us up and is carrying us away...

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  12. I do believe that.

    I try the approach of one in two out. It seems to be helping a little.

    I am very aware how much can ruin from the storage of things you aren't using. I have found it over and over again with clearing four generations on a farm.

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  13. And what do we really need it all for anyway? When we kick the bucket we can't take it with us. I'd much rather spend it on one good thing and screw having 5 of that one thing at a crappier build or something. I think the cats actually have more stuff than I do lol

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  14. I only have one pair of feet so why do I need so many pairs of shoes! I only have one pair of eyes so why do I need more than one TV. I only have one pair of hands so why do I need more than one computer. I have cut out all excess in my life and my possessions are minimal - has anyone tried to go without buying anything new for a year - now that would be a challenge!

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  15. I love art supplies - I have tons, but just like my clothes, there are many I don't use often. Once a year I round this stuff up and donate to a local art co-op for kids

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  16. I think the USA has an unhealthy "bigger and better" attitude. You must always be striving for more or for the next step up. People who are content with what they have are considered lazy.

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  17. Hi Keith- I used to shop a lot (and I mean ALOT!) and I don't anymore. When I started connecting with my heart and living from the inside to the outside, I felt fulfilled. There aren't enough houses, cars, food, drugs, alcohol, to fill me up from the outside in. Yup, inside/out that's me. Hugs!

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  18. want has become almost the synonym of need that we often confuse the two.

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  19. Hi Keith,

    I really do think so! I am a minimalist and am happy with very little. However, I need to mention that I grew up as an only child and with parents who had very little, so I suppose I am used to being happy and making do, and appreciating the little I have. :) Too often people get wrapped up in "things", but our happiness and security does, and should, come from within ourselves, not in material possessions. :)

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  20. Anytime a crowd of people wait in line 2 weeks to get the latest I-Phone, I'd say YES, we have a problem. It is just ridiculous. But I need to take care of my own house before I'm too hard on others. What I do need is to take a lot of stuff to GoodWill!

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  21. When so many have so little it does seem a tad excessive when I look around this little house of ours.

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  22. I agree 100 percent and will NOT get on my soap box, this is one of my top three sermons when I get on the soap box.. and the bottom line of my sermon i will not preach is that all this excess is not paid for with cash when bought. Excess has half of America in debt up to 25,000 on charge cards trying to buy all the wants... i think one reason for this is the instant media we have that dangles all the things in front of us making us want them. and most are not strong enough to say No,.. i often wonder where this will all end up....

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  23. I do think we are a culture of excess. I am going to start downsizing the things in my home and ask myself the same question you pose here, Keith. It's ridiculous.

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  24. I've been thinking about this a lot. What stops me from buying things I don't need is income. I don't have cable or satellite. Recently, someone told me they could not, would not be without satellite TV.

    Okay. :)

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  25. I do agree! And I think there are more and more shopaholics. People are trying to fill a void that can never be filled without God.

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  26. Consumerism is the economic engine of modern capitalism. The inability to distinguish wants from needs is what fuels it, along with easy availability of credit. None of this is by accident. We are trained to serve its needs.

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  27. Well, you wrote right up my alley as I see this daily. I am a Credit Counsellor. This is so true and people are guided by what we see on TV, internet, billboards etc... the media knows exactly which demographic to hit at and how to manipulate. people are "The masses" and when people say they don't keep up with the Jone's... think again. Many people do just that. Why else do we see so many drive big ass pick up trucks without a mark on them? they are not using the Pick up for what it is meant, it is an image thing. People buy for their children to excess. It is stated the average parent spends $1,000 per child for back to school! Did all of them grow 5 inches from the end of June until August? Do children need cell phones? If they are driving, I can understand a Pay as you go but not a cell phone with all the bells and whistles.here in Canada we have an epidemic...it is called Tim Horton's. People often get 3 coffees per day ( never mind a timbit). Each coffee is $1.82. This amount to $1,992.90 per year! Yes they go every day! It has become habit. They will leave home Sunday morning and come back 5 minutes later with a Timmy's coffee. That amount of money can pay for an all-inclusive trip! That can be a nice savings!!! What we want is limitless but what we need is. I would advise to watch the commercials and see how they prey on people. the only way to be a success is to have a card and they have Morgan Freeman's voice to do it. I have to say i do not blink an eye at seeing debt of $50,000 and that is usually credit card debt alone. Think of this, the average person has 6 credit cards, a credit line, an overdraft (21%) and often an old cell phone bill or the dreaded payday loans. We can often be the happiest with a lot less.

