Friday, April 4, 2014

It's a Nice Problem to Have

I am no longer going to complain about my weight or my clutter... OK, realistically, I'm going to try very hard not to complain about my weight or my clutter. I will probably complain about them again but I intend to feel very guilty when I do it (yes, I'm planning to feel guilty) and endeavor to do it less.

Why would I complain about having too much to eat? Why would I complain about having too many things? It makes no sense. What is the alternative? I wish I were hungry and homeless? Hunger and homelessness are real problems.

  • Not having enough to eat is a real problem.
  • Not owning a single pair of shoes or a change of clothes is a real problem
  • Not having access to shelter, clean water, and a clean environment is a real problem
Deciding to order pizza because I don't feel like making a home-cooked meal is not a real problem. It's a first-world pseudo-problem, like having slow internet or no shoes that match my dress.

Having to deal with the "problems" stemming from abundance are very nice problems to have!

The excess that I have on my body and in my home is a direct result of abundance! Given how many people there are currently inhabiting this planet without enough to eat or live, it seems callous and myopic for me to complain about it. 

"Oh no! Woe is me! I have too much to eat! I have to throw out my stuff because I'm drowning in it! I have to hire an organizer to help me manage it! My situation is horrible!" 

I can't overstate how completely unprecedented my situation truly is both historically and globally. What to do with too much is just not something my ancestors and much of humanity has to worry about.

I know that I often forget that the problems associated with abundance are not actual problems compared with the problems of famine and poverty. How could I not? It's so easy to forget! You have magazines, blogs, TV shows, books, and advertisements constantly repeating the refrains "Cut the Clutter" "50 Strategies for Organizing"  "Lose Twenty Pounds in Twenty Days." There are entire sections of book stores devoted to weight loss and clutter control, entire blogs devoted to organizing and eating less. TV series devoted to hoarders and weight loss competitions. I am constantly bombarded with the message that the issues associated with abundance are just horrible!

But they aren't. At least not in the way they're being talked about in the mainstream media. There are some actual problems with abundance but it has nothing to do with my weight or where to put my stuff.

The fact that I have too much to eat and too many options isn't a problem but the depleting of our soil, the pollution and cruelty associated with our industrial food complex and the chemicals I consume sure are.

The fact that I have too much stuff isn't a problem but the using of natural resources to make those products that I don't need, the frequent use of slave labor to both get the raw materials and make the products is an actual problem.

The clutter's eventual trip to a landfill is akin to an insult to the people who suffered to make the "clutter". My casually discarding what they slaved away to make is a truly horrifying thought that I'm having for the first time as I type... I find that thought very upsetting.

Furthermore, the use of credit which sends me further into debt to acquire the stuff that I don't need, often made by slaves, which will end up in a landfill, is also an actual problem.

The fact that I have to deal with the "downside" of abundance is not a problem, the fact that I fail to see the havoc it wreaks while complaining about the outcome of my indifferent indulgence surely is.

So I'm going to try very hard to stop complaining about how much I weigh and how much I have. I want to continue working to be mindful of what I'm buying and what I'm eating: where it comes from, how it was made, what it is made from, who made it, etc... This is very much a two steps forward one step back process for me. "Consumer awareness" encompasses many things! There are TONS of things to be aware of. It's daunting! Nevertheless I think it's definitely a thing worth doing and I'm getting better at it all the time. Making choices based on knowledge and a set of values is a good thing, at least I think it is.

Anyway, the fact that I have the problems associated with abundance is not something to complain about, it's something to be grateful for, because it's a nice problem to have.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly. The trick is curating all the stuff so you have only what you truly want. Happy weekend!


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