[Moving Zeal] Nirvana of Materialism

“If you don’t go to the store all the time, and you don’t look around that much, you won’t buy anything that you don’t need.[1]” What’s the balance between buying the things you need versus merely wanted things? Should we be as minimalist as possible, or can we indulge in collecting certain things? My biggest current/future consideration is: how important are those wants for you and how much room do you have for those items?

My problem is: I collect too much.

I enjoy the experience of interacting with many different things, so my materialism kicked in fiercely over the years and I ended up with too many things with no place for them. Stuff would get stuffed away, shuffled under, lost, and forgotten. If one central tenant of owning something is to respect it, I barely practiced that.

Part of that is inherent vice.

Any object will inherently decrease in value. Whether through market value, personal value, use, or its own self-destruction to phrase it dramatically, there’s a point when the paper fades, the disc rots, and the liquid cakes. We should use and enjoy what we have in the moment it is most useful and enjoyable. Once it’s past its peak, we should then donate or sell the object.

In a way, Nirvana taught me to improvise the object’s value.

The iconography behind grunge imagery is that the object’s value is derived not from its pristine completeness but from its rugged usefulness. An object roughed and tattered is better than an object weakened at first glance. Perhaps that’s too broad. Still, it’s my interpretation of how character is built.

Maybe that’s why I like damaged characters?

My plastic water bottle has a paint contact mark. I must have dinged a white wall at some point. It doesn’t affect its water carrying qualities and adds character to its exterior. It’s a one-of-a-kind object. Though its something I once walked into a store to buy, it was over the course of a few days of occasional meditation based on a recommendation that I decided I needed it.

I used to be after objects like that water bottle.

I’d become obsessed with any object that could tell me a story, even if that story didn’t pertain much to me, and didn’t give me value in any meaningful way. Now that I’m consolidating, donating, and selling most of my stuff, it’s time for a change. I’ve stopped going to thrift stores for the hunt and thrill of randomly buying anything.

I’m more focused.

I value my collection of Nirvana memorabilia not because I want to have objects to sell for a profit or to brag about. It’s because I need to have hobbies of materialism. Objects make me happy. I could digitally own everything but that makes the item less tangible, both literally in that I’m not holding the unique vessel of the MP3, and figuratively in that it’s nothing special.

To make my collections more valuable, I have to value less.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Buying a random Nirvana book
Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
Photo: Reading an In Utero analysis book while waiting for traffic to subside. I didn’t take a photograph of the hotel room where I wrote this essay with the book and water bottle, but this is close enough, I suppose.
Written On: September 28th [30 minutes]
Last Edited: October 17th [10 minutes] – I use an in-browser grammar editor, which caught 6 grammar mistakes, but I’m leaving them in because omitting certain articles were intentional. That, I suppose, is another aspect of collecting well-edited essays here…
My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)