Old Hat, New Hat

by Lance Ekum on · 62 comments

Old Hat New Hat
Creative Commons License photo credit: Beau B

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig

"I need this."

My thoughts last week, as I looked for a new bike. 

"I’m competing in two triathlons.  I want a nice bike!"

July will bring two triathlons in which I’ll compete.  It sure seemed like a nice shiny new bike would be just the ticket to success.

Old Hat, New Hat

Growing up, a favorite book of mine was Old Hat New Hat, by Jan and Stan Berenstain.  For those not familiar with the book, it’s about a bear who has this old beat up hat.  And he thinks it’s time for a new one.  So he visits the hat store (do they still have those?) in search of that perfect hat.  And he tries on many different hats, hats of all different shapes and styles.  And then he sees his hat – the beat up old hat he’s had.  And he puts that back on, and it fits just right.  Out he goes, no new hat.  Just the hat he came in with.

Back to that bike…

So, I tried out several bikes.  Oh, they all looked really nice!  And there weren’t any scratches on them.  All of the latest "technology" there.  The first one, though, was difficult to shift.  The second one was uncomfortable to ride.  The third one, to it’s credit, all felt good.  Although I didn’t feel like I was going faster.  Was it worth the cost?  It sure looked pretty…

How often do we get pulled into something by the superficial?

Ever wanted to go out on a date with the hottest girl or guy you knew?  Maybe dreamed about it? 

Ever wanted that new car, the one fresh off the lot, sweet paint job, the one you’d look really good in?

Ever wanted that new pair of shoes, they’d look perfect on "you"?

Ever wanted that new "hat", when the "hat" you have is one you really like already?

Think about that for a minute.

Why do we buy the things we do?  You.  Me.  Everyone.

Necessity.

Wants.

That’s all okay.  Some things we need (like food, or transportation).  Some things we want (like that new digital camera). 

Do we tie our happiness to these "things" in our life, though?  Will I be happier when…

  • I have the newest car in the neighborhood
  • People’s heads turn when I walk by because of the body I’ve "bought"
  • I arrive at my class reunion in the latest designer clothes and impress everyone
  • Everyone runs over to see the latest "toy" I’ve bought
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

In short, when our self-worth is tied to materialistic items (and who hasn’t at some point in their life done this?), this isn’t going to bring about true and lasting joy in our lives.  That true happiness, the "real" joy – that comes from within.  From connecting with our inner beings.  And that isn’t the flashiest pair of sunglasses, or a dinner date at the hippest restaurant in town.  Not if that’s to provide some immediate joy as we show off our new shades, or dine with the movers and the shakers.  It won’t last, these moments of joy.  Not if that is the end all to our happiness.  Now, if that same dinner out is to also experience the ambiance and to enjoy some deliciously wonderful food in the company of someone we care deeply about, then this experience is very much a spoke in keeping that wheel of happiness within our lives spinning.  The meaning behind these purchases matters.

Back to the bike once more…

I left the bike store…torn.  And then I came home.  And rode my "old" bike.  And as I rode it, I thought to myself that this was a comfortable ride, that it goes pretty fast, that the gear installed on it is top-notch, and that it really is a great bike.

I kept the "old hat"…

In no way does this mean that "new" is a bad choice.  In my case, where I’m at, and with what I already have – at this time it was really the more superficial I was looking at. 

So Where Does That Leave Us?

"Possessions are usually diminished by possession." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The next time you’re going out to buy something, ask yourself "why". 

Why are you buying this thing?

And if there’s no good reason other than you will superficially feel "good", then it’s probably time to put that something down, and really spend some quality time with yourself.  Away from the distractions of life.  Away from the "noise" you’re normally surrounded by.  Away from the hustle and bustle of daily living.

Get away and get connected.  To "you".

And away doesn’t have to be a physical location away from where you are (although it can be).  It can be as simple as setting aside some time every day (or maybe a couple of times a week) where you focus on "you"

True happiness is there…

We just have to find it sometimes, buried amongst all the piles of other things that clutter our lives.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Sagan June 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

I SO needed this post right now. To disassociate from the superficial- to know that what we’ve got is fantastic. Beautifully written.
.-= Sagan´s Last Fabulous Post ..A New Addition to the Family =-.

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Laurie June 17, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I have to say I don’t think I buy too much stuff. My last large purchase was my canoe but that has brought me such joy….totally worth it. I do get sucked into buying books on Amazon. I don’t spend that much money on them but they all sound so interesting and like I will learn a lot (I read non-fiction).

I would much rather have less stuff and more experiences in life. When I buy something that is expensive, I want it to add to my quality of life. The next big purchases I have on my list (which won’t happen anytime soon) are, stained glass equipment, a really nice mattress, an ultralite, land overlooking the lake and a log cabin! I don’t need fancy shoes, or jewelry. Besides on the Facebook quiz I was only 12% girly so there you go! We know that is a really scientific quiz!

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Lynn June 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I kind of like the “old” hat. I’ve lived in the same two-bedroom condominium for several years and keep thinking I would like a house, but this place is very affordable, easy to clean, looks beautiful on the inside and is conveniently located to everything. So I am staying put. Not fashionable, but that is OK with me.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Swizzle, tongue firmly in cheek and safety =-.

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Yum Yucky June 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Lance – so you’re eating your hat again? There are better ways to get fiber, ya know!

But seriously…..What makes people crave the new so much when it’s not really necessary? My daughter is very materialistic while I have to force my son to accept the new thing. They’re both brought up the same way, so surely this is a mystery.
.-= Yum Yucky´s Last Fabulous Post ..Stupid Diet Tip #242 =-.

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FatFighterTV June 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Ah, the difference between “want” and “need”… lately I’ve been way more on the “need” purchases and backing off the “wants”… the tough economy has really made me think twice about what I buy.
.-= FatFighterTV´s Last Fabulous Post ..New Survey: Snack Attack? =-.

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Betsy Wuebker June 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Beautiful post, Lance, reminding us that happiness isn’t about stuff. It’s about experiences. Thank you.
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s Last Fabulous Post ..OUR JUNE GARDEN IN CLOSE-UP =-.

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Stacey Shipman June 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm

So what are you telling me here… I don’t need to buy the iPhone?? 🙂 Darn!

I hear you, loud and clear…my cell phone contract is up and the battery is dying fast, so I “need” a new phone…but at the end of the day I don’t need an iPhone, it’s definitely a want. And since I”m trying to disconnect from technology a little, I suppose the iPhone wouldn’t help! But it would be fun…that must count for something, right???

