When is much too much?

I recently reviewed my wardrobe. Yes, I can afford to do this after creating margin in my previously hectic life and lifestyle.

Creating margin means pushing boundaries to prioritise things that matter to you. For many people, such would be family, friends, religion, health, in essence, all those things we tend to ignore in life yet matter to us so much.

The in-depth audit of my closet revealed very telling statistics.  Out of the many self-introspecting findings, I will share the one that hit me most – ninety per cent of my trousers were of one dark shade or the other.

There were no more than three colours for my trousers – black, blue, and grey.  What a shame that in this God-given universe, with its plethora of beauty, my choice of colours is so narrow, shallow, even dull.

I turned my focus to the shirts, and I did not do any better.  Here there was a predominant colour – blue.  Ok, there were small variations, sky blue, navy blue, baby blue, royal blue,  Suffice it to say there was one colour that rules in this neck of the woods.

Now, it is a fact that I have made very concerted efforts to build variety into my fashion range.  How it happens that I end up with the dark trousers and blue shirts I am yet to understand.

The next bit of my analytical effort was the more worrying one though.  I realised that over the past year I had only worn less than half the clothes in the wardrobe.  So there is this go-to combination of trousers and shirts I seem to have on my favourites list. The chances are high that if the balance of clothes had a say in my choices, they would rally to form a union to protest the unfair treatment, favouritism, colour blindness etc. 

I determined that I would deal with the first statistic.  I passed my first wardrobe rule – “I will give away all clothes that I have not worn in over 12 months to those who need them more than I do”.

Through our lifetime, we spend time amassing different things.  The marketers have unleashed the most colourful advertisements to attract us to their latest offerings – energy efficient, driverless cars; summer, winter, spring, clothes collections; latest technology handsfree gadgets, and so on. 

We walk into a shop or mall, and if we are lucky to make it past the salesperson putting in a pitch for his product or service, the displayed items reach out to us – “come and try me, please, please, please do”.

We give in, casting away any objectivity, any better sense of judgement, sigh with relief and murmur under our breath, “this is the last time I will do this.  I will try only this one and then stop.  Wekulo, can you behave yourself and stick to your budget?”.

And so yet another grey trouser and baby blue shirt combination joins the already big family.

The bigger question, however, is, “when is much too much?”

We spend long hours in the office working to achieve our personal or organisation’s goals.  All these we do so that we get that bonus, have that fat bank account, own yet another tasty piece of real estate, travel and visit yet another continent and tick it off our bucket list.

After we have done all these the question lingers, “when is much too much?”.

It is true that without a clear purpose, we cannot determine how much is enough.  We could blame our behaviour on all manner of things – peer pressure, the need to align with cultural sensitivities of the day, capitalistic tendencies that economists would summon to their defence or plain greed.   

No matter the reason for our desire to have more, we can only harness or temper our thirst with a deeper-lying motivation. In the absence of such a goal, our acquisitions fail to have a meaning, a reason for our being. Ownership in itself is not wrong, but we should not be the proverbial dog that returns to its vomit only for it to poison us.

As we strive to own more, it is safe to ask, for what purpose is this?  I hope that it will not be for vanity. Then, maybe, you could join me in creating margin and focus on those things that matter to you.

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