Non-Material Girl

contemporary buddhist art, dharma wheel, mixed media painting

Ever since I was in my late teens and early twenties, I felt disenchanted with the material world. You could call me the opposite of Madonna’s famous song and say I’m a Non-Material Girl. Here are a few stories and examples; do you relate to any of these anecdotes?

No more Christmas presents.

I remember just after I graduated from high school in the late 80s and I was working at a fast food restaurant for spending money and community college tuition. The holiday season was upon us and I looked at all the frantic activity of people getting their Christmas shopping done.

Earning minimum wage, it didn’t make sense to go out and spend a couple hundred bucks on stuff the recipients may not even want. I thought that if they really wanted something, they’d get it for themselves. I announced this to my family and they were cool with it. As a matter of fact, there was a sort of relief in the air that they too, were no longer under that obligation. We’ve been all about no presents since then.

A few years later I worked in the local mall at Pottery Barn. I spent 2 or 3 Christmas seasons working there, and it further cemented my beliefs that one should not put one’s self through that kind of stress and debt. It never made sense why people would all crowd themselves into this shopping mall the last week before Christmas and be rude to each other, stressed out beyond measure and quite unhappy.

It was completely surreal that people were consciously putting themselves into that arena. Black Friday madness? Thank goodness I was done with retail by the time that nonsense all started. I avoid all stores between Thanksgiving and New Years. Online shopping baby!

I’ve decided to make BIRTHDAYS special instead. That is YOUR special day and I’m all for making you feel unique and wonderful. The whole shallow Christmas marketing schemes though? I see right through them and want no part of it. I’ll happily fix a nice meal, or maybe even go out for Chinese food. 🙂

Brand loyalty? Pul-eese!

Carrying a purse with special logos stamped all over it, or opening a laptop with a glowing piece of fruit on the lid has never been important. It certainly does not define who I am, nor would I want to be identified as a type of person for using a certain product.

If you ask me, corporations should pay ME to wear their merchandise if it has their logo emblazoned on it anywhere. Why should I advertise for a company without being paid for it?

Last year I was crazy about Toms shoes and almost fell for being a brand loyalist. I would look for that little white tag on the backs of women’s slip-ons. Now I know they last only about a year and fit one size too small. I’m not so enchanted by them anymore.

Oh my god, today clothes shopping is something I rather dread. Going into stores and seeing hardly anything I like is part of the problem. Once I find clothes I think look decent, the quality is shoddy and cheaply made.

The tissue-thin material is practically disposable, and knowing the garment was probably made in a factory just short of collapsing by a person who earns like $60 per month is abhorrent. This gives me further reason to be detached to all these consumer goods.

A new car? Sure I need one. I’ve been driving my 94 Volvo for nearly 10 years now, and it has trouble starting in the winter. But since it still runs, I’m not in a hurry to get another. I know that the pleasure of driving a new car will wear off in a matter of weeks.

Stifling job/career

It took me til I was 26 to graduate from college. Not only did I have a hard time making a choice and not being so focused on a major, but every career I explored sounded dreadfully boring. Just shoot me now to get it over with!

Sales people make fantastic money, but they have to devote themselves to a product or service with their ever-living souls to be successful. I was not scientifically minded and just tech savvy enough to get through a graphic design program. Teaching? Maybe I should have done that, but I don’t like a lot of what is expected of teachers and many areas I’d have a hard time conforming to. I deeply bow to teachers, though. They do it because it is a calling, and I’m just so-so with it as far as feeling committed.

Anyway, maybe the dread of finally choosing a major and having to get out into the boring world of work is an underlying problem with my focus and clarity? Not to mention my ability to experience financial abundance?

And today, when I say financial abundance I’m not talking about being rich. Simply having enough with some wiggle room is all I seek to gain. If I’m going to spend any money in this material world it would be for experiences and education. As you know you can’t take your toys with you when you die.

Do you have a sense of disenchantment with the material world? Tell me a story in the comments below of the way you are unattached to the very things others deem incredibly important.


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