Yesterday afternoon I had to take the boys shirt shopping for a wedding on Friday and walking round Doncaster the contrast with Romania couldn't be clearer.
We have so much
Everywhere you looked their was stuff, DVD's. books, CD's, toiletries, coffee shops, mobile phone stores, food outlets, clothes shops and so on. And yet as I watched those going from one shop to another there were very few smiles.
We have so much and yet we are not content, that's partly because advertising is designed to make us discontent - to create a need that isn't really there. Its also because we have come to think of non-essentials as needs. In Romania it was fascinating to see how content the young people were with very simple food - not a Coke, Sprite or Fanta in sight! - but also with a very simple life.
The challenge over the next couple of weeks is to think about how this should change me - how much have I bought into the consumer culture, my living may be simpler than some others but it is not simple. What would it mean to make it so? How will it effect my decisions over a new mobile phone as my contract runs out, over our holiday which starts on Monday, and so on.