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  28. Emptiness has to be filled and many of us fill this void with things. Things that we don't need. I find giving away our excess to those who are more needed is a good way to balance our over abundance.

    We own nothing even though we may think that we are owner of this and that. What good is it to have so much when we can't take it with us when we leave this earth.

    I'm guilty too and I'm trying hard to limit my excess. I find that I spend more on the needy than I do on myself. I love shopping for good bargains and I also love to give it away.

    I like being comfortable but I only have two feet and have only one good pair of black shoes, a good pair of sandals, a black pair and a white pair of skid resistant walking sneakers, one very old pair of winter boots and a pair of steel toe working rubber boots for my farm work.That is not many foot wear for today standard but I'm comfortable.

    When I go in the mall, I get overwhelmed by so much stuff, electronics or food even. So much prepared food. I prepare my own food and live simply and I'm satisfied.

    I guess I already said too much.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  29. I only want one thing at this moment Keith

    And that is?

    A scotch egg!

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  30. Yes. You are singing my song. And I/we need to be more discriminating in what we import into our cluttered homes and lives.

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  31. Of course you're right, Keith, as always. I don't have 3 TVs or a fancy car, and I do always ask myself whether I need something before buying it, but I'm still guilty of over consumption...it's a lesson that needs to keep being relearned it seems.

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  32. Keith, hubby & I may have been like this in the past. But, we have learned to wean our purchases. We usually keep a car until it dies..I do not own the latest phone or even an Iphone.. I do have to a good working camera.. that's all. Enjoy your week!

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  33. I totally agree. We're good about eating our food. But Christmas is crazy at our house. The boys get way more toys than they need. Guess what? They want...want...want more...more...more.

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  34. In our house, we try and save and reuse as much as possible. Guess what though? We are looked on as immigrants who come from India and who are cheap.

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  35. Yes to your question...definitely yes. I'm trying to solve that problem by tossing out the same number of things that I bring into the house. I allow myself a new book but I have to throw one out. Same with clothes.

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  36. I do think for a period of time in our life we do think about accumulating possessions; but after while we think about which of these possessions really means something to us. I think I have reached the point of not acquiring more possessions really. My car can drive a long while, and I don't need a new one. My clothes are not worn out, so why buy? I can be minimalist with a lot of things, but I had to buy the Apple iPhone 6. I didn't think twice about that. I do think we need to think about what we really want and what is important to us & not feel guilty about that...but we need to also realize that what we accumulate someone else will have to dispose of someday! Great question, Keith.

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  37. I agree, we have made our wants into our needs ~ So much stuff are being shoved into our face and do we really need it, nope but we are sucked into the cycle ~ And sadly we don't know when to stop ~

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  38. We are definitely spoiled rotten, and we take full advantage of it too. Excess with gratitude is better than excess with a privileged attitude, but you're right we do go way overboard.

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  39. Yes Keith... this is a society of waste... I have started that question with myself too.. 'Do I really need it?' Most times I say no... especially to the wasteful food and disposable items.

    It saddens me to throw out food at any time... at the cost and waste.

    I don't need the latest or greatest... I'm trying to teach Valentina the same thing.. ♡

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  40. Maybe we have a problem with excess, but I don't think it's the worst or most pressing of issues right now.

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  41. I totally agree with you. And we are a society of throw away stuff. You hardly see any repair shops for your fridge, toaster, dishwasher etc. we throw it away and get a new "better" one.
    Cheri

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  42. I've moved three times since 2007. Each move required shedding stuff. And... still... when the next move came along there was still so much Junk. I try very hard (now) only to buy things I need. Who wants to move a bunch of stuff around????

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  43. we certainly do! And the latest is this iphone 6 mania.