In any event, I LOVE experiences more than stuff for sure. I don’t want for anything and I realize that is a lucky place to be.

Oh and GO SOX!!!! Nice hats 🙂
.-= Stacey Shipman´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Value of Personal Connections =-.

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Positively Present June 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm

As someone who has a shopping problem, I REALLY related to this post. For example, I have many, many perfectly good pairs of jeans, but, during my lunch break today I found myself trying on jeans. Why? I don’t need jeans. I don’t need any clothes. I just want them, and not for any good reason either. Luckily I didn’t buy any, but your post has been a real eye-opener for me. I cannot even begin to tell you how this quote — “”Possessions are usually diminished by possession.” — impacted me when I read it. It is so completely true. The second I own something, I know longer care much about it. To quote Dashboard Confessional, “As soon as you’ve got it/ You want something else/ It’s not the sale that you love/ It’s the sell.” Sadly, this is so true for so many of us and I’m glad you’ve written this so I can take yet another look at my ridiculous shopping habits.

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imhkki June 17, 2009 at 3:10 pm

nice post
.-= imhkki´s Last Fabulous Post ..multi colored rose 🙂 =-.

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Armen Shirvanian June 17, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Hi Lance.

I appreciate you bringing up this concept. Happiness is an up that follows a down, so it wouldn’t make sense to purchase something to acquire it, since it would be short-lived before another down arrived.

That quote by Nietzsche does well to bring up the point about exaggerated assumptions we have about how things will be when we obtain an item. The wise individual waits a minute to reduce the risk of impulsive purchasing by a large amount.
.-= Armen Shirvanian´s Last Fabulous Post ..Message From The Pursuit Of Happyness About Achieving =-.

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Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings June 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Hey Lance, I’m all over this! Totally agree. As they say, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. I’ve done the “must get everything new and shiny at any cost” phase and it was not satisfying in the least (and no, the grass was not greener, in fact, it was pretty brown). I now much prefer to use my casholo for experiences and giving rather than stuff. Great analogy Lance. Thank you!
.-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Art of Forgiveness =-.

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Tim June 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Lance:

Great post! I’ve got two thoughts regarding old hat vs. new hat. First, you are so right about wants vs. needs. I’ve noticed, in the past year when I’ve experienced some problems and personal setbacks, that I tend to buy more to cheer myself up or make myself feel better. “I deserve it,” I tell myself. Now as I’m in transition and trying to figure out what really matters in my life, I realize that I have too much!

Second thought: old bike vs. new bike. I love cycling. Back in the early/mid 80’s when I was a teenager, my dad got me a Raleigh 10 speed. It was a nice bike and I had more than 15 years of enjoyment as I rode to the Chicago lakefront all the time. Then, it was after 2000 and I didn’t enjoy cycling as much as I used to. Maybe I was just getting old or tired of my bike. So I spent more than $800 on a Cannondale road bike, which seemed like an insane amount of money to spend on a bike. I’ll tell you, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Compared to the old Raleigh, it was light…super light. I still have it and I enjoy riding it every moment. It renewed my passion for cycling because it was a good, well-designed bike. In my case, I purchased the bike for the right reasons.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..You Are Needed More Than Ever =-.

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Jeanne June 17, 2009 at 5:51 pm

The best things in life are NOT things…………

I read an article that people that are unhappy shop to try and fill that empty void searching for happiness trying to fill up what is missing with material things.

Blessings
Jeanne
.-= Jeanne´s Last Fabulous Post .. =-.

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Jannie Funster June 17, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Lance, I suppose when I was younger I wanted more stuff. Now I love what I have. Actually, I’m getting rid of stuff.

Good for you on staying with your old bike! It may not be the bike, but what YOU do with it. And how can you help but be a winner – you’re Lance!
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..i winned! i winned!! =-.

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J.D. Meier June 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Beautiful post and I really like the old hat, new hat metaphor.

I remember when I was younger, I just ran whether I had the right shoes or not, I rode my bike whether I had the right bike or not, and I worked out whether I had the right clothes or not. When I got older, things got complicated. I didn’t run because I didn’t have the right shoes, I didn’t ride because I didn’t have the right bike, and I didn’t work out because I didn’t have the right clothes. Now I run in whatever, ride whatever, and wear whatever. My inner child’s unleashed and life’s simpler that way.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..What’s a Frame? =-.

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Diane C. June 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I enjoyed your article. I agree that we should ask “why” when we want things we don’t need. When we are wanting luxuries, chances are we’re searching for wholeness because we think we’re not complete. I like “downshifting” because it’s like stepping off a fast merry-go-round and it’s environmentally friendly.
.-= Diane C.´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cactus Monday – More Saguaro Fruit =-.

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Lance June 17, 2009 at 10:08 pm

@Sagan – Sometimes that’s easy to forget, that what we have is enough. And that’s not to take away that sometimes splurging on ourselves is a good thing too. Thanks much, my friend…

@Laurie – See, that’s a great example of buying something for a deeper reason, your canoe. Laurie, thanks for sharing this. And books are not a “bad” purchase, especially if you enjoy reading. Experiences are great things to spend on, I also think. Especially in that these are moments that can end up having great meaning for us, something that will last much longer than that moment it occurs in.

@Lynn – Hi Lynn. This is a great example of staying with something that you’re happy with. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Thanks much for sharing this here today.

@Yum Yucky – What??? You mean to tell me I’ve been chewing on this hat, and there are easier ways to get fiber? Have you ever eaten hat? It tastes terrible! Okay, I’ll visit your site – I’m sure there’s something about fiber there… (oh, that wasn’t serious?). On that more serious note – no two people are exactly alike – and I think your kids are proving that. I think part of the materialism is due to all the advertising we hear today. It leads to more of a “want” society…

@FatFighterTV – Hi Sahar. Yes, the economy can definitely affect our buying habits. And cutting out some of our wants can go a long way toward protecting what we already have. And that’s a great point – with the economic times we’re in today, this really is a time to cut back on some of our wants. And in so doing, we might just also find that some of these things aren’t wants at all anymore…

@Betsy – Hi Besty. Thank you! Yes, the experiences, what they really add to our lives! I think you’ve had some pretty great ones yourself…

@Stacey Shipman – Stacey, you don’t NEED that fancy new iPhone (he says, quickly putting that very device of his own back into his pocket)(maybe she won’t notice). No, you’re right, you don’t NEED the iPhone. Should you get that, or something more basic? Only you can answer that question. There is much you can do with this device. On the other hand, does that mean it’s just one more way for you to not disconnect? I’m probably just muddying the waters for you…so I’ll stop there! Experiences rock, I couldn’t agree more! And…about the hats…well, it WASN’T my first choice (why couldn’t I find the Brewers?), the Red Sox well…I suppose they’re okay though!

