The "Want What You Have" Challenge


"Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."
-- Ancient Meme


It's evident by now that I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff I want but don't have: stuff I want to buy, stuff I want to give to others, stuff I want to make or approximate, how to get stuff for less, mistakes (and triumphs) in shopping, how to want less, how to make my wants financially feasible. Tactics like the Buy With Intention List, while useful in preventing ill-considered impulse purchases, keep me focused on managing my wants, researching and considering potential purchases.


I also spend a lot of time thinking about stuff I don't want but have: stuff I don't really need, stuff I never realized I could live without, stuff I want to give away. Scrolling through my Google photos the other day, I realized that a good number of my recent photos were lovingly photographed items I was trying to get rid of, or had already given away. I'd snapped the pics to post on my local Buy Nothing Project Facebook group, hoping to entice my neighbors to take them off my hands.


What I don't do is spend a lot of time thinking about things I want and already have. I spend all this time and energy researching and lusting after items, and then when I purchase them, it's like they disappear into the ether. Oh, sure, I use them; they become part of my set-of-possessions, part of the fabric of my everyday life; but I don't spend a lot of time thinking about them anymore. I rarely think, "Wow, I'm glad I have that!" It's just there.


That's why I'm starting the Want What You Have challenge. I finally joined Instagram--my name is frugalbagel--and I'm posting photos of stuff I already have that I love, tagged #wantwhatyouhave (I'm not the first one to use that tag, so there's a bunch of random stuff there already). I want to spend some time reflecting on stuff I already have, stuff that sparks joy for me, stuff that I want to take some time to be grateful for. This is my chance to thank my items for their service during their service, not just when I'm passing them on.


Now, I'm aware this isn't a groundbreakingly profound campaign here. It's still deeply materialist. So far I've posted pictures of tea kettles and shoes, not love and kindness. I'm also aware that this is a navel-gazing exercise, and my photos are likely of little to no interest to others. My hope is that, if you look at my photos, you'll be inspired to think about your own stuff, not worry too much about mine; the purpose is definitely not to make you want to go out and buy the stuff I have (I'm going to try not to show brand names or anything).


Instead, if you're inspired, why not take some pics of your own stuff, items that spark joy for you, and that you want to lavish some loving attention on? It's a nice break from focusing on things you don't want or don't have!

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