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  44. You make a good point. We have decisions to make. However , we have been conditioned by the obsession with growth of the economy so companies forever invent products and hard sell them. We are suckers to buy.

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  45. Yes. It's nearly all we see, hear, and read.

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  46. It has taken us decades to move to "Do we NEED it?" In saying that, we are culling through all the stuff we thought we wanted.

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  47. I feel lucky to have what I need, and a bit more. David and I are good about donating our excess.

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  48. Enjoyed your post...good point and a good reminder to think of what really counts in life.

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  49. I know I personally have a problem with this. A lot of my purchases are wants instead of needs. I now have myself on a budget and I only get 1 "want" a month (if that).

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  50. I think it's been this way for so long and we are so used to it that it seems normal now.

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  51. Most definitely yes, Keith, we do have a problem with excess in our culture.

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  52. I used to love shopping, but now I'm not such a fan. To me, it's all just stuff. It helps that I've never had a lot of money to spend, though, and have an aversion to debt.

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  53. Yes, I do think we have a problem with excess, that is why there are so many storage facilities around filled with stuff people think they need and they are paying to keep it in a storage unit. Makes no sense to me (temporary storage can be necessary at times, but not long term year after year after year storage).

    I've become very minimalistic these days. Everything I personally own (books, clothes, that type of thing) could be probably put into 5 boxes. I've learned the hard way at great expense what excess because of wants can do to relationships when we were dealing with getting rid of the massive amount of things accumulated by hubby's parents.

    betty

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  54. Oh, yes! We definitely have a problem with excess - and that means here in this very house! I'm guilty of buying far too much at the grocery store! That is one area that I need to mark for improvement!

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  55. Yes! I agree....it's seems like it's never enough........

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  56. I totally agree. Too many wants. I am a minimalist, and I find myself constantly cleaning house, and giving away bags and bags and boxes and boxes of stuff to charity. I feel smothered when the house is too full. Hubby and I are hoping to sell our home within a few short years to downsize to a very small place. That is what I've been used to most of my life until we moved here and found a great deal on this house. I love small spaces with very few things in them, and I can't wait to get back to that. There is so much freedom in minimalism...in every which way.

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  57. Yes, I do think we have a lot of excess in the world. When we just moved, I gave away about 10 bags of stuff that I've accumulated through the years because I don't like clutter, and I usually buy things that have meaning to me, but sometimes I'll see something that I just can't resist, and I'll buy it for no reason at all.

    That's nice that you're going to ask yourself, "do I really need this?" I will try to do the same. :~)

    You know, I'm still moving in and so busy, but I had to come over and visit because your posts are always so interesting to me.

    ~Sheri

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  58. Hear, hear! The technological aspect really drives me crazy. People never look up from their screens these days. They should be able to chill out at the park w/out being glued to their phones, or sit and read a book. It's the simple things we look back on at the end of our lives- not if we should have bought nicer cars or more flat screen TVs.

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  59. I agree with Leandra, I have been working to cut down on my online time and sticking my nose in a book. I think we all have some sort of problem with our own excesses.

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  60. We live very frugally .... could I do "Tiny House Nation?" -- absolutely NOT ... lol .. but we don't live or teach 'more more more' in our home -- when things are outgrown, they are given to friends that have kids in the smaller sizes, blankets and household goods that we 'outgrow,' go to elderly homes to use ... my old craft things, goes to Brookie's children's hospital for the 6 craft rooms they have for the kids there long term ... my kids hear the word 'no' a lot ... things around here have to be earned and PRACTICAL :)

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  61. Im absolutely agree with you and this happens in many sites.
    Make me feel sick sometimes when people say " you still have this car of years ago" and is a good car!
    Sigh!
    I really love this post Keith:)

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  62. I think we have a problem with still being hunter/gatherers. For me, it is the process of accumulating more than the actual having of things. And then there is the game of it all in that the person with the most stuff/money is the winner.

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  63. Keith, I was just talking with my Mom today about the difference between credit cards in the States and in France where they have to be paid off completely at the end of the month like a debit card. If we can't afford something there is no wiggle room to get it and that is kind of great. I really, really feel the pull of advertising while I am visiting in the US and how it taps into that inner fear (that many of your awesome readers have mentioned) that "I am not enough."

