One year ago, I finally won my battle against materialism.
Prior to this well-fought victory, following a few successful years in business, I had become someone that I never thought I would ever become - and someone that I wished I would never become; a greedy and selfish, materialistic and egotistical individual.
Money does not grow on trees, but if it did, I would only hope that the monkeys and the birds of the animal kingdom reached it before we, the human beings, did. Let's face it, a disturbing number of humans are incapable of getting out of bed in the morning, let alone having the responsibility of managing a fat purse pressed upon them. Due to immaturity in spending and inexperience with the rule of money, if each of us were the keeper of our own personal money tree, the world as we know it would be no more - it would swiftly collapse and come crashing down. Those who don't have, or have had little access to money in the past, may find it easy to visualise a life with financial affluence, but what these same people - possibly yourself include? - fail to see is how well or how poorly they may cope when all of the money they have disappears - and their money tree, despite its fictional element, stops blooming with Benjamin's.
Money can make good of a man but money can also blind a man. When one acquires an abundance of financial riches, one must prepare themselves for both the good and the evil that money can deliver; to the individual and the world that governs him. Mentally training oneself for the possibility of that in which one has built (the business), in that in which one has accumulated (the money) and that in which one has acquired as a result of that accumulation of money (the material possessions) to exit one's life as quickly as they entered one's life. Whilst this meditative practice may be far from pleasant to partake in, it is indeed a crucial one for long-term contentment of one's self - not to mention the positive effects that such a practice can have on maintaining the plumpness (healthy financial management) in the purse in which one carries.
Shortly after my business folded - which was a result of a long line of poor decisions, overspending (in both my personal and business life), as well as my overall lack of maturity and experience in the unrelenting world of business - I was driven to make one of the more important decisions of my life: aim to rekindle the business that had recently burnt to a crisp, or to take a different direction and walk on a new path in life - a path which would pave the way to a lifestyle of simplicity; one which would demand less of me yet provide me with so much more.
Unaware at the time, the new path in life in which I was on the cusp of walking on would soon provide me with tremendous peace of mind, stillness, and silence of being - supporting me in avoiding the common traps of life in which so many people self-willingly permit themselves to be governed by; social status, cultural pressures, and abiding by the status quo.
In the end, after much contemplation and self-examination, despite my final decision appearing weak and cowardly to those around me, I began tying my shoelaces in preparation for walking on the new and unfamiliar path of the unknown as an individual.
Without further thought, I began selling and donating the mass majority of items (physical possessions) that owned me: the designer clothes, the fancy watches, all of the technology gadgets, as well as giving up the keys to the top-floor apartment (which was fit for a family of six) that I resided in - and lastly, watched my once-upon-a-time dream car, the BMW i8, get towed away on a truck by a repossession company. It was a beautiful sight to see.
From this moment on, after ridding myself of all of the non-essentials that my life was once so heavily weighed down by, the internal hollowness I was so longly feeling vanished - and a contented bubble of purity inside me took its place. It was almost if to say, if I can be so daring to do so, that I was reborn and giving, by whom I am unsure, a rarest opportunity to restart my life.
Whenever I bump into somebody that I haven't seen or spoken to in a while, the common question in which they pose usually relates to the car I previously had: "How's the i8 going, Chris?" And following me answering them with the truth, they often respond glumly, in a low and slow tone of voice, dropping their heads almost as if to say they feel sorry for me: "Oh, I'm sorry to hear about that, Chris." Don’t be sorry, because as of now, just one year later, owning as little as 15 items to my name, I am the happiest I have ever been. As content as I am, the word itself does not do any justice for how I truly feel at the base and deeper levels of my being - I am at peace.
Money can buy you a dream car, a big house, a butler and a wardrobe of expensive clothes, but it will not be able to buy happiness. Money can't buy peace.
I wish that more people would go out and make a financial fortune so they can buy everything their heart desires only to then realise that money, and all of the material objects it has the power of buying is not the answer.
And look, I’m not saying I know what the answer to what life is, but I know one thing; I’m living a happy life. And to me, that’s worth more than any amount of money in the world.
The fight with materialism was far from easy, but the victory continues to prove ever sweet.
Thanks for reading.