Luxury the Ultimate Drug
Everyone always talk about drugs, alcohol and its addictive effects, but today we are living in an age where people crave luxury so much that I believe has become an addiction. I have personally felt the high that you get when you get that luxury car, piece of clothing or fancy dinner, but as with any other drug this high does not last very long and then you end up wanting more and more (crashing as they call it with other drugs). I’m a huge proponent of living within your means and enjoying everything you can afford, so if buying the brand new Lexus you want does not change your lifestyle, it does not affect your retirement/savings/emergency fund accounts by any means go out and get the new shiny set of wheels if it truly makes you happy. The problem is that the vast majority of people get in huge debt to get the luxury items they can’t afford. I’ve been a victim of it, I know first hand what it is to pay a car loan while working at a job I hated, if I could do it all again I will ditch the car, new expensive TV, etc and save all of that money instead to be spend in experiences I enjoy or to be able to retire earlier.
For me life is a balance, so I believe you have to enjoy your life everyday. This might include indulging in luxury things that make you feel great every now and then, but we should not be searching for this luxurious lifestyle that the media is trying to sell us at all times. We have to try to enjoy the simple moments in life so when luxury times come by we can truly enjoy them even more, but be fully aware that they are simple experiences that come and go. Try not get used to this feeling so you end up craving more of it. Once you are aware of this, it becomes much easier to spot every time you indulge into luxury and start craving its pleasantness.
Say for example that because of work you have to take clients out to dine at fancy restaurants all the time, keep in mind the company is paying for these expensive restaurants. You are in your fancy suit having a great time with the people you bring in, you enjoy this so much that you start taking your wife regularly to the same restaurants but now at your own expense. After a while you will become so used to the high end restaurants that you no longer see anything special about them and they become “normal” to you. This happens many times in many different situations for many people, it might be with cars, clothes, accessories, real estate, travel, dinner etc.
People with average incomes get into debt to seek all of the luxuries they think makes them happy and once they become accustomed to them its hard to let them go. At the same time feeling trapped at a job they dislike with no time to spend on the things they enjoy because they have to keep up with the bills.
The biggest problem of this epidemic is the fact that our society has put so much emphasis into this elusive lifestyle that people believe that the more luxuries you have the happier you’ll be. Because of this, feelings of envy and jealousy dictates the lives of many, wishing they could have all those luxuries from other people or the stores at the mall. At this moment is when people start to day-dream about having “one-day” all of the fancy items they wish they could buy and stop living in the moment.
We need to enjoy everything we have and every moment of this precious life. Let’s not focus so much on material luxuries and be content with what we luckily have and the good memories that our friends and family gives us. I’m sure you probably know of someone who hates their job, and complains everyday of not having enough time for their friends and family yet they are not able to give up the fancy car or the big house.
I still enjoy some luxuries every now and then, I’m not going to say that having the fancy cocktail and dinner at a nice rooftop bar does not make me happy, but I acknowledge these moments as unique experiences and now I’m able to enjoy them even more. When you make this activities your “normal” routine you no longer see anything special about them and the level of happiness they bring to you is very minimal.
Our consumerist society is on a race to see who buys the biggest house, the most expensive car,etc giving up the truly long-lasting experiences and relationships that are the things that bring true happiness to most of us.
How about if from now on we start craving more:
Time with Friends and Family
Leisure time doing the things we enjoy
Traveling and seeing the places you always wanted to see.
Instead of craving for
Luxury items that do not make you happy in the long-run
Status symbols to show people what you can buy.
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Photo of Louis Vuitton Store Singapore Marina Bay