    I loved reading your post today and think that both of ours have things in common - hopefully we are both working towards getting rid of things, thoughts and ideas that no longer serve us.

    Cheers,
    Heather

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  64. Absoluting. It's fairly disgusting how we "need," "need," "need" things that much of the world would desperately trade for water, bread, and or safe shelter. We're very spoiled. I'm just as guilty as everyone else, though, when it comes to technology, I'm sticking with my flip phone until I pay off my debt. It's going to be a long time before that happens. I do not need an iPhone 6 or a smart phone or a laptop even.

    Thanks for your supportive message, friend. I hope you're well.

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  65. I don't have the money to waste on things I don't need.

    But the "need" that some feel they have - to have the bigger house, the fancier car, the designer clothes, etc., etc., et al has grown out of proportion. The "keeping up with the Jones'" has gone way overboard. In reality, we really do not need much...we're surrounded by so much beauty...natural beauty; beauty we fail to see - beauty we take for granted.

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  66. I have faced this recently in preparing for moving from my home of 17 years. I have discovered so much that I had no need for and have sold, donated or recycled a lot. I also have realized that sentimentality ties us, binds us, and is weight on us. I have been able to let go of what I had held onto over the 37 years I'd had of married life before my husband passed not long ago. I take a picture and it is something I can look at and remember and not have to be weighed down with. I also have considered where it would all go should something happen to me...and realized that much would be donated or tossed. I can do that and save relatives the chore. Things I wanted to give to special people I decided to give now while I am still alive and see them enjoy it.
    Now I do feel a lot less burdened.

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  67. We live in such an entitled world… and I'm frightened for the world that my kids will grow up in… we definitely don't need nearly as much as we have. It's why I'm *trying* to still instill hard work and appreciation into my kids' lives… All great thoughts, Keith. As always. I enjoy your posts so much!!!

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  68. You are right on with this entry. I do try to do better along these lines though. We shop at a thrift store on the day they give senior discount and we buy things that are almost brand new and sometime are new. I love to read and never keep the books, always donate them back. I recycle everything I can. Also I find if I watch The Hoarders sometime it makes me want to give things away.

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  69. It's food too, how often does someone say to a fridge full of food "there's nothing to eat".

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  70. I agree with you! I suspect, however, that the culture of consumerism is much more widespread and visible in the US than over here in Scandinavia (for which I'm thankful).

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  71. I do agree! We certainly live in a keeping up with the Jones society. It's sad that success is often measured by our possessions. Personally, we try to find a balance. Yes, we have multiple ipads and laptops, but my car is 14 years old, paid off, and I'll drive it until the wheels fall off. I'd say about 90% of my closet is yard sale/thrift shop finds. So, to me, it's ok to treat yourself every once in a while, but you need to be conscious of when enough really is enough.

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  72. Keith, shopping used to be fun when I was young but now I don't understand what 90% of things for sale even do. So I just make do with a well-used minimum.

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  73. Yes. I think we do put too much emphasis on 'things'.. and keeping up with what others have. Only to add more rubbish to landfill sites. I'm fed up of it. I dont want to be like that. I'm trying to only buy something if i need it or absolutely love it ( and fancy a treat) . I had this conversation with someone recently, and said my relationships and people mean so much more to me than things.. and if i have things.. i enjoy them more if i'm able to share them in some way

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  74. Oh yes I agree with you and often think about these things too.
    Consumerism is insidiously working away at us through daily television ads pushing goods and services they say we need.
    It's a form of brain washing.

    It's not OK to carry on buying "things" we think we want, when a third of the world lives below the poverty line and in war zones - where on earth have our collective morals gone.

    Good for you Keith for bringing this to our attention - hopefully we can all give this issue some serious thought and do something about it.

    Hugs
    Shane

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  75. We are very good with food wastage. Very little is thrown out and we don't tend to buy new tech products unless we really want them and or they need upgrading. We don't buy much on a whim and most clothes do get worn regularly.

    However, I agree, we are too materialistic and do consume un-necessarily.

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  76. Hi Keith - I only buy if I do need, or if it's a necessity .. and I certainly recycle things; food always gets used .. waste not want not .. and it's really not necessary to upgrade ...

