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On things that spark joy

One of the earliest instances I recall wanting something, desperately wanting something, was when I was first at a Clinique counter.

Published: 22nd November 2021 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2021 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

One of the earliest instances I recall wanting something, desperately wanting something, was when I was first at a Clinique counter. My mum had taken me along to restock her night cream, and the visit ended with my face in hot, sticky tears. All I wanted, correction — needed, was 3 lipsticks. They were glossy shades of pink, red, and orange. I was probably ten, but I needed them. Shamefully, perhaps, but I did. 
“You need medicine when you’re sick. You’re ten. You’re too young for makeup, and definitely don’t need lipstick.” “But… I. Love. Them,” I said, crying through hiccups. “You should never love something that won’t love you back.” 

I have now learned that this is one of my mother’s favourite things to say. She’s big on the idea that material objects aren’t things you could love. But I promise you: I did love objects. I still do. And while I’d like to think that simply looking at jewellery, cosmetics and handbags brings me as much joy as owning them, it doesn’t. 

When I see an alluring product, something very physical happens to me (it starts in my stomach) and in an almost regimental fashion, my obsessive process begins. First, I take a photo for my records. If I’m still thinking about it the next day, I search for it online. Look at reviews, speak to a friend, and dig up some research. If there’s a sale on the horizon, I try to wait, and am sometimes successful. 

As you can probably imagine, I do have a hard time identifying the difference between a want and a need. How does anyone define a need, really? What if I consider it a hobby?

It’s only very rarely that I find a product that checks both boxes, wants and needs, even keeping the most judicious shoppers in mind. The most recent ones being a cute pair of cat earrings with a tiny little adorable emerald on his tail, and the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. A god-send in colder months, this formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream. It works absolute magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight, reversing damage, and ensuring you wake up with supple, hydrated lips — as dewy as a blade of grass after fresh-fallen rain.

I wish there was a wholesome end to this story where my shopping problem was cured — a point at which I found a solution to not needing things. I recently skimmed through Marie Kondo’s book, who suggests you keep only the things that spark joy. But what if you’re able to find a lot of things that spark joy? I mean, a cat with an emerald tail? What’s more joyful than that?
 



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