@Positively Present – Hi Dani. Well, you really bring up a great example of this. It can be so easy to see something in the window, and think how good it would be to have that. We can really begin to covet that which we see. Until we break down and buy it. We’re presented with a plethora of choices in things to buy today, just walking down the street. And resistance can be difficult at times. Thanks so much for sharing this, Dani. I think an important step in this whole process is looking with a clear eye at how we, ourselves, fall in an area like this. You’ve done this, and very openly and honestly here. I appreciatie you doing this, very much. I think there’s so much we can learn from others, and your sharing I know will help others who read here. Dani, thank you.

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Lance June 17, 2009 at 10:08 pm

@imhkki – Thanks much!

@Armen – When we buy for just the short-term happiness gain, this is not a good buying position to be in. It’s probably one that’s filled with emotion, and “things” are not going to help that.

@Sami – Hey Sami. Oftentimes the best education is that of experience. We can hear something over and over again, but sometimes it takes actually doing some of this stuff to really and fully understand it. The grass isn’t greener. It might be a different shade of green, or it might be brown (as you eluded to). Experiences…a theme that keeps coming up here. And for good reason. Experiences are something that can touch us deeply. In a way much greater than that thing we bought that remains in our closet…

@Tim – Hi Tim. First point: That’s an excellent point, this idea of the emotions that can be behind our purchasing behaviors. And we can find ways to justify it. Until someday…we realize we’ve accumulated way too much “stuff”. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a great point about our spending patterns, and how our emotional state affects that. Second pint: I love cycling too. And in fact, I have a very nice road bike, it’s just that it’s about 15 years old. And it is very light. And designed for speed. So, I do have something that will work well for racing. But to your point – this is a great use of your money – if it’s something you enjoy doing, and a new bike helps to make that easier (which it did – very cool!). And I’ll also say that the bike I really liked was a Cannondale – they make nice bikes (and that’s also what my wife has). Happy cycling!

@Jeanne – Ah, searching for happiness. And we can look and look, spend and spend – and if we never look within, we’ll never truly find it. Thanks for sharing that Jeanne.

@Jannie – Hey, you’ve got your guitar, what else do you need? (maybe the pastries!). Ha! You are making me laugh tonight. I may be Lance…but I’m not quite THAT Lance!

@J.D. Meier – Thanks much! This is another excellent point. Sometimes we overcomplicate things, until they’ve become so complicated that we just stop altogether. And sometimes all it takes it just being a little carefree again, and letting the kid within you out!

@Daine C. – Hi Diane. I love that, the way of looking at this as searching for wholeness. We try to “buy” that wholeness, and that doesn’t work. It comes from within. Wholeness..what a great word to associate with this idea.

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Daphne June 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Lance,

This is one of my favourite posts of all time. Loved the story about the bear and his hat, and your sharing of your bike temptation.

Like Lynn, at one point I wanted a spanky new condo until I realised that the place I’m in is actually just right for me. And like Stacey, I feel blessed to have reached a point in my life when collecting experiences rather than material objects holds more attraction.

Your writing is reaching new levels, Lance. I can really identify with the themes you choose and your way of putting across your point so simply and powerfully. Great post!
.-= Daphne´s Last Fabulous Post ..Feng Shui Bonus: Enhance Your Love Life =-.

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Davina June 18, 2009 at 3:23 am

Hi Lance. What I’ve noticed many times is when I’m out shopping, if I see that “have-to-have” item and I don’t buy on the first impulse… the desire goes away. I end up feeling happier that I didn’t buy it. I’ve become less materialistic as I’ve grown older and keep a pretty clutter-free apartment. Less to dust 🙂
.-= Davina´s Last Fabulous Post ..Heads Up — Beware of Crows! =-.

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord June 18, 2009 at 7:49 am

This was a wonderful post written at a wonderful time (but what’s all this “economy” stuff I keep hearing about?!!). I took your concept a step further in my mind and started thinking about the idea of getting engaged to the man I love. I asked myself, “Why is that important?” Like purchasing things, does it signify an achievement? It certainly doesn’t change our relationship and doesn’t guarantee anything. Do I really need to be someone who gets married someday?

I think the answer I settled on is no, I don’t. It’s just another aspect of my life ego wants to conquer. Like buying a new bike, or hat, or jeans (as Dani said)… If I’m content inside, then I don’t need anything on the outside.

Thanks for writing this, and good luck in those triathlons!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wisdom of the Sages (Tao Te Ching) =-.

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Cricket June 18, 2009 at 8:41 am

Hey Lance! Great post.

I feel the same. Long ago, when I was a young babe, material things did matter. Single, no children, no debt, and a great job. I would buy and buy and buy. Looking back I see that I bought because I had so many voids to fill.

I believe as we age, many of us mature into ourselves. We begin to notice that these things cannot fix us. I am happy to say that I am there. I would not trade this “age” for anything. I have learned from my past where not to go. I have learned to ask that important question, “Why?” before I pull out that credit card.

Now here comes the tough part…now that we are both wiser how do we pass this along to our children. We teach them about voids early on and maybe, just maybe, they can spare themselves some grief.

Now, onto treating ourselves. I am a person that dearly loves photography. I thought long and hard before I made my last “hobby” investment. I feel no guilt whatsoever. You are into your health, your fitness, and your mental well being. A bike, might be what you need. Maybe not now…but when the urge strikes again remind yourself that you are worthy of many things.

(Just my thoughts)
.-= Cricket´s Last Fabulous Post ..Simple Things… =-.

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Jay Schryer June 18, 2009 at 8:43 am

What a great way to think about “stuff”! As a nearly fanatical declutterer, I really appreciate it when other people write about the wasted effort of using “stuff” to fill a hole in your spirit. So thanks for taking on the good fight!

Having said that, I feel compelled to address Stacy’s desire for an iPhone. About two years ago, I was in that same boat: My contract was up, I needed a new phone, and I really wanted an iPhone. I had other things I needed, too, though, which the iPhone addressed, such as a way to check my email on the go, a way to listen to music (I didn’t own an mp3 player), and a good set of maps to help me when I get lost (which happens often). OK, so I also wanted something to play games on. 🙂

The money I spent on my iPhone was by FAR the best financial decision I ever made. I have never regretted the choice. I LOVE my iPhone!

Sometimes, it pays to get what you really want…
.-= Jay Schryer´s Last Fabulous Post ..Mindful Meditation Monday – Wrap Up =-.

