“Living with Less. A Lot Less.”
An Opinion piece in the March 10, 2013 NY Times presents much to think about in terms of possessions and happiness. Although he had an internet windfall before age 30, Graham Hill now lives, happily and on his own volition, in a 420 square foot apartment. That life style is quite different from his previous modus vivendi. As he says in the opinion piece: “I’m lucky, obviously; not everyone gets a windfall from a tech start-up sale. But I’m not the only one whose life is cluttered with excess belongings.” In the piece, he cites evidence that questions whether possessions really make one happy and whether, in fact, they can increase the stress one feels. He believes that “material objects have a tendency to crowd out the emotional needs they are meant to support.” Graham concludes the piece by saying: “My space is small. My life is big.”
Although it appears Graham Hill still lives very well, he supports charitable giving, particularly as it relates to environmental concerns. We may not have the potential to live like Graham once lived, or even how he now lives, but we do have the ability to think about at what point enough physical possessions is enough – and to what extent a donation to charity provides more emotional comfort than the purchase of a fancy toy.