Holidays! It is that time of the year that is meant for catching up with family and I meant REAL family. Does the word REAL mean real any more, besides all the gifts and other formalities in life. It is the time for family to bond and connect with each other. But this hardly happens. If at all it happens, it is wrapped in fancy terms such as family reunions or family get together. This has become formal too. People bring in gifts and exchange them between each other once a year. Is family a family for life and why is it being celebrated as a Anniversary once a year. Has it become a tradition of make believe that we are a family and are staying together as one, at least in the eyes of the society.
We live in a society that craves materialism and instant gratification. Holidays have become money makers for retailers and is hugely marketed and commercialized. It’s all about the money. Where did the idea of gifting “JUNK STUFF” pop up from? Back in the old times people were gifting food, fruits and staples throughout their lives and not just once a year like we do. Today manufacturing of goods have taken up a completely new level. We are producing STUFF in bulk, and manufacturing much faster than anytime in our History. This has in fact sped up pollution, related diseases and mass environmental degradation. The more we manufacture goods that require vast amounts of energy, raw materials, Billions of gallons of water, dyes and chemicals,etc, the more we WILL pollute. So at the end of the day Each and everyone is responsible to cause this pollution either directly or in directly. Did you know that there are Multi-Billion dollar businesses geared to making Santa, Easter bunny, gift wraps, ribbons, cards, gift bags, idols, posters and what not? Where did Bunny and Santa come from? I did not know that. Did you?
After the formalities of gift giving is long gone and the price forgotten, Gift wrappings, ribbons, boxes, confetti, masks is that what remains on the ground to be cleaned up and taken to the landfills. Then comes the debt payment service bills in the form of credit card statements which will lead to even more depression and anxiety to the plastic card holder. Meanwhile the receivers of the gifts have already forgotten who had given them that gift, but the givers are now worrying about how to pay for them when the statements come calling for them. People usually spend excessively in October , November and in December like there is no tomorrow, because the advertisements tell them to do it. These ads have the power to condition and control our brains into buying things which we do not need with the money we do not have to impress people whom we do not like. But we go along with the flow in this musical chair for the fear of being left out or the fear of not being accepted. This is what is propelling the spending spree that is happening all over the World. But come January and February when the bills come crashing into our front door, we would not know what to do or how to handle them. So is it worth spending in the first place? Why not hide our wallets by freezing them from October through December? They may get a chance to thaw in the spring.
The Westerners are tending to follow a much simpler lifestyle by following the Eastern traditions and the Easterners are craving for a materialistic lifestyle. Minimalism and frugality is the new norm. Many millennial’s have become vegans and are following mostly a vegetarian diet. They are much smarter then us and are resourceful. We need to respect that as adults who have been there and done that. We have seen both sides of the Pre-internet era and new Post- internet age. So we have in deed seen the best of both Worlds. Minimalism fills our life with less stuff and a open space to freely move around. By DE-cluttering ourselves we become free from the bondage of materialism. This in turn brings in less stress, less bills and a simple way of life to live by. Simplifying our life also means simplifying our wallet by spending only what we need and not by what we want. This helps us save a lot over time. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Make this your New Year commitment. This may be the best gift that you give to yourselves.
Our everyday life on Earth depends on our finances and our inner happiness. We may have one or the other, but not both in many cases. If we are lucky to have both, we may have the best of both Worlds. In addition, if we are lucky enough to have a family that stays together no matter what and supports each other, there is nothing like it. This is very rare though. People today are attached much more to products than to family. They would even fight over a few dollars thereby breaking life long relationships. People have learned to love products and use people. Most people are merely existing and not living their lives at all. They have the daily rat race to look forward to. Sadly many still believe that this is Living. In the process of having this belief they are not living life on their terms but on some one else’s. They work from birth to death devoting their entire lives to work, paying their bills, paying their taxes and over spending. This keeps them in the rut of the rat race with no chance of them ever having a chance to get out of it. Then when its time to go, it is filled with regrets of I could have done this and that.
Family comes first, the rest next. Today everyone says they are busy. Busy doing what? Is that they are busy shopping, busy on the social media, or busy working to pay the bills. No matter what they are indirectly saying that they have no time for you. Is that what the message conveys to us? It means that we are not their priority. In life, we need to prioritize relationships, friendships and family over materials. Materialism has taken over us and have superseded everything else. We have de-prioritized our own lives and the lives of our own families. In the end we end up become massive spends and hoarders of unwanted stuff, over-stuffing our own lives with much more stuff and throwing out people in our own lives and filling that void with unnecessary stuff that takes up all those unwanted space in our lives. Time to let go. This Holiday, try to spend time with family and friends who are true to yourself and to others. And let stuff take a back seat, just for once.