I keep a wishlist. It started as a way to dream, back when I never seemed to have any money at all. And then when I started having a little money to spend, it served as a way to prioritize my dreams. I’ve seldom had money to spend on everything I’ve wanted, and that’s ok. Waiting for something makes it more valuable to me.

At this stage of my life, I have money. But I like to be concious of where I use them, so the wishlist is still with me. I very rarely buy things on impulse (except for that temporary period last year when I did nothing but). When I see something or hear of something that I want, it goes on my wishlist. And then I let it rest. Each month I transfer the list to a new, blank page – but only the things I still want are allowed to come with. It’s amazing how few items that make that first transition…

Things that have been on the list for at least a month are ok to buy. Now, usually that sense of urgency (“I want it and I want it NOW”) has passed, and things can stay on the list for a while until I find a good opportunity to buy them – on sale or second hand, for example. And so the list changes a bit each month, some things make quick apperances never to be seen again, some get bought and some get added.

A while back I noticed that there was another category of things on my wishlist: the things that I still want, but don’t buy.  There were in fact three items that just kept staying on the list: a Paperblanks notebook, a telephoto/macro lens for my camera and a ancestry-DNA test. They had all been on the list for a year or more, and still I’d never gotten around to buying them.

I find this sort of thing very interesting! Why have I bought all kinds of stuff, but not these? Do they have something in common? Well, they are all personal, and not necessary. But that could be said about practically everything that has once been on the list – truly necessary things I buy when the need arises, and things that are needed around the house are bought when Mr Livslevandes also agrees that we need it (not very often). While these three items have been on my wishlist I have bought a new jacket, a Bullet Journal, and a new handbag that can hold my new Bullet Journal among other things personal and not absolutely necessary.

So why were these still here? Once I started thinking about it I got a bit obsessed by finding the reason. (Slight obsessions are a frequent occuring state of my mind. Ask Mr L., he’ll tell you.) Was it the cost? No, I’ve bought more expensive stuff. Was it that I used up all the money available? No, I’m sure I could have found a way to buy these things as well… had I really wanted to. But if I didn’t want them, why were they still on my list?

The only common thing I can find is that all three things are connected to things I do just because I like to. Writing just to write, photographing just for  fun and finding out more about my ancestors just because I want to.
Part of the reluctance can be habit, from the many years when money was very scarce and my wants just for fun were at the bottom of the list. I’ve always been writing, but it’s possible to write on a lot less expensive paper, for instance.
In my search for a simpler life I’m drawn to minimalism, essentialism and frugality. I don’t think things are what makes us happy, and I don’t want to buy and own unnecessary things. That could be another part of the equation.
And yet… I still want these things, they remain on my list month after month, more than a year has passed and they are still there. They may not be strictly necessary, but sometimes unnecessary things add true value to life.
What if I were to think about the way I spend money in another way?
Writing in a beautiful notebook makes me feel that I value my own words more. Allowing myself better tools for picture-taking allows me to find more pleasure in capturing the beauty in the world. And knowing more about my ancestors will give me the joy of knowledge. There is value in all of that.
The value doesn’t come from the actual things but from my use of them.
And isn’t that always so? That’s why having a lot of things make most of them meaningless – things that you don’t use have no value. They are just..  stuff.
And now that I have thought this trough I think that there will be changes on my wishlist in the months to come…