I’ve never really thought of myself as a materialistic person. I’ve always worn inexpensive clothes, lived in modest dwellings, and tried to judge my companions by the quality of their character rather than the expensiveness of their possessions.
But when I had kids, my relationship with material goods suddenly changed. My husband and I found ourselves spending a lot of money on nursery furniture, baby gear, and diapers. Then we traded the old, small car for a new, reliable family car. We moved out of our small condo to a bigger house with a bigger yard near better schools. Without really stopping to think about it, we’ve always assumed we have to give our kids as much as we can afford, whether that means high-quality child care or dance lessons or memorable family vacations.
But one thing I’ve learned from Stoicism is that you should never blindly do things without stopping to think about them; you shouldn’t do something just because it seems right, or just because that’s what everyone else is doing.