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Nelia June 18, 2009 at 9:30 am

I’ll admit it. I love to profile. Some of the profiling is healthy. Much of it ain’t. Thanks for providing these helpful questions, enabling me to be a bit more discerning between the two.
.-= Nelia´s Last Fabulous Post ..Is Your Relationship an Illusion? An Interview with Robert Scheinfeld =-.

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Jodi at Joy Discovered June 18, 2009 at 9:59 am

Hi Lance, great post. I really like the Nietzsche quote! With the economy such as it is, my family had to make some cutbacks this year. When I first learned of it, a little panic rushed through me but once I thought about it and made a plan of action, I felt better. I just determined that I would make all my purchases conscious ones. If we needed something or really and truly wanted something, I bought it; otherwise I walked away. In less than a week, my husband and I both felt so calm and so in control of our lives, really, like never before. In consuming less, we felt richer beyond our dreams. It was the coolest, most amazing feeling. I felt abundant like never before. Whereas before I wondered what I would do if I wasn’t running errands (and spending money), I ended up filling my time with reading, writing, reflection and meaningful projects. This was a major ‘shift’ for us; a life lesson I really love! Thanks for sharing your own experience! Good luck in your upcoming triathlons!
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s Last Fabulous Post ..Feeling Distant =-.

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suzen June 18, 2009 at 10:05 am

Wow Lance, I loved this! You have no idea how I tried to hammer the difference between wants and needs into my kids as they were growing up! So many people suffer from Wantitis and I think the ease of purchasing a la credit cards really contributed to the I want I want.

I had a very “poor” childhood – it morphed as I grew up and I came down with a good case of I-Wantitis – as if there would be a prize for the biggest collection of shoes/clothes or something and I SO wanted to win! Fortunately, somewhere along the path, I woke up, remembering that the stuff I had was NOT ME, just stuff, and it all required care, maintenance and insurance. Well, that did it! The big give-away! I feel so refreshed not to have all the stuff to worry about. My real needs are so basic I have a hard time making myself buy anything! Change of mind, change of behavior.

While I still subscribe to the eleventh commandment (Thou shalt not pay retail price!) I know that shopping is not the Sport I’d made of it! My old hat (love the metaphor btw) is on my old head and I’ve never been more content! Thanks for this fabulous post!
.-= suzen´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Blessing of Adversity? WHAT? =-.

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Srinivas Rao June 18, 2009 at 10:32 am

This is such a great post. I think we often forget that happiness is something that comes from within. I myself have been guilty of wanting things in a materialistic way. The one about dating a girl who’s hot because I think it would bring me some sort of satisfaction is the one that hit home for me. I’ve been searching for a job for about 3 mos and in my mind I’ve been telling myself, i’ll be even happier when I have a job, but I realize that even that will only be temporary.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s Last Fabulous Post ..Filter your reality through empowering beliefs =-.

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Vered - MomGrind June 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I used to be terrible at that, but I’m getting better at keeping my old hats, and even feeling happy with them. It takes willpower, though, and deep understanding into what motivates us to buy.
.-= Vered – MomGrind´s Last Fabulous Post ..Frosted Cupcakes =-.

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Lisa's Chaos June 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm

We all do that. 🙂 Seems I always keep the old when I get a “new”. I’m trying really hard at maintaining my level of clutter by resisting my wants and focusing on needs only. But you know how that goes. 🙂

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Nadia - Happy Lotus June 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Hi Lance,

When I was seventeen, I was at a party that was full of people who were very rich and very successful. It is a long story as to how I found myself at that party but I was there. I stood against the wall and overheard all kinds of conversations. The thing that struck me was that none of the people truly sounded happy. They bragged about their possessions and their salaries but it was so fake, it made me sick. I swore to myself that I would never become like that and ever since then, I do not like huge parties because they just depress me since everyone is trying so hard to be something they are not.

As a result of that experience, I learned that material items were just things that only held value if I gave them that power. I love to buy new things and books are my weakness along with skincare products, Starbucks, and music. However, I view them as fun and if I have the money to get them, great but if not, that is great too.

Apologies on the long comment but your lovely post reminded me of that party and I just felt compelled to share. Hope all is awesome, my awesome friend! 🙂
.-= Nadia – Happy Lotus´s Last Fabulous Post ..Dealing With The Lumps Under The Carpet =-.

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Liara Covert June 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm

You create energy and everything in your reality out of nothing
.-= Liara Covert´s Last Fabulous Post ..How dreams guide you to ESP =-.

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Lance June 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm

@Daphne – Hi Daphne. “Old Hat New Hat” is a great story! It’s not always about having something new. It’s really about appreciating what we already have. You are, and that’s awesome Daphne! And thank you, very much, for you wonderful and kind words…

@Davina – Hi Davina. That was me with bike #3. I wanted it! But then I told myself I’d take a day to think about it. And that’s when I really compared it to what I already have, and became completely okay with not having the “new”. The desire did go away. So, that’s a great point – time can be a great thing in this case. Here’s to clutter-free!

@Megan – Hi Megan. Yes, let’s just try to forget about the economy (if that’s possible)! Do you have to get married? Oh, that’s an interesting one Megan. I think that really depends upon why you’re getting married. While there can be something very bonding about marriage, and something sacred about what you’re agreeing to create – it doesn’t necessarily make it any more or less “real”. That’s what we do, every day, with our partner. And you don’t have to be married to make that great (or the opposite). So…while I certainly can’t answer for you – I think you listen to your heart…it knows. And thank you – for the good luck in the triathlons! They’ll be lots of fun!

@Cricket – Hey Tammy! Thank YOU!! Buying to fill our voids…well said. Age does bring a level of maturity (how high was that level on your birthday?!?!). Fixing comes from the inside out. These are fixes that are lasting. Teaching our kids these lessons…we can try, we can share our experiences, and then we have to let them go. Not easy, is it… And treating ourselves – great point. Sometimes we should do things that make us feel special, because we are! You’ve made a wonderful investment in your photography equipment. And yes, I’ll be reconsidering that bike down the road. And lastly, Tammy…your thoughts are ALWAYS welcome here. Always…

@Jay – That’s awesome, being free of clutter is a great way to really focus on what matters. And to the whole iPhone talk here…I have one too. And I very much enjoy it. While I don’t play games on it (my kids do, though) – it is such a great device for phone/email/Ipod/weather/twitter/maps/quotes/and much more. Stacey…it really is a great device (just like Jay has said). Hey this is quickly turning into a product review site (and a “how can I help Stacey spend her money” site)… Thanks much Jay…

@Nelia – Hi Nelia. Thanks for stopping in today! Wants and needs. Something definitely for all of us to think about. Good stuff!

