I managed to screw up my banking this week which left me unable to access any money whatsoever. I had to have a round up of all the loose change in the house just to go out food shopping. It was tough working out how to feed and transport myself all week on a handful of cash and in some places I failed miserably - how do people strapped for cash buy rounds of drinks or manage to be sensible in health food shops? It dominated all my activities - no treats and everything had to be planned.
It was sobering and a wee bit miserable and made me realise that what I do seems to be what I can afford to do - it's made me realise I have a lifestyle!
This is a bad thing because it means that making an ordinary cup of instant coffee from the office kettle makes me a different person to the one that buys an expensive cappucino on the way. My imagining of myself and who I might be is subtly connected to the social meaning of the things I can buy. Living in a tribe probably isn't any less of a lifestyle but perhaps more of the defining objects are free!
I think the fact that luxuries make us happy is inbuilt in that chimps will seek social status. It's survival. So 'lifestyles' are really all about how we think we measure up and that's all about fear. It's scary stuff because the meanings in all this are constructed. Somone somewhere knows this, and they've got us by the balls.
My budget adventure has made me appreciate the things i've had and made me wonder - why is it that, if all the good things in life are free, I'm not doing more of them.
2 hours ago