    People can't seem to relate how we can get by without many things ... and if we volunteered more, we'd have less time to buy ...

    Cheers - excellent thought provoking post .. Hilary

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  77. I do think that people often worry more about what they own than anything else. I do the same thing you described. When I want to buy something I ask myself if I really need it. There are so many things that make me happier than a new phone, a nice car etc.

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  78. I think that it is a huge problem, Keith, and it is one that can slowly encroach on one's life. Personal circumstances mean that we have been living very frugally. It has been a real eye opener about what sort of things are necessary. For a long time we have had a personal challenge to ensure that no food ever gets wasted.
    However, what was really interesting was that recently we had some visitors staying and immediately the amount of waste (food and non-food) went up (which I found ridiculously annoying!! :)) It perhaps shows that for a less consumption oriented world - we all have to be in it together!

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  79. I love the way you wrote about the culture of excess. It is something I've been reacting against for many years. Recently, I started dealing with my personal excesses. First by shedding 50 lbs, then by giving away clothes. It felt so good to visit so many thrift shops to find a new life for the clothing. When you have a massive change like I did, it makes an inner shift. It also makes you wonder what else you could benefit from doing without, besides food. The weight loss sparked me to do some deep "spring" cleaning--thinning the herd in my home. Glad I found your blog, through Stephanie Farris' blog (we follow each other). Will be back to see how your journey develops.

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  80. oh i agree completely on mixing up our needs and our wants...and it can leave us feeling unfulfilled without...and then we end up in a mess....i think we need to work on managing our expectations of life...

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  81. So very true! It's all about me, me, me for a lot of folks. Hubby and I try to follow the rule of "Time, Talent, and Treasures" as a way of life, giving of each, as we are able. Giving just plain feels good! We are accumulating fewer things at this stage of our lives.

    Big hugs, honey...

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  82. This hit me the other day when I realized my daughter and I were spending money on the same books. I was buying them on my Kindle, and she was ordering them through Amazon. (Yes, she has her own account and loads it with her own money that she makes through dog-watching.) There is absolutely no reason why she and I had to have separate copies of The Infinite Sea -- except we didn't check with each other before ordering. Wasted money, through lack of communication.

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  83. Yes. We have a problem with excess. For some, it's an addiction. For others, it's to fill a void in their life even at the expense of their financial future. I distinctly remember a friend telling me she had a $30,000 credit card balance. I asked her what she had purchased with that money, and her response was, "Nothing worth that much." It was all consumable! While I, too, am guilty of buying things I don't need, I do try to live frugally, and my savings account and my financial future is way more important than having the latest gadget.

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  84. So very true Keith.

    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers Keith. I appreciate them so much!

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  85. =) I laugh here because anyone who sees our new home probably thinks we buy into that method of thought, but the truth is, my van is a 2000, we've replaced the engine and put about 250K miles on it. Other than a brief stink when we were first married, we've always been a 1 income family (and not because it was comfortable). My kids wear hand me downs. We have multiple computers because the kids home school...but most of those have been rebuilt from pieces my hubby acquired free through his profession.

    I think the danger is wanting more than we can afford, and then enslaving ourselves. People believe they should have it all, even if they're up to their ears in debt to obtain it. We forget the earlier generations who survived and scrimped and saved until their later or retirement years when they were finally able to obtain a comfortable living. It makes me nervous--seeing how people consume without total responsibility.

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  86. Yes, sadly, quite excessive. Having just downsized, from house to small condo, I gave away most of the contents of the garage. Gave up cable TV over a year ago with some withdrawal but now I'm glad. Gave away the contents of my storage space, and am still going. I think many of us (including me) developed the mindset of shopping as entertainment as well. Books are my soft spot, I'm using my library more and more, and if I really like a book and see that I will re-read it I buy it. Some books I buy because they aren't in our small library and when I am done I give them to the library. Haven't made it to e-literature yet, no electronic readers in my house, although there is a wider and wider selection of e-material at the library. I still have an excess of household goods but my grandkids are reaching the age where they may be setting up households and hopefully they can use the extra sheets, dishes and so on. The rest goes to charity. I too was shocked when I realized how much I spent in a year on drive through coffee, and that I made a trip in the car just to get it. Sadly I love my favorite drive through, the people are local and friendly and I like supporting their business. Same with a local book store, which carries used books.