@Jodi – Hi Jodi. Thanks so much for sharing your story here. What a great example of how cutting back can really be a positive! And have a calming effect. And I think you’re really hitting upon something that is so important – taking time do “meaningful” things in our lives, as opposed to what sometimes seems like just running around and not getting anywhere. I really appreciate you sharing this here Jodi. And thank you for the good luck wishes!!

@Suzen – Hi Suzen. Thank you!! Credit cards make buying easy. Too easy, if we’re not disciplined about it. And that’s an important lesson to pass on to our children, as well. And thank you for sharing the journey you’ve been on. That shift…from ‘I want’ to “I’m okay” is a big one – and I think that getting there really is an acceptance of who we are and where we’re at in our life. And hey – I like the 11th commandment! I think we subscribe to that one too! Thanks again, I really do appreciate you sharing all of this here.

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Cath Lawson June 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm

LOL Lance – I remember that book. I’m wondering if that is what makes me so cautious about buying stuff I don’t really need.

I always try to remember that any new purchase is just like buying a new car. For the first few weeks that car is the most amazing thing ever – but the novelty soon wears off. And for smaller purchases that initially buying excitment is even shorter.

I try to buy stuff that will last. I hate shopping, so it works out well for me to need to buy stuff less often.

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brandi June 18, 2009 at 9:04 pm

wow. this one hit home today. I rarely surrender to retail therapy (fortunately) but occasionally, I get an urge to medicate uncomfortable feelings with a trip to the store.

and then I look at the stuff and go, this does nothing. having meaningful things is important to me, but happiness has never been brought on by a shiny new toy.

what a powerful post!! love it. thank you.

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Lance June 18, 2009 at 9:14 pm

@Srinivas – Thank you! There’s this idea that sometimes pops into our brains…that we can buy happiness. It’s easy today, with all the marketing and advertising – to get pulled into that thought of “happiness can be bought”. Your job example is a great one – a new job, and some excitement to go with it, will likely bring some happiness and joy. But that will fade. And we’ll be back to where we were. Finding that happiness within…that’s always with us…

@Vered – Hi Vered. “what motivates us to buy.” – so true. If we can determine what the underlying reasons are for our purchasing habits, then we’re well on our way to working out any internal issues that might be contributing to this.

@Lisa’s Chaos – Hi Lisa. Ah yes, the “pack rat” syndrome. I’ve seen that around here too! I do know how that goes! Finding a way to purge, to get rid of that which is not providing some value to you – this can be a beneficial process (although not necessarily easy, that’s for sure!).

@Nadia – Hi Nadia. No worries on the length, this is all free form here, so have at it! This is so true, that some people use possessions as a symbol of their success and happiness. And what’s that saying if we have to have a symbol to “show off” our happiness? I think you’re exactly right, that it’s fake. These are people probably desparately seeking happiness, and this is one way to “try” and get it. We know, though, don’t we – that this kind of happiness isn’t deeply meaningful. And won’t last. So, Nadia, thank you for sharing this. For being so open about some of your past experiences. And – splurging sometimes on ourselves…this is good. Hey, I’ll join you for Starbucks sometime (and I’ll buy!).

@Liara – Hi Liara. Yes, we DO create our energy. What kind do we want – positive or negative?

@Cath – Hey Cath. So…maybe that book really stuck with you!! “The novelty wears off” – oh, such a great point. Yes, it sure does. And then what? Where does that leave us? Wanting more? Probably. And so begins a never-ending cycle. And real happiness is never found… Buying stuff to last (probably not at the grocery store?!?!) – another good point.

@Brandi – Hi Brandi. I like that – “medicate uncomfortable feelings with a trip to the store.”!! It sounds so therapeutic. Which, of course, is it, really? Maybe temporarily. Shoot, maybe there’s something therapeutic about just walking through the stores (although I don’t think I’ve experienced that yet!!). And that’s a great point too – things that are “meaningful”. That might mean bright, shiny, and new. And then again, that just might be the “old hat”. What’s important is that we understand the meaningfulness behind it (and I can tell you do…). Thanks for stopping by today…

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Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching June 18, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Thanks for this post. One practice I’ve gotten into is, when I want something, to really get an idea of what that sensation of wanting feels like — maybe it’s like a tightness in my shoulders or an emptiness in my stomach or something like that. When I get more familiar with what wanting feels like inside, it no longer seems so threatening and I don’t feel the need to make it go away by changing something in the world.
.-= Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching´s Last Fabulous Post ..10 Motivational Metal Masterpieces =-.

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Hilda June 19, 2009 at 4:59 am

Hi Lance,

I love this post, and also very much Jeanne’s comment “the best things in life are not things” – that was my Thought for the Week theme some months back 🙂

But I just had to tell you because it’s another synchronicity – I too am doing a huge multisport challenge in August, and it’s something I’ve never done before and am struggling to get in shape for. And the last few days the need to get a bike has been very much on my mind!!! But I do really need one, because I don’t have a bike at all, and it really is time to move on from the gym and get out there cycling up and down real hills! Your post has made me question though whether I really need a top of the range bike. ( I probably don’t ;-))
.-= Hilda´s Last Fabulous Post ..The A – Z of Happiness: C is for . . . =-.

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Lance June 19, 2009 at 7:20 am

@Chris Edgar – Hi Chris. This is great stuff – the idea of what the sensation feels like. It really seems like a great way to get attuned to “you” more in the whole process. Awesome!

@Hilda – Hi Hilda. Very awesome – your upcoming multisport challenge in August! Hilda, this is so cool! And yes, you DO need a bike!! What type of bike to get – I guess I would base that upon how much you see yourself using it. And I’d also find something you can try out – and find something that’s comfortable and feels good. You’re going to do great! I’ll be cheering you on (from afar!). And to your start, yes – Jeanne nailed it with that saying – “the best things iin life are not things”!

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Karl - Work Happy Now June 19, 2009 at 7:50 am

I just did this with a new pair of jeans. I thought I needed a new pair of jeans. Went out and bought them. Then I realized they weren’t as comfortable as my old pair. I switched back to my old pair. I figure I can get another year or two out of them.
.-= Karl – Work Happy Now´s Last Fabulous Post ..Motivated By Mistakes =-.

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Hilda June 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

That’s great advice Lance on how to choose my bike – thanks! Will definitely take it on board (I was focussing solely on this one event – which will be over in two months – doh!)
.-= Hilda´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Game of Life June 09 =-.

