On the Illusion of Scarcity.

One of the things I want to deal with this year is the illusion of scarcity that I have somehow instilled in my mind.

I’m not made of money, but I’m not poor either. True, I’ve been better off financially, but I’ve been much worse. And it is perhaps that ‘worse’ that I’m clinging to, that doesn’t let me go.

skin care

But if I really had little, would I ‘challenge’ myself to #100empties? Would I get rid of a tonne of products I never got around to using? Would I own six domain names? Would I have a library full of books?

scarves

A ball of scarves?

nail polishes

A drawer of nail polishes?

vanity

A vanity full of jewellery and cosmetics?

I’ve got enough soap to last me a decade, and enough books to last me two lifetimes – ten lifetimes if I include the electronic ones, and they should very well be counted. I don’t need to look up another film in at least a year, and I don’t need to shop for food for a month. I’m not sure I’ll ever go through all the lipsticks that I own, and half of my clothes would probably be destroyed by dust, mould, and moth before I get to wearing them all at least five times.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging. I’m not. There’s no shame in owning the things that you like and even basking in the delusive glory of it all, but there is certainly shame in excess.

Especially if that excess is continuously seen as scarcity.

And yet in some areas I’ve been pretty much scarce.

I’ve been skipping on experiences, no matter how little. I’ve avoided buying some necessities because I’ve been attracted to a new lipstick collection. I haven’t visited a friend in another country because I couldn’t save enough for a trip in the last ten years. I’ve skipped on giving a coat of fresh paint to the kitchen because I, supposedly, do not have the money.

Probably because I’ve spent it on yet another five books I never get around to reading, because I have no time.

‘No time’ is yet another excuse I started applying to basically everything. No time to read, no time to run. No time to clean the flat properly, no time to brush cats. No time to learn a language, no time to visit that place I’ve been meaning to for a couple of years now. No time to call my aunt, no time to do anything of significance.

I’m pretty sure that the adage of life-sucking Pinterests, Tumblrs, and repetitive time management articles on repetitive self-development blogs is not new to anybody.

Below are a few ‘tactics’ I’ll apply in order to kick the illusion of scarcity out of my head.

Appreciate what I have

There is a tonne of things, both superficial and less so, that I want to have, but I need to appreciate my current possessions stronger. I own a huge property and live alone, while most of my acquaintances either dream of becoming buyers or want to upgrade to something bigger. I have seven cats, while someone can’t have a single one because of allergies. I have a job, while half the globe is destitute.

Remember the past

Don’t dwell on it, no. But put things in perspective. Where I’ve been a year ago differs from where I am now. Some of us may have regressed and some of us found ourselves in a situation that’s more dire than it was. But even during that it’s important to take an account of personal progress.

Think about the future

Without getting lost in the world of empty fantasies and countless worries. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Accumulate savings without naming them – no ‘rainy day’ funds. Work on improving current situation without fixating on it. Maintain flexibility.

Focus on the present

Make a conscious decision to live in the moment. I get caught up in my plans, worries, and dreams very easily, which makes it hard to enjoy the present day. It’s important to make my current life as good as I want my future life to be.

If all else fails, make lists

Make a list of things I have.

While I mean both ‘big’ things and non-material aspects as well, for the sake of this post I’m going to tune it down to several categories only. My list of abundance is as follows:

  • foot creams – I have enough to last me two years;
  • eye shadows and lipsticks – it will hardly stop me from wanting more, but if we go by the approximate calculation of one lipstick lasting through 3 months of regular use, then I have enough for… 8-9 years? Eye shadow is about the same, I figure;
  • nail polish – let’s say I have enough for a manicure salon;
  • shower gels – enough for a year, if I use them as liquid soap as well;
  • soap – I’m not really sure how many pieces I have, but I think it’s about 50 at least;
  • food – there’s enough grains and preserves to last me for at least three weeks. I should probably do one of those ‘eating down the pantry’ challenges;
  • books – I literally have a library at home. Four walls minus window and doors lined with books, floor to ceiling. Add to that another two walls in other rooms;
  • film – about 50 off the top of my head;
  • music – not sure I heard every single song in my collection. Not even including father’s one into that;
  • mugs – it’s safe to say that I have about a hundred.
Make a detailed list of all things I want, and methodically begin working through it.

I’d rather leave this one private for now.

Make a list of things I can do to improve my current situation and enjoy the present more.
  • buy coffee beans that are just a touch more expensive than your usual fare, but drink less coffee;
  • stop buying a cup of coffee on my way to work, brew it at home;
  • invest in better skincare and better quality shoes and clothes;
  • have fresh flowers. Even if it’s a flower;
  • slowly acquire ‘grown-up’ jewellery instead of costume jewellery;
  • visit relatives and friends that live in other countries;
  • declutter. I own more than I need.
Make a list of things I can do to achieve my goals faster.
  • practice that language 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening, every day;
  • put away the money I don’t spend on yet another nail polish towards my ‘renovate second bedroom’ fund;
  • rent out the decluttered and renovated rooms and put the money towards bigger goals;
  • talk to auntie and brother on my way home;
  • put yoga mat to use whilst listening to one of the many audio books I have;
  • spend time that I waste on repetitive self-improvement articles on making the flat orderly, writing blog posts, reading good books, and socialising with people I like.