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  87. Ah, I completely agree Keith! We're all a little guilty when it comes to this. I'm also going to start asking myself this before I buy unnecessary things. Hope you are doing well :).

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  88. Absolutely. Lately in our home we have been focusing on getting rid of things so that we can be lighter and more free to enjoy what really matters in life - relationships.

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  89. I agree with you! This is a culture spreading like an infection and just for being showy, people kept buying things whether they like or not. I am someone who buys things only after analyzing sometime and well aware of its usage to me.

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  90. You're so right on all accounts...and I am one of those guilty ones when it comes to fun knick knack things...as for the car and the ipods, tvs...etc. Nope, not me. We in fact dropped tv [cable] altogether...for two years now. And it's one of the best decisions we've made.

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  91. I agree with you. I only buy clothes when I need them and am pretty frugal overall.

    Except when it comes to books. Though at least I generally only buy 2nd handbooks.

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  92. Retirement has really pared down my impulse buying. Half the money makes one think. I use to never question a purchase under $100, now it is down to $5.00. My biggest weakness is gadgets. Gotta work on that.

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  93. A great post... U know my friends sometimes think I am too stingy and make fun of me..But in real I just choose to spend wisely yes like all girls I do buy more clothes than necessary but yes other than that for everything else I ask do I need it??
    Am a new follower ..
    hop u wil like my blog too
    www.ananaytales.com

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  94. Yep...my husband and kids and I had this conversation with ourselves a few years ago...and still continue it because it is so easy to get sucked into need vs. want in our culture.

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  95. I've actually been planning an entire series on this subject on my philosophy blog
    discussing both sides of how we are so wasteful and materialistic
    as well as how the consumerist economy and monetary market works and the necessity of buying things for the sake of keeping the money flowing to have a so called economy

    I'd appreciate a collaboration if you're interested

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  96. Hello Keith

    A timely subject. Recently, we discussed how everyone shops like they are stocking a retail store. We have downsized and are being more selective when shopping and will wait until the right object is found.
    Helen

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  97. We absolutely have an issue with excess. As a society, we always want to be better, whether that is to have a better car/home, or comparing our children by having "gifted" programs.

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  98. Yes, we do. Part of the cause is recreational shopping, which may well have it's roots in the instinct for hunting and gathering that helped our ancestors survive.

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  99. Most people have way too much of everything and are still not happy so they buy more stuff. It's such a sad way to live.

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  100. Your head is on right, Keith. :)
    Garages are so full of stuff, their car won't fit.
    I've got a neighbor who spent 40 grand on a vehicle! My husband and I share one car. We choose to do so. It works out just fine.
    Things things things. We live in a disposable world.
    Buy used. Thrift shops are fun! Recycle. It's the right thing.
    And we should stash our hard earned money away.
    Cuz, we're gonna need it.
    Great post, friend.

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  101. I don't believe in culture strongly enough to say "we" have a problem with excess. I have a problem with some excesses. I have an addictive personality, and especially when my syndrome causes me too much pain, I'm likely to eat to excess, or at least snack an excess of calories.

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  102. I know you're right, Keith. And yes, in some respects, I'm guilty. I shop at Costco, for goodness sakes. You've given me something to think about and remember though. My son was in West Africa for 27 months working for the Peace Corps. When he came home, he had to adjust to our excess and wastefulness. We take too much for granted.

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  103. I have no problem of excess at all...But I'd love to!

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  104. I think the society do. For me, I 'm happy of what I have. I usually buy here and there only if I get a good deal and if I really need to. I really trying to save some money for my trip back home.

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  105. What a profound post! Consumerism is engulfing western world. I also wonder at the amount of money which is spent on the pets(for their hair dressing this and that)....a quarter of it would have saved a child's life in a poor country.