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Jennifer June 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Hi Lance. What a wonderful thought you presented here! We can so easily get mixed up as to what are really wants and what are needs. I would say here in the US that most of what we perceive as needs are actually wants. I love how you suggest to take it deeper and ask why we are wanting to purchase something. I love how you are getting us to be in tune with who we are and what’s really important instead of all those things we think we “need” that just leave us empty. Some of the happiest people I know don’t have all the “things” that so many others have. I have realized lately that I need to do an evaluation of all the things that I think I “need.” Thank you for helping to put this into an even clearer light. You have a great way of doing that!
.-= Jennifer´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Power of NO =-.

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Tabitha@ichoosebliss.net June 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Lance, again you’ve written with such beauty and clarity. I actually use to buy (over by food and toiletries) out of fear. I’m learning each day to be with “me”, be grateful for what I have and chase fear from my way of living.

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Hilary June 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Hi lance .. I have to say that I’m so lucky I don’t have that syndrome .. I just simply have never been an “I want it now person” .. nor do I crave the latest of everything .. yes dont’ we all like new stuff .. but I don’t go out purposefully getting it for the sake of it ..

we need to learn the values of our elders .. use, appreciate, utilise only what we need, love everythign it all has value – they learnt that over here in the war ..

Thanks you – great post
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

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Patricia June 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I have a bit different take, as usual lately!, and I love your hats example…very much.

My body has made huge and dynamic changes in shape over the past 5 years, while I have had not money to spend on anything. I inherited enough money to pay off our family medical debt and that freed up some spending money. We thought we had discussed and organized our thinking well enough and were able to get a few things we had never had – a non patched together office reject computer for a newer working model at home…a TV…and a new bicycle for my partner ( we documented this purchase on his blog bikingarchitect.com) We never had the habit of watching TV….so then I got a movie subscription for DVDs at home…so we would use our TV purchase…the new computer equipment will not work with our wireless router so we have to purchase one that will to use our work computers at home?… All the new things take more and more….
Are you competing against your self in the triathlons or hoping to be a leader in a group?

and I find myself so angry that I have to purchase new clothing and the new sizes cost so much more….and someone who designs clothing needs to design something that fits women who have had a surgical complete hysterectomy…cause we don’t come anywhere near fitting a “mold”…..I want to look comfortable and confident…
Then I have to endure all the comments, and looks and prejudices of people who judge me – like physicians….this makes me very uncomfortable…
gotta look back at your own values and your intentions in conveying those values…
I find myself repeating…Kind, beautiful, and comfortable….does it meet those criteria? before I update or get anything new for me
I surely do love my new walking shoes and I know my husband has already put 1000’s of miles on his new bike…and my Kindle, well I have no restraint for books and I have saved us lots and lots of $ with the Kindle and I do not have stacks and stacks of books all over the house….no dusting !!!!
hmm good thinking and writing here….I appreciate your post. Thank you
.-= Patricia´s Last Fabulous Post ..Thinking About My Dad =-.

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Marelisa June 19, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Hi Lance: I keep things until they’re almost begging to be thrown out, they’re so old and beat up. I think that you get used to your stuff and, in a way, your stuff gets used to you. There’s nothing like putting on those jeans that fit you perfectly and the cotton t-shirt that’s so comfortable . . .
.-= Marelisa´s Last Fabulous Post ..Free Ebook – “Step-by-Step Tutorial: Write, Publish and Market Your Ebook” =-.

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Amanda Linehan June 19, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Hi Lance – This is interesting timing for this post because I’ve been thinking about something similar in my own life. We are all attracted to the “packaging” of things. How great something seems on the outside, and that’s fine, because we all do it. But if we really want to love the things around us and connect to our selves and others we need to look at qualities past the packaging – that’s where the bond is. Awesome post! Thanks a lot.

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Lance June 20, 2009 at 6:04 am

@Karl – Hi Karl. When we buy “stuff”, we can then have that “buyer’s remorse” later on, where we start to think the purchase wasn’t worth it (what felt right at the store can quickly change). Good for you on sticking with what was good already…

@Hilda – Thanks for coming back! Good luck finding a bike that will give you many years of use.

@Jennifer – Hi Jennifer. Very true, we in the US have it pretty well off compared to some other places in the world. Getting in tune to who we really are..Jennifer – that’s it! Deep down, it’s not the things we have in our life that are going to make us deeply happy. It’s that connection within that will. And I think that it is so easy to let the “things” in our life clutter up not only our external world, but also have a lasting effect on our internal world as well – taking our time and attention away from those really connecting moments with ourselves. Thanks for being here Jennifer, your words always shine new light on the thoughts bouncing around in my head…

@Tabitha – Hi Tabitha. Good for you, getting to that state of gratefulness. What a wonderful place to be!

@Hilary – Hi Hilary. I think where you’re at reflects a deep connection from within. From not “needing” things to feel validated. And a great point you bring up – learning from our elders – is right on the mark. As we grow older, at least for me, this all becomes more clear for me. Learninig this lesson earlier on, we really give ourselves such a great opportunity to connect with ourselves earlier on – a path of real enlightenment…

@Patricia – Hi Patricia. That’s an excellent point, how when we get “things” in our life, they can require even more “things” to fully utilize them. And this can start to feel like a never-ending pit, sucking us in as we get more and more stuff to meet our so-called needs. On the other hand, when we find something that brings us much joy – it IS worth it (like the Kindle or the bike that you discuss). Me and the triathlons? I’ll be competing against myself (the competition is way better than I am! And trains much more than I do!). That’s an important part for me – getting out there, and doing this. In so competing, I gain more confidence in myself and what IS possible. Patricia, I wish you well. And know that not everyone does judge you. While none of us can completely get away from the judgment of others, that doesn’t mean there aren’t’ people in this world who care deeply, and aren’t here to judge. Thanks so much for your open-ness here.

@Marelisa – Hi Mare. I’m smiling. I can relate, I like to hold onto that shirt that feels just right, or that car that still drives like a champ. Sure, the “new” always looks good. But there is certainly something about that comfortableness of what’s been with us…

@Amanda – Hi Amanda. Ah, the packaging. Great point. Things ARE packages to sell. And pull us in. Yet, what’s there, really, when we peel back that packaging? Is it what we’re expecting? Or does it not fully live up to our expectations. Great thoughts Amanda – thank you!

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suddenly slimmer June 20, 2009 at 9:02 am

Hi Lance,
Your post is like a slap on my face. When I brokenhearted, sad or any negative feelings, I tend to buy new things either clothes or shoes or even just small things which I dont need. I’m very aware it’s only superficial. I would relate this post to a movie “In Her Shoes” she’s one succesful lawyer and she has all the beautiful shoes.
However,I haven’t overcome this going to shopping mall and look at those beautiful clothes still comfort me. The only thing which stop me is credit card bill.

