Monday, March 1, 2010


affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.

I've been into social change and sustainability as far back as I can remember. I long ago concluded that sustainability can only be achieved through LESS environmentally destructive economic activity. I am not a compulsive consumer yet I've probably acquired, owned and disposed of more "junk" in my 47 year life than 95 percent of the people who have EVER lived. Am I happier because of it?

For a variety of reasons I've decided to sell my house and am moving into an apartment. My current strategy is to movie only those things I want or need, and am looking forward to shedding as much as 3/4 of my possessions. By moving only the things I need or really want, what remains will be easy to give away, sell, or re-purpose.

I've long been burdened by too much stuff. I remember the exact moment I discovered that fact. It was the early 90's and Vicki Robin ("Your Money or Your Life") was in Portland giving a talk about simplification. When she asked "How much is enough?", I realized my maximum joy from possessions occurred during my early college years when my belongings could easily fit in a car. Since that time I'd acquired more and more yet feeling less and less fulfilled. The truth is, most of my possessions feel like a burden rather than a joy.

I've been suffering from Affluenza but I'm about to get cured.

I know I'm an extremely privileged person to be in this position but I wondering how many other people in my position feel the same way?

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