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  106. I totally agree with you, Keith.
    We do have the unfortunate tendency to buy more and more things that we neither need, nor even really want.
    I think it may be partly due to advertising...it is there everywhere we look - on TV, radio, bill boards, news papers, magazines etc...forever convincing our subconscious minds that we will be incomplete without these life-enhancing products or gadgets.
    Yes...we do need to ask ourselves if we need another item that we already have several of. It is such a waste of the World's resources.

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  107. I agree completely.
    Then again, I bought my two kids cars when they were still in high school.
    I didn't have MY first car until I was in the Navy for two years.
    So, methinks I'm part of the problem. :-(

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  108. We went through a flood in 2010 where we had to rebuild our home and throw away/replace almost all of our belongings. You definitely realize from that what you actually NEED to get by. Mostly, you need four walls, a bed, a kitchen, and a bathroom. That's it. Then you start building onto that to add a TV, couch, computer, etc... But do you need those things? I could get by with my laptop (I work from home), a basic phone, basic furniture, and those initial needs I mentioned. All the rest is just fluff.

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  109. YOU ASK the best questions Keith, always makes me think, not that i don't already think to much,,but at least yours make sense, and a big YES on you r question

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  110. I agree Keith....we all have too much and want too much. One thing that I do is when I buy something, I keep it in the bag with the receipt for at least a week or more, and then if I still feel I want it I keep it. 60 percent of the time I return it. This is probably not the best way to handle excess, but it kind of works for me. I guess it is better than nothing. Thanks for making us think about the things that truly matter Keith! :-)

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  111. I just had a conversation with my daughter about this, today. She commented that she's happy when she has what her friends have. I told her she should be happy just being. Material things aren't what makes you happy!

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  112. You're entirely right, Keith. We think we can fill a void with things, but this type of void cannot be filled like that, it only demands more...
    So, it's your birthday, today? Happy Birthday! Many happy returns of the day!

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  113. My daughter and I (she's 10) went on a buying fast in August. We bought nothing but the necessities, which consisted mainly of food. We've reaped tremendous benefits in the month since.

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  114. The more you disassociate the consumer with the source of her/his consumption the worse this situation will become. Good post. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  115. Definitely agree with you. We're doing better at that, though by nature, we're not shoppers :) Good luck with your resolve. We'll be watching for updates :)

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  116. Yes we do.... and your quote by Nietzche says it well.

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  117. We used to keep a full refrigerator, but then the kids moved out. Now we hardly have anything in it. Nor to we have the means to get what we want after paying college tuitions.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2014/09/5775.html

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  118. we started waiting a day before we purchase something, the next day it doesn't seem so important. I tend to buy on impulse and sometimes I feel guilty at all the pottery paraphernalia I have.

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  119. We live in excess in our house, but we try to be frugal about it. My children get "new" clothes once a month when we go to the second-hand store's monthly $0.25 sale. During the last hour of the sale, we can fill a trash bag for $2. Both kids get outfits and toys--as much as we can fit in the bag. It probably sends the wrong message about owning things and being happy with what you have. But the youngin's keep growing out of their clothes too.

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  120. Yes! I ask if I need something, and then I make myself wait a week or two. Keep me out of bookstores though ~ I have no backbone in those! Happy Friday, Keith!

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  121. Yes, yes, yes. This. So true.
    And the children seem to have this "need the newest/best of everything" mentality most of all! Which means it will only get worse for the next generation. Sad.

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  122. I find I stay grounded by being out in nature. It is part of being human to want things, and part of being a better kind of human to apply restraint to our wants :)

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  123. I completely agree with you. I try to avoid excess, but there are some areas where I struggle - ahem, clothing. I really should try to be better about that or at least give away the stuff that just sits around. I have some weird attachment to my clothes and hang on to them thinking they will eventually come back in style. Seldom to they, but there are a few skirts I got rid of that I continually wish I could get back. lol Yup, guilty.

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  124. Oh. My. Where do I start? First let me say that while I do have an iphone and a new MacBook, I replaced my 9 year old ibook and I don't have the latest iphone. There are things I "want" but don't need.

