I guess it was a little impulsive, but I got an apartment in Mongolia yesterday.
I've only been here eight days, but I like it enough. And I felt like I needed some grounding to get all my work done. Worst case scenario, I just eat the security deposit if I move on early.
500,000 tugruk a month. $400. It's a nice place. Furnished. Near Sukhbaatar Square.
Then a funny thing happens - my inclination after moving in is to think about all stuff I could buy to fill the place up. I think, ah, I could get some really nice soaps. And some of this, and some of that.
And it strikes me - that's kind of absurd. Don't mistake me for anti-consumerist, because I'm not. I think mass production has done so much for the world in terms of getting a reasonably high quality of goods to people at a good price.
But I thought about why I was going to buy some stuff, and the answer wasn't, "Because it's useful and/or necessary for doing what I want to do." No, it was more like... "Because I need to mark this territory as mine."
Huh. I don't so much need or want things, I was just thinking like a dog wanting to piss on a fire hydrant.
Maybe I'll go buy some of that stuff, or maybe I won't. It's not a big deal either way. But I think the thing to remember is that the stuff around us should be less important than the stuff we're doing. You can be in the most spartan of environment with good people you like being around, doing interesting things, and life is fantastic. And without associating with people you like and doing things worth doing, then all the stuff in the world doesn't help.
This isn't an anti-consumerism post. No, consumerism is awesome, in its place. Rather, this is a make-sure-you're-defining-life-by-action-not-by-stuff-that's-around-you post. We can all use some more of that.