Monday, March 21, 2011

How to avoid wanting

The other day I came across this Groupon:

$10 for a one-year subscription to "dwell" magazine!

I am a big fan of Dwell. And $10 for a year is a steal, right? Totally. A no-brainer. This is why I love Groupon. It helps me save money on things I love and would already buy even without the discount.

So I was all set to partake in this particular Groupon when I remembered...

Reading magazines makes me want to buy things. 

And reading Dwell really makes me want to buy things.
Things like... a house.

Back in May of 2009 I wrote a blog post about this very subject. It was time to shed our possessions and I began with the stack of magazines. Getting rid of those magazines had me realize so much about the source of wanting.

Especially fitting today is what I wrote about my relationship to Dwell:

Take Dwell, for example. I love Dwell magazine. The images, the homes, the stories, the ideas it would inspire... but I could never shake the fantasy it sparked. The fantasy and dream for a better life.

What I didn't realize until I stopped reading Dwell is that looking at the perfect images of other people's homes and furniture made me feel lacking. Our home wouldn't be complete until I replaced the living room furniture with that (incredibly expensive) Ligne Roset sofa I saw or until we installed solar panels on the roof. Until we renovated our 2nd bathroom and installed a rain shower head in the first. I compared my life to the lives I saw in those pages and always felt inferior. The luster of our home would lesson each time.

After closing an issue I would look around our house and just feel, ugh. That rug needs to go. Look at our dining room table... it's so boring compared to that oblong white marble table I saw in Dwell.

It's been a few years now since I let my Dwell subscription lapse. Our life looks so different. Yes, we have a baby. We live in a new city. Those are the big and obvious changes. Not so obvious but big in a different way is the fact that I don't feel lacking. We have far less today than we did back when I was a regular Dwell reader, but it doesn't feel that way. Our life feels full. Complete. We have everything we need. And the last thing I want to do is go back to feeling lacking.

Needless to say, I will not be purchasing the discounted year subscription to Dwell offered by Groupon.

Turns out I can't afford it.

P.S. I don't mean to bad mouth Dwell. I seriously adore the magazine. I just know my own weaknesses and refuse to indulge them. That doesn't mean I won't occasionally pick up an issue and be inspired. I know what you're thinking... if I pick up one issue for $5, why wouldn't I just pay another $5 for an entire year?! Well... see above.

If you'd like to read my post from May 2009 about magazines, here it is: "You Really Should Have Read This By Now"


babychef said...

I agree. Most of what I read is about food, so I feel ok about getting those (at a discount and written off for work) :) But I do agree about the other ones. I was going to buy that too, until I thought about it. That deal's pretty cheap, but do I need it? I've also bought less clothes because of this. Although I do still want new furniture, ours is fine.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Pam Weinert said...

What a great post. It's amazing how we're all swayed by the media!It influences what we wear,eat,sit on,drive,our hair color,hair style...well you get the drift. As much as I LOVE too has you buy things you REALLY don't need.So beware of the Grip of GROUPON and think before you press "BUY"

Anonymous said...

So true. I cannot afford magazines either. I don't really have time to read them anyway. We can clean out our clutter on so many levels. Our material levels, our internal level that wants, wants, wants,heck I could spend about an hour unsubscribing to about 50 companies that email their latest deals that just tempt that side of me that is just always looking for happiness outside of myself. I know I'll never find it there. I just need to CONSTANTLY remind myself of that. Our whole society is so caught up in this. We've been marketed to till were blue in the face that that whatever will make us happy and perfect. And then there is all this shame directed at those of us who can no longer afford this impossible dream that was sold to us so well... This foreclosure just magnifies the truth of all this. This house is just walls. Walls with a price tag I cannot afford on sooo many levels. Happiness is not about walls. Happiness comes from inside myself. Happiness is sleeping well at night and not constantly worrying about how the hell am I going to pay all these bills...? We have been so thoroughly marketed to and so thoroughly we bought it. It's time to reclaim my happiness! My couch that my mother in law gave me is just fine! Thank you for your post and place to discuss this, I'm so glad I found you. MLZ

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