    One of the things we talked about in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is how people go into debt to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't know. I am beyond caring what people think of my "stuff" and I buy most of my own clothes at goodwill (I love a good thrifting day). I do have things that I needed (mostly it was a want) and I"m still paying for it because I bought it on credit! Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

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  125. Hi Keith,

    You are so right - I have been feeling the same way.
    Lately I have been asking myself - do I really need something before I buy it.
    Enjoy the weekend
    Carolyn

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  126. That is true Keith! One tends to be impulsive buyers for no apparent reason. Go shopping when the stomach is full is a solution. Hunger creates demand it seems. Wonderful thoughts!

    Hank

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  127. No kidding! Yes. Definitely. I'm too old for all the consumerism but see its face on the screens I observe. At my age, the purpose is to rid myself of possessions. Feels good. Freeing. I don't NEED much. I don't WANT for anything. Except peace.

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  128. We have turned greedy, and greed is the root of all evils.

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  129. I couldn't agree more. It's something I think about a LOT. Have you ever read Voluntary Simplicity? I read it every year. Hope you had a wonderful birthday! Beate's post was so sweet and beautiful!!!

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  130. I agree.. to a point. We genuinely have very few needs but many wants. It's some of those want which are fueled by our passions. That's not always a bad thing. But the excess that tends to happen from time to time can border on vulgarity.. wasted food, in particular.

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  131. Food.....don't forget that we buy (and eat) way too much of that too.

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  132. Excessive consumers today? Probably. Growing up we were taught to be happy with what we had and to keep our eye simple. In other words avoid excesses.

    I'm not big on having the latest of whatever and so most of electronic gizmos don't tend to be in my house. I have a good desk computer and one laptop which I used more when I was working outside the house. Now I have a telecommute job and rarely use it--my kid does tho.

    Food...hmmm. I do try to keep my freezer stocked and my pantry. I usually have enough to get me by a month without buying anything else (which came in really handy last year when money was squeaking tight). Part of being prepared for contingencies. Only thing I have to really by frequently is milk, cheese, bread, and any fresh fruits or veggies.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  133. I agree! A couple of years ago we did a purge - closet and our entire house and we sold and donated things. I wondered when we accumulated so much junk! Now I don't make purchases on a whim and if there are things I want I put them on a wish list and go back to it in a few weeks. If I still want or think I need them I purchase them. With the home too, I have a much more minimalist outlook or a handmade outlook!

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  134. I linked to this blog on today's blog!

    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-do-you-really-need.html

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  135. So true. Fifteen years ago, I could be deliously happy if I found an obscure movie I'd been looking for or if that book I wanted to read finally arrived. Even a trip to the video store was an event. I miss that feeling of excitement now that everything is readily available.

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  136. Excellent post Keith. Not only is it about the meaningfulness of each of us individually, living simpler is also of importance to the planet. As someone said "living simply is finding out what is 'enough' and discovering that 'enough' is plenty."

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  137. There is a documentary, I wish I knew the name right now, that explains how all so called civilized countries in this world taught their people to want more and how they help destroy our planet with it. They need them to want more so the consumption of more makes the dollars cling in their pockets. I've never been the type of person that spends money for unnecessary things, but ever since I saw that I'm asking myself even more if I need whatever I want to buy. And lately I am more and more intested in becoming a minimalist and simplyfying my life all around. Material richness is like giving away all happiness...yet we cannot stop wanting. Why is that so? Beautiful post! Thank you, honey :)

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  138. Excellent post; I was going to comment early on, but everyone said what was on my mind. However, today I stumbled on a Poetry24 poem by Philip Johnson that presents a different view of what I think might be the same issue: http://poetry-24.blogspot.com/2014/10/too-poor-poem.html#comment-form.

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  139. We are thrifty people and we don't follow fads or try to keep up with the neighbors. We fix everything until it's beyond repair before we go shopping for something new. Reuse, recycle, re-purpose!

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  140. we indeed have. wants have become needs these days

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  141. I'm a guilty as the next person, but Jilda and I are going through a decluttering process and it involves a hard look at our buying habits.
    It's a humbling experience.

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  142. I don't have a lot of things and I like it that way. I have rescued cats and I sure love them. They are my family and we play and are silly. I don't feel right if I have too many things. Like they tug away at my brain. I don't keep anything I don't use. It's simpler that way.

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