Expectations Vs. Reality, Part 2

This is a continuation of Expectations Vs. Reality, Part 1.

I encourage you to read Part 1 before reading this entry. The second example I will write about in this Expectations Vs. Reality topic is concerning material things.

Material Things

In my life, there was always something I wanted to buy. I thought that if I had that thing, it would change my life. If I buy this pair of new shoes, I’m going to look so good. I can’t wait to wear it so my friends will be impressed.

If it wasn’t shoes, it was something else. It was a new jacket. It was a new iPhone. It was a new apartment. It never ended. Sure, the rush that comes with purchasing something new is real. But that rush of adrenaline and happiness doesn’t last forever. The expectation that it would last forever was not actual reality.

One of the biggest examples that I am guilty of was when I bought a new car. This was in my early 20’s. I had just gotten my first real job out of college and was making the big bucks. Since I had been working so hard my whole life to get to that point, I felt that I deserved something nice for myself.

I woke up that day and went to the dealership with my dad. I remember the anticipation, the excitement I felt. I remember thinking how much my life was going to change after this—I couldn’t wait to pull up to work the next day so my co-workers could see; to show off to my friends; to let my family know that “I’m successful;” thinking that I would get so many girls with this new car. I expected my life to change after that purchase.

It’s been almost 6 years since the day I bought that car. I still drive it today. However, it has almost no effect on my day-to-day happiness. I could be driving any other car, as long as it was dependable, and it wouldn’t affect how I felt on a daily basis. Sure, a lot of the stuff that I envisioned actually did happen—my co-workers and friends were impressed, my family thought I was successful, and I didn’t do too badly in attracting girls.

But were they impressed with me, or with they impressed with the shiny new car?

Either way, that adrenaline rush of a big purchase, the fleeting happiness that came with it, was just that: fleeting. If I look at that car today, which is sitting in the garage downstairs, I don’t all of a sudden become filled with joy and pleasure. The newness has worn off. The excitement is gone.

Reality has set in.

I see a lot of people, my friends included, who buy a lot of stuff. I don’t judge them when they purchase new things, but I realized that I’m just not that way anymore. I don’t need the new phone. I don’t need the new clothes.

All I need is the basics. Because I know that buying new stuff won’t make me happy. I know that material things don’t control my happiness.

I’m in control of my own happiness.

I came to the realization that material things shouldn’t control how I feel. When there was something that I wanted but couldn’t afford or obtain, then it would affect my feelings. It would make me feel down or sad. But why should I let that happen? Why should I let a material object have so much control over me, like it is pulling the strings and I am just a puppet?

Even just recently, I have been wanting the Google Home. Over the Christmas season, there was a lot of hype and talk about that and similar types of product, like the Amazon Echo. I would hear about it on the news and read about it over the Internet. I really wanted one. For several days and weeks, I kept thinking how cool it would be to have. To just say, Google, open Spotify and play me my Party Playlist, and then music would play through my speakers without me lifting a finger. If I had guests over, they would be so impressed. But again, I asked myself, would they be impressed with me or would they be impressed with the technology? And why I am even yearning for their approval in the first place?

If I hadn’t discovered meditation and mindfulness, I’d probably already have caved in to my shallow desires and bought a Google Home by now. I would have let the advertising, the marketing, the hype, the expectations of buying that product, win over me. I would have let that material thing decide how I felt.

But that’s not going to happen. No, I want to be the one to decide if I am happy or not. I want to choose how to feel. Ever since I started meditating, I’ve had this feeling of independence and freedom. For the first time, I was taking control over my life. I wasn’t letting work, school, co-workers, friends, family members or parents control me. I wasn’t letting external factors affect the way I live and feel.

When I meditate and when I practice mindfulness, I am happy.

In my life, that’s all there is to it.

 

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24 thoughts on “Expectations Vs. Reality, Part 2”

  1. Yes! Couldn’t agree more! It can be so difficult not to try to keep up with your friends and the latest trends but you’re so right- we create our own happiness. We can’t get that from a “thing”. Thanks for a great read 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi,
    and thank you for sharing your posts! I loved both of them 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what actually makes you happy, or what you thought would make you happy.
    It’s time to take back our lives, and not live in the pockets of the big companies.
    True happiness comes from within.
    I’m wishing you a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m also a millennial who started meditating regularly a year ago– and I’m definitely finding some of the same things. I’m trying to notice more when I’m not being a good listener, and when I’m tempted to spend emotionally. And not just to stop doing them, but to make an inquiry about why those things are happening. Looking forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In a world where we are bombarded by “things” and trained to “collect” and “consume” this kind of awareness and way of living is so precious. It’s something you can’t forget or overlook. So now that you have it, it’s just another piece in your puzzle of discovery that you can hold dear. Well done MM. It feels good to see recognition of truth in other people’s words.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I, the inner me, is the only one who is responsible for my happiness and it doesn’t depend on anything outside of me…. an important thing to learn and I’m glad you have… much peace and light to you.

    Namaste, Michelle

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I find these same desires going away as I practice mindfulness too. I used to dream of having money and a nice house and all the things that society makes you think you want, but lately, I want less of that and more basic fulfillment. My boyfriend was talking the other day about wanting to win the lottery and get a big place on the beach and a bigger TV. I stopped for a second and told him no, you know, I don’t really want that! Having more money and more prestige just brings more problems. And a bigger TV, for what? So I can watch the media portray all the madness in the world on a larger scale than I can now? No thanks, I’ll go take a walk outside instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading your comment made me smile! I came to the same realization last year. I used to lust for bigger and “better” things. But after finding meditation and mindfulness, I realized I didn’t need that stuff to be happy. I’m glad you have come to the same conclusion 🙂

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  7. So true, even when you think you’ve dealt with attachment to material things, it sneaks up on you. Yesterday I browsed the Apple Store that I walked by. It’s funny how much I want a three thousand dollar computer that won’t change my life in the slightest. There are better ways to use money for sure. What do you value spending money on?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to spend money on experiences. I’d rather put gas in my car and take a road trip, or go visit somewhere I’ve never been before to gain a new perspective. Every once in a while it’s nice to buy yourself something as a reward, but I would rather go do something instead of just buy another useless object!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Chase,

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. Honestly, I save a lot of my income. I’m very meticulous in what I purchase, but as long as I save more than I spend, I am a happy camper. If I had to choose, I value spending money on experiences, including trying new foods, attending music festivals, and traveling in general.

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      1. Awesome, I feel the same way. Even though I don’t make a lot, I’ve saved half of what I’ve made for a year and will be traveling for 2-3 months very soon 🙂

        Keep up the great writing, I’ll be following

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post.
    Along with Part 1 this has made some sense to me. I have only recently come to the realization that I no longer need lots of ‘stuff’ to be happy. I am beginning to enjoy walking and photography again and have no desire for the ‘next big thing’. I know it’s a long path ahead of me but it’s one that I am now feeling prepared to start walking along in my pursuit of happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The material objects expectation vs. reality is so true. You end up hyping stuff up so much before you buy it, and then you get it, and it’s just like “eh.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I came to the same conclusion when I was studying frugality and simplifying life — basically, things don’t bring happiness, we have to make it ourselves.

    I’m planning a post on hedonic adaptation which is similar to what you’ve written about here. The idea is that humans have this amazing capacity to adapt to any situation, either good or bad, and it doesn’t affect our lives or our happiness in the long run. Once you realize that, your expectations of how things will affect you become much closer to reality.

    Great post as always, MM!

    Liked by 2 people

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