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Liara Covert June 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

Happiness is always accessible within. One need not go on a quest outside the self. You always have it wherever you are.
.-= Liara Covert´s Last Fabulous Post ..10 points on power of choices =-.

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Tess The Bold Life June 20, 2009 at 9:19 am

Lance,
I didn’t know you were doing 2 tris! This is all so true and don’t you love positively presents honesty?

I love the simplicity of your family values. After the kids left home I had the opportunity to buy more things for myself and did. Now I’m into simplicity out of choice. I made a commitment not to buy more new clothes last October. Because I don’t need any!

I did buy new clothes for my birthday and bought a new suit for a special occasion. Did I need to? No. But hey progress not perfection, right? I do realize now how much shopping was recreation for me. Now I spend that time doing more creative things and spending more time in nature.

Being free from materialism is a wonderful choice that increases one’s power and happiness.

Today I declare it to be the new measure of success!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..I Got Inspired at Tybee Island =-.

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Robin Easton June 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

WOW!!! This is a brilliant post. Not only do you literally walk us through the very process many go through while shopping or wanting to shop but you express how we feel, what we go through, why we do it, what can drive us to do it, and so forth, BUT when you said:

“And if there’s no good reason other than you will superficially feel “good”, then it’s probably time to put that something down, and really spend some quality time with yourself. ”

My head spun because THIS is sooooooooooo powerfully true. This post goes much deeper than many may realize. We could look at it like this. We (as a species and particularly USA) have become so disconnected from our source, the things that really matter, the Earth, being alive, our fellow humans, love, the stars, the universe, the ASTOUNDING life that is happening around us everyday, life that we are so removed from, life that would nourish us beyond our wildest dreams if we only “…find it sometimes, buried amongst all the piles of other things that clutter our lives.”

This is such a powerful post because it speaks to a human condition/”dis-ease” that has become epidemic, one that is destroying our planet. One that is driven, frantic, obsessive, greedy, desperate, crawling, clinging, frantic consumerism. As you say it doesn’t mean we can’t have things or be happy, but we really need to PAUSE, BREATHE and take a serious look at why we are buying more and more AND how are we feeling inside when we do it.

A good thing to do is when we next feel this frantic need to get something, is to stop and exlpore the feeling, stop and ask ourselves what is it that I really want? What an I really feeling? Imagine that it’s weeks down the road and we have ALREADY bought the item; it’s home and we have used, worn or whatever. And now, are we happier? Is our life fuller, better for it?

Another face to this is that many have ended up in despair and ruin going into debt to have all the things you listed above. Some have even taken their lives as they become so overwhelmed with the rat-race of keeping up with their neighbors or peers that they end up in horrendous debt, more than they can climb out of. It is very tragic.

This post is loaded with insight and is something that we all really do need to SERIOUSLY look at. I know firsthand that my greatest joy, love, satisfaction, wonder, happiness is not found and never will be found in any store. I am so grateful for that. Weird to think that I lived years without buy things. All I had was me and mother nature and it was the happiest time of my life. :))

Thank you my dear precious friend.
You are a gift to the world and all of us.
Hugs,
Robin
.-= Robin Easton´s Last Fabulous Post ..Who Will Take the First Step? =-.

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Bunnygotblog June 21, 2009 at 1:47 am

Lance – this is a wonderful article!
At one time or another we have all been superficial. Maturity, changes that. Our values change towards materialistic things and we learn true value of appreciating what we have.
I drove my jeep for 10 years because I didn’t want to part with it. Sentimental reasons, it was a graduation gift from high school. It was a couple years old when I got it. I cried when I sold it.But – I had to replace the transmission 2 times.
I agree with J.D. although I have been athlete all my life – what I wear is not important. Shoes !
No, I don’t have 500 pairs, but there is an importance of a good running shoe when you are a runner. I hate to shop but sales are good.
Love this article !
Cheers
.-= Bunnygotblog´s Last Fabulous Post ..In My Father’s Arms – Happy Father’s Day =-.

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Barbara Swafford June 21, 2009 at 3:56 am

Hi Lance,

I was wondering if you would keep the old “hat” (bike).

I love the quote, “Possessions are usually diminished by possession.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

You know, that’s so true. So often we think the new “thing” will make us happy, but we soon find out it’s not the “thing” that will make us happy, we need to find that happiness inside of us.

With the economy the way it is, I’ve really stopped to ask myself if I really need what I think I do. More times than naught, it’s not that I need it, but I want it. And now, more times than naught, I don’t buy it. I’ve learned to “go shopping” in my own closet or cupboards. Oh how I wish I had learned this years ago.
.-= Barbara Swafford´s Last Fabulous Post ..When The Conversation Moves Off Of Your Blog =-.

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Debbie June 21, 2009 at 11:41 am

Lance,

You touch my deepest desires, needs, and thoughts. It seems whatever I am struggling with shows up on your blog!! Eerie…a little. Comforting…a lot. I, too, am training to do a few events over the summer. One, a dualthelon; my first; one 30 mile ride; one of many!! I want a new bike so very badly; have shopped at my favorite bike shop, Pro Pedals, in Hammonton, NJ. I’ve been fitted, bought the new cycling shoes, picked out the bike…after trying many. Now I struggle with the purchase, the expense; the frivilous purchase, which is enormous to me. The bike, a Cannondale Synapse, is beautiful, will increase my performance, improve my ride, increase my speed…yet, I deliberate the purchase! I ride my old bike, which is still OK, yet lacks the new technology, and most of all lacks the $1700 price tag. It works though, and I consider buying new cycling gloves and maybe a new water bottle instead. HaaHaa! I know my new bike purchase would contribute to the ecomony…my heart says BUY, BUY!! Yet I am holding off…..

Thank you for this! Good luck in your competitions! It’s the joy of the finish!

Debbie

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Lance June 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm

@Suddenly Slimmer – Hi Alia. This is not meant to be a slap in your face. Maybe something to think about the next time you’re out there, getting ready to buy something. Maybe just ask yourself…if you really are going to get some long-term joy from this. Maybe you will…and that’s good. But if you won’t, maybe it’s worth re-thinking the purchase… You are doing well, my friend. And you are much more than beautiful clothes. In fact, you are beautiful at your core, and that’s what really counts…

@Liara – Hi Liara. That’s exactly it. Happpiness is there, within. Finding that, and really seeing it – this can be a very enlightening moment – as we experience that deeper joy…

@Tess – Hi Tess. I just signed up for the second triathlon this past week. And to what Dani (Positively Present) is saying – yes, the honesty she shares is so appreciated. Honesty like this makes it easier for others to do the same…to really look at themselves honestly. And that’s the real beauty in her comment. Thanks for noticing this! Simplicity by choice – I love that! We all have a choice, that’s something to remember. Always. And I love your new measure of success…being free of materialism. And this doesn’t mean we can’t buy “things”. It really means, to me, that we’re not buying just for the sake of buying.

