Black Friday has come and gone once again and like last year, I avoided it. At least the commercial part of it, the insane sales, the advertised pressure to buy buy buy. Not that I don’t enjoy shopping on occasion, and not that I don’t wish to purchase gifts for friends and family alike at the best possible price, it is simply that I don’t place it very high on my list of values. It is something that over time I have learned is more of a drain of values than anything useful to bolster them. As such, rather than succumbing to the innate desire to gather resources this Black Friday, I’ve been working to ignore it. And I’ve felt strengthened through that resolve.
It is tough in this modern society. We are constantly assaulted with ads, images, suggestions, all to pull us towards this idea that we can’t be whole unless we grab more, buy more, succumb more to this idea that we’ve created. It has gotten so bad that many of us have created a game of it, forgoing Thanksgiving, a holiday about giving thanks, about spending time with family and friends, in order to beat the competition to getting the (perceived) best deals. And sure, why not? We’re hunters. And we’re resource gatherers. But are these the resources that add value to our existence, or is it just stuff?
Unfortunately, most of what we see advertised to us can truly be regulated to stuff. There’s a fine line between what we need and what we want, and we often confuse the two. I know that for many years I struggled to understand the difference. Everything that I wanted I thought that I needed. I paid dearly for that too. Because along with the pressure to buy, we have the pressure to accumulate debt. Or maybe it’s not so much pressure to accumulate debt, it’s that debt is so easily gotten, making the idea of exchange of it for those things that we desire much easier to swallow.
We need to begin to question if those items we are eager to own will bring value to our life. Is the debt we are putting on ourselves worth the addition of that material thing to our lives? Will that item add to our personal growth, our value, our friendships?
Or are we sacrificing our very being to fatten someone else’s coffers?