Ruminate & Reflect: The Material Girl Problem


We each have different views on the holidays. For some, they see Christmas as a day of giving and taking. Christians often remind others of Jesus's birth during this time. Businesses take this chance to lure the market in the guise of discounts. Most take the time off to rest with their families or travel to new places. Personally, this season is a good time to look back. It's the perfect time to reflect on the year that passed by, or the life choices I made in general. Also, yes: an excuse to write a Ruminate & Reflect post.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of us seek retail therapy. Sometimes, stress or sadness leads us to the nearest store. After a certain span of time, we'd walk out with shopping bags and smiles. We temporarily drown out our worries with our new items until we remember what we're supposed to do. Then we go back to the first stage, despair, and repeat this cycle until our money runs out.

Christmas seems like the perfect season for that. I'm not to ignore that this is  when we buy gifts for others, and not for ourselves. But hey, admit it, we also buy Christmas gifts for ourselves. I'm not chastising you on that, though. I do that too. I can't blame you... If you get your 13th (14th, even) month pay, you deserve to treat yourself after crawling out of the year! But I'm derailing myself from my main point here...

If I look at shopping long term, I realized how much I take.

As a young girl, I loved reading. My bookshelves--I got more than one, yeah--holds a diverse collection of genres. As a kid, I got informational books about history and geography. Around high school, I went for classics and fiction series. Of course, there are college textbooks and required readings. Then I got more practical stuff as I got older, like books about people skills or the acting business. How am I to forget books related to my work? So, my bookshelves didn't just reflect my love for reading...

My closet shares a similar situation with my bookshelves. (And this time, I only have one closet!) Fashion wise, I'm your average Jane. My college / work outfit just consists of shirt, jeans, and flats. I collected graphic shirts since my teenage years, because they were comfortable and artistic. Did it fit me? Does it look cool? As long as both answers are "yes", then I added them to my closet.

I just kept adding stuff when I was younger. And when I entered my 20's, I realized... do I really need all of these?

Life changes lessened the value of a lot of items. First, I do not have time to read the books I bought. I can't commit to a book series like I used to do so. (Except for you, A Song of Ice and Fire... I'll try to finish before Game of Thrones season 7 starts.) Then, I lost weight and changed my fashion sense. I still wear the classic combo of shirt-jeans-flats. However, I played around more with what looked good on me. I had to go beyond long shirts.

And this time, I looked at my things and sighed. I take a lot more than I give, I thought. I need to get rid of the filler for the more useful stuff. In 2016, I learned one of my worst flaws: my hoarding problem. Not only did it give me distractions, but also it enlightened me on how much I wasted money through the years. If I could turn back time and un-buy the ones I don't like anymore, I would. Sadly, nobody invented a high-tech time machine that could help me like that.

So in 2017, I thought of ways to solve this problem. Word of warning: these are no brainers. But I'll keep it simple and elaborate:

  1. Sell the items. I'm thankful for the Internet. Anyone can sell their old items (in good condition) to other people who may need it! There are a lot of sites online catering to second hand items like Carousell, OLX, and some Facebook groups. And just last month, I sold my Canon dSLR camera to a couple I met on Facebook. Not only did I get rid of extra stuff, but also did I earn money from doing so!
  2. Recycle the items. When we think of "recycle", we think of printed papers used as scratch. Recycling, in this context, goes beyond that. Clothes I wore out of the house as a teen became clothes I wore in the house. Loose socks were my comfort when sleeping in cold nights. My general rule: if it still fits and can be worn inside the house, use it for the house.
  3. Give the items. Sometimes, not all buyers respond or all items can be reused. So what's left to do is not to throw them away, but give them to someone else for free. Whether it's someone in need or a friend we trust, give them something valuable without anything in return. Donate goods to charity, or give old stuff to people going on charity missions. You hit two birds with one stone if you get rid of excess and share your blessings.

I'm thinking of making a detox blog series. As of now, I'm not sure how frequent I'll post about it. But I'll update my progress next year again. Should I make this my Christmas special? After all, Christmas is the season of giving.

Anyways, I hope you give and share blessings and love this holiday season. Set aside differences and think of the good in each and everyone. And better yet, don't just do that during Christmas. Think of the best in everyone everyday.

(For the record: no, I'm obviously not giving up entirely on shopping. I'm just gonna make some space for the more useful items.)

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!