@Robin Easton – Hi Robin. Thank you, so much, for this comment. You are seeing this at a deeper level, a level I plan to explore further. And exactly the direction I wanted this post to go in. We want…to meet the needs we refuse to listen to in our hearts. And so we end up doing this through “things”. But these “things” don’t bring us that true happiness. They don’t connect at our core. It’s about relationships. With Source. With ourselves. With others. This will lead us toward a much more fulfilling joy in our lives. One that isn’t based upon our current paycheck, or what’s in our garage, or the name on the back of our jeans. And the point you bring up about stopping to explore our feelings – I think this is another place we as a consumer-driven society fall woefully short. In this stopping. In this really listening to ourselves – we can gain so much clarity into “us”. And yet, we don’t. We rush off to the next “whatever”. Buy more “things” to temporarily give our egos a boost. And the spiral continues…out of control. Robin, I find so much inspiration from you, from how you really and truly live your life. I am so appreciative of this comment you’ve written, and the insight you continue to provide to me. Thank you, my friend. Indeed, it is YOU who is a gift to our world…and to my life.

@Bunny – Hi Bunny. Yes, you’re right, maturity can help us to see this more clearly. Although…it’s not a given. Moving away from being materialistic really is stepping toward a more true joy in our lives. And I agree on the running shoes. I’m a runner too (although not very fast!) – and having a good pair of shoes is important. Thanks for being here today!

@Barbara – Hi Barbara. Yep…I kept the old one (it really is a great bike!). Happiness inside…that’s where it’s at – the real happiness. And thanks for sharing about how the economy has been a blessing in your life, Barbara. Oftentimes, we have all we need (and really want) right in our own house.

@Debbie – Hi Debbie. Ha! That is a bit eerie!! And to add to the errieness – bike #3 that I really liked was a Cannondale Synapse! How’s that for coincidence? Whatever you do with the bike, if you listen to your heart, you’ll be making the right choice. For me, the bike I have is already light and fast (just not new). And I’m looking at getting new pedals and shoes, which will help. Good luck to you in all your upcoming events! Very cool – I think this is awesome what you’ll be doing over the summer!! And thank you for your well wishes…it is about finishing, yes! What an exciting feeling to cross that finish line!!

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Maggi June 22, 2009 at 11:00 am

An excellent post, Lance, and I love the quote from Nietsche.

I am saddened by this materialistic world where so many people have been persuaded to believe that they must have this or that latest gadget or designer article that such and such a celebrity is wearing. These are usually the people who don’t see any reason to just ‘stop and smell the roses’ occasionally, or any possible benefit in doing so. I return to this theme periodically in my blog in the hope that something that’s said may rub off on somebody, somewhere. Maybe the current economic woes will make more people step back and question their values, and take time to get re-connected to themselves.

I’m not materialistic, so my more expensive purchases are always justifiable: Rayban sunglasses for the high quality lenses (I have very sensitive eyes) rather than the name, for example. And every time I think about clothes I realise I have more than enough in my wardrobe already; they’re comfortable and they suit me – just like the old hat. I also take care of my stuff, so those expensive Raybans work out cheap over several years.

You hit a slight nerve with the digital camera reference – I bought a very expensive one a few years ago, just released and very high spec. I had to sell all my old non-digital kit to buy it and at first it did seem like a superficial impulse buy (I held it, played with it and knew I just had to have it). But as I’ve used it more it has become a justifiable purchase, and even though it’s now been superceded several times specification-wise there’s no way I’m changing it.

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Sara June 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Lance,

I’m so impressed that you’ll be competing in TWO triathlons!!! Good luck with both.

I loved this post and how you used the Berenstain story to talk about how new isn’t always better. I agree that we believe that “things” will make us happier and that this feeling doesn’t usually last. You given me something to think about because I’ve been really wanting a new fancier camera, yet my old Sony is a really good friend….maybe I need to “Get away and get connected. To “ME”. Thanks for this post:~)
.-= Sara´s Last Fabulous Post ..Story Photo Challenge: Who’s Behind the Door =-.

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Jared June 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Happiness is often equal to the amount of gratitude I have, at any given time, that my needs are being met; while emptiness being equal to the degree in which I have confused my wants with my needs.
.-= Jared´s Last Fabulous Post ..Update 06-10-09 =-.

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Lance June 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm

@Maggi – Hi Maggi. I’ll start with the digital camera. You bring up a great point. And that is – what to one person can be an extravagance, to another it’s soul-connecting. For me, I have a really nice point-and-shoot digital camera. And I don’t use half of what it can do. So, anything new would not really gain me much at all – it would just be shinier. For you, that same idea of a camera is much more connecting, I feel. And so I believe that makes the camera all worth it for you. And that’s just such an important point. We’re not all the same – so just because I have something, or you have something – doesn’t mean the other of us should too. Thank you, Maggi, for spurring this thought on. To your point of the economy – I know it was mentioned up above how someone has, because of the economy, cut back. And how that has been so good for them at really gaining a new perspective. So, thanks for sharing this all here. I appreciate it very much!

@Sara – Hi Sara! Thanks so much on the good luck wishes. I think I’m ready!! Reading that book as a kid…the lesson didn’t quite sink in the same way as it is now. Sometimes…those children’s book are full of wisdom… I believe you’re thinking about just what you should be – in getting connected with yourself, the answer will come. And whatever you do, if you’re listening to your heart, it’s the right answer…

@Jared – Hi Jared. Gratitude…so important. Thanks for bringing this up. When were truly grateful for what we have now – there is much joy in our soul. And we realize how much our needs are already being met, and that the joy comes from within, anyway. Thanks much for sharing this!

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Kennewick Colleen June 26, 2009 at 7:56 am

Funny how guys are with their hats. My husband holds onto hats like he does his tee-shirts. He’ll get rid of them only when they are falling off his back! 🙂

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Lance June 27, 2009 at 6:01 am

Hi Colleen. Ha! Yes, there’s something about that beat up old t-shirt that just feels right (even if it start to not look “right”!)…

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