Today: Mar 03, 2024

‘Want less’: from bumper sticker to inspiration

SIMONE VIRZI — Staff Writer
The other day I saw a bumper sticker that said: “Want less.” Now, we’ve all come across drivers who try sending messages to other drivers using their cars, but why “Want less?” Why didn’t they have a sticker that said: “Ass, gas or grass: No one rides for free” or “Jesus is my Homeboy?”
After initially seeing the sticker, I laughed and thought it was stupid and would never apply to myself. In fact, I want it all: I want straight A’s this semester, I want to graduate in May, I want to get a job– I want to conquer the world.
I was raised in a fashion in which I was encouraged to do well in school and strive to be the absolute best I could be. And I have: I’ve always been a big dreamer. Even deciding on a major (then switching) was challenging for me to do because how can people decide what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives when they want to do everything? I wanted to be a therapist, a nurse, a chef (which is ironic because I can’t cook), a ticket taker on a train, a business owner– that’s just to name a few. (It’s really a miracle I’m graduating in four years). I’ve wanted to do it all.
But don’t we all? Doesn’t everyone see a car ad on TV and want that sporty new vehicle instead of the one they’re currently driving around in? Doesn’t everyone want multi-million dollar mansions and yachts? Doesn’t everyone want the newest piece of technology that was just released? I’m willing to argue part of our society is about wanting more, more, more (as Andrea True Connection’s song “More, More, More” is now in my head). Even when it comes to food, many of us want more for our dollar, especially when it comes to fast food.
Where does the madness end?
Perhaps the bumper sticker is right, as I’m now thinking about the sticker as a fortune from a Chinese fortune cookie that seems to be haunting me. Maybe it’s OK to dream, even if those dreams are all over the place and someone says you’re not being realistic. After all, if we didn’t have dreams or ambitions, we would all be like rats on the street fighting over the last chunk of cheese. We need to want something out of life. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?
Perhaps the bumper sticker is suggesting we should “want less” when it comes to material possessions. Do you really need a pair of $300 boots when you already have six pairs sitting in your closet? No. Maybe instead of always wanting the newest, the latest, we should try to be content with the things we do have. After all, somewhere there’s a person out there with less than you who would kill to have what you already own. Therefore, in a way, we ought to count our blessings.
It also occurred to me the bumper sticker may have another meaning as well (unless I’m just completely overanalyzing it at this point); maybe it means we should “give more.” If you really stop and think about it, almost all of us are selfish and, at the end of the day, only care about ourselves. If a stranger is walking on the sidewalk and drops something, many of us keep walking rather than helping simply because we can’t be bothered. It’s all about what we want and what benefits us. Even walking into Engleman, for instance: how many times do people decline to hold the door open for the student behind them? It’s small, but simple, gestures like that which really do mean a lot.
I’m not suggesting you try to become a saint and give all of your money to the homeless or put everyone before yourself every single second. But if one of your friends is having a really bad day, make him or her laugh. Or better yet, listen– actually listen. Listen to him or her vent and offer advice rather than just fiddle with your cell phone and pretend to care. Or be that shoulder your friend can lean on, because realistically, we all need someone to be there for us some time.
This won’t solve world peace, but happiness is contagious, as is negativity. If we were all a little more worried about giving to others rather than wanting everything for ourselves, imagine how different our lives could be.

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