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I had a very brief guest spot on the Good morning Wales show on BBC Radio Wales this weekend. Not really something to talk about in itself, but I was invited to comment on an article featured in this weeks UK Telegraph Newspaper. It would seem that the UK is one of the least materialistic in the world. (The article is here, should you wish to read it for yourselves.) Only 16% of people would measure success by their possessions. My opposite in this discussion was really quite surprised by this number and suggested that it would be higher. Not too surprising given her involvement in all things material. Again not too surprising. So where was the surprise ? – It was that her description of stuff, was actually not only of material possessions, but of experiences too, and that there was no divide between them. She saw an expectation not only to have material things, but to have expensive holidays, large parties with many guests, and those experiences that can be boasted about and used to draw comparisons between the haves and the have-nots. It triggered a memory of some years back and when my children were small. When it came to birthday parties for the children, there was almost an invisible desire to go one better than the previous party. A bigger venue, more expensive gifts in party bags, clowns, magicians, and more. It seems as if materialism, is spreading to experiences. The wrong experiences, and I couldn’t help feeling as I did then. When the experience was over, it left a bitter aftertaste, and that whilst it may make the party boy or girl feel momentarily good. When its all over, all they have to look forward to is the party of another, just a bit bigger, in a new venue, with a more expensive champagne. Just another way to compare yourself to others in that